Bits & Bytes
SHUFFLEBOARD, DECK CHAIRS--AND ATMs
RUNNING SHORT OF CASH hasn't been so much of a problem lately--ever since automated teller machines appeared on street corners that is. But what if there's no street corner to be found--if you're a passenger on a cruise ship, for instance? That's no problem, according to AT&T's Global Information Solutions (GIS), a leading ATM supplier.
GIS recently installed ATMs on the Ecstasy and Sensation, two cruise ships in Carnival Cruise Lines' fleet. Using satellite-communications gear and compression technology provided by Maritime Telecommunications Network, the ATMs can connect to shared national bank networks, such as Cirrus, and they offer the same services as land-based ATMs.
Douglas Eney, director of systems and technologies at Carnival, says the entire nine-ship fleet already uses the setup to maintain daily ship-to-shore voice and data communication. And since compression routines make such data connections increasingly cheap and secure, Carnival expects to have ATMs on each of its ships by the end of the year. What's more, Chris Kline, executive account manager at GIS, says that as more cruise lines adopt this type of communications setup, ATMs could soon be truly everywhere on the high seas.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG