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June 7, 1990

POST OFFICE FINALLY STARTS AUTOMATING WITH SOFTWARE SCIENCES, TANDEM, NIXDORF

By CBR Staff Writer

Tandem Computers has been crowing over its participation in the automation of 21,500 Post Offices across the UK. The first phase is POCAP, the Post Office Counters Automation Project, and it links 250 Post Offices in the Thames Valley (CI No 1,360). The pilot scheme, led by Thorn EMI’s Software Sciences Ltd, is due to be assessed at the end of this year, but it has already been enhanced to enable any Link cardholder to withdraw or deposit funds at the pilot post offices. Other facilities include the electronic renewal of vehicle licences, and automated transactions with the National Savings Bank. In the branch offices, counter positions are equipped with Nixdorf terminals, printers and personal identification pads that are linked via a local area network to a Nixdorf 8810PT with 20Mb of storage. Modem lines from the pilot branches run into 11 Plessey-Telenet TP2500 area mini switches, which link via 64Kbps Kilostream lines to three nodes. The TP4000s nodes are linked via the Kilostream lines to a Tandem 6100 communications sub-system. A four-processor Tandem VLX system supported by five 415Mb mirrored disks is located at the Post Office’s computer centre in Farnborough. This communicates with other systems used throughout the Post Office via Data Innovation CG500 encryption modules. The Driver and Vehicle Licence Centre has an IBM-based system, National Savings is Honeywell and ICL, and Girobank is a Tandem installation. Overall system management is provided by a Tandem three-processor VLX computer.

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