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  1. Technology
November 30, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

The UK’s National Westminster Bank Plc is embarking on the implementation phase of a multi-million pound operation to set up a branch network computer system covering the whole country. The aim of the network, which will encompass voice and data traffic to and from all branches and departments, is to reduce the massive amount of paperwork the existing accounting system necessitates. The bank also hopes that the new system will cut response times for both staff and customers wanting to access information. In the first stage, already under way, branch interface equipment to support existing devices is being installed, and NCR Corp has supplied and installed 2,300 of its 7000 Series systems as branch processors. Sold predominantly in the US as continuous processing point-of-sale controllers in the retail industry, the 68020-based 7000 Series will be migrated to Unix from its current proprietary operating system over time. Used as high speed transaction processors for accounting, the 7000s support NCR’s Mirlan local area network, which in turn is linked to National Westminster’s X25 Digital Integrated Network. Hosts on the network are two IBM 3090 mainframes, located in London and in the East Midlands, so that if one gets blown up, flooded or whatever, the other can continue to provide service, and the bank won’t go bust, and these will handle the network administration.

The second stage of the operation involves the replacement of existing Burroughs 290 systems with British Telecom M1500 terminals and printers. Some 16,500 Wyse Technology terminals have already been modified for British Telecom by London-based Wyse dealer Trinitec Ltd, and are being installed and maintained by British Olivetti. National Westminster expects them all to be in place by early 1990. British Telecom project manager David Hine says that of the 8,500 terminals already installed, at least 90% are now on line, and that future enhancements to the system could mean that Telecom woll be supplying an additional 10,000 terminals to the bank. Nice work for those who’ve got it.

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