Smart Company Project: Belgium banking institution

Who is the client?

A big international banking group with branches in Belgium. The Belgium banking institution is the client of this case.

Belgium banking institution

What was needed?

Ten years ago, our client began providing web kiosks in the public area of their branches. Via these kiosks, customers are able to perform their banking activities just as they would on their home computers. The purpose of this initiative? To assist their customers in the digital transition. Because despite the prevalence of digital devices and services today, many people still aren’t fully familiar with them. Since these kiosks have a similar interface as the one you get on your home pc when you navigate to the banking website, but with clearer directions (big, touch-friendly buttons which clearly pinpoint the actions you can take), people can get familiar with digital banking while being encouraged to use their own app and pc at home. Furthermore, a lot of customers are afraid of cyber-attacks and don’t trust the safety of their own pc to share financial information. The kiosks provide a safe way for them to conduct their banking activities.

The idea of a kiosk with a similar interface as the web environment seems rather simple, yet the execution was a bit more complex.

Belgium banking institution

We thought it was easy. We just need to make a secure build that cannot be hacked, then we put it on the device and we’re done. But we experienced soon that it was way more complicated than that to get the devices really stable. And since we have more than a thousand devices spread out over Belgium, we can’t send a technician for every issue. The devices thus needed to be remotely monitored and managed. The technical knowledge of Sirus really helped us create a customer-friendly and stable product that we’re very proud of and that we can keep updating to the needs of the clients.

What Cennox provided

The first partner involved in this project was Cennox. Cennox is a technical services company, mainly active in the financial and retail sector. They provide services to clients with a large office network, all throughout Belgium. Cennox’s core business is mainly managing and installing hardware solutions such as ATM’s and kiosks. Their large team consists of technicians, supportive service engineers and personnel specialized in monitoring and a bit of software development. They are currently responsible for operating and monitoring the kiosks and E-walls of this case’s client whilst also doing technical interventions when required.


What Sirus provided

Sirus was brought in on this project by Cennox to revise the software build of the kiosks. We provided a new browser and Windows version, established a proof of concept and eventually rebuilt the software. Our team created a new software solution, along with updates, extensions, and patches for the kiosks and E-walls and Cennox then deployed these updates on the machines.

Belgium banking institution

Technicalities of the project


Smart Cities Belgium
Starting idea: Kiosks & E-walls
The starting idea was really simple: we provide a secure PC in the bank so customers can use this one instead of their PC at home. Many customers are still hesitant to use their own PC for banking activities due to concerns about local hacks or a lack of digital skills.
Smart Cities Belgium
The PC’s were placed in two settings: one within the branch itself, in the form of a table with a secure PC where people can really execute their banking activities just like at home (the E-wall), but can still rely on the guidance of the branch employees. These E-walls also have a printer connection.
The other PC was placed in the public area of the bank, which remains open outside office hours of the branches. This device needed to be vandal proof and robust in case of attack, since it is easily accessible.

For this vandal proof machine outside the branch, in the public area, choices needed to be made: how can the customer navigate? You can’t use a mouse, because people might steal it. So a different setup was needed, hence the kiosk with a touchscreen. The kiosk has a metal keypad, a screen which is protected from being viewed by others and contains a card reader, but no printer. All changes making it distinct from the E-walls inside the branch.
Smart Cities Belgium
Enhancing the functionality
At the beginning of the project, Cennox implemented the technology that was developed by the banking institution. In totality, there are about 500 kiosks and an equal amount of E-walls spread out over the Belgian branches. But as technologies continued to evolve, the devices experienced some functionality losses and quite a few technical interventions were necessary. In order to enhance the functionality and deployment of the kiosks, Sirus joined the project in 2019 to look at the software build of the devices.

“At a certain moment, we were confronted with new client requirements for the kiosk. The software technology used at the time of the rollout was reaching its limits and the kiosk software solutions had evolved tremendously. We started to wonder if we needed to implement new techniques to ensure the full functionality of the kiosks. That’s when we contacted Sirus.” - Frederiek De Prest, Cennox.
Smart Cities Belgium
Smart Cities Belgium
Health check
When we, Sirus, first entered the picture, Cennox asked us to execute a health check. How healthy was the build and what could be done to improve the setup? By reviewing the code and looking at existing problems, we proposed a number of possible optimizations, including a browser update and an update of the existing Windows version.
Smart Cities Belgium
Smart Cities Belgium
By setting up a POC with a new browser, proxy, dashboard and monitoring tools, we rapidly saw some possible improvements in the build. When Cennox showed these results to the client, they asked our team to execute these improvements and the new collaboration between the client, Cennox and Sirus was off to a flying start.
Smart Cities Belgium
Smart Cities Belgium
In 2020, we, Sirus, were officially given the assignment to modernize this banking solution and create a rebuild. Since it was still Covid at the time, Cennox sent us their hardware so we could set up a remote test environment. We used the new browser Edge Chromium for this rebuild. In order to make sure people couldn’t navigate to other websites, only the banking site, we also set up a Squid proxy in Azure.

Furthermore, we made sure no traces of customers’ financial data remained visible on the machines and we blocked certain functionalities of the website like downloading excerpts or printing PDF’s via the kiosks. We accomplished this by developing certain Edge Chromium extensions. Lastly, we provided a clear dashboard on which problems at the kiosks could easily be visualized, making it practical for us, Cennox and the client to monitor what was going on at the kiosks.
Smart Cities Belgium
Smart Cities Belgium
Re-installing the kiosks
We made sure the newly developed solution could easily be installed. The technicians from Cennox went over to the kiosks with an USB containing the new software build and re-installed the machine according to the new requirements.

“We made sure the re-installment would automatically execute when triggered.” – Kristof Boschman, Sirus.
Smart Cities Belgium
Smart Cities Belgium
Continuous updates
In 2021, we updated the rebuild once more since a new Windows version had come out. As long as the kiosks are operating, they need regular upgrades to continue functioning properly. These regular updates are done remotely every one to two months, but a complete re-installation of the software version needs to happen on site, by Cennox technicians.

“On a regular pc, the Windows environment updates regularly, but on the kiosks we didn’t want the machine to suddenly restart during the day, since customers might be busy using these machines. That’s why we needed a stable Windows version with the necessary security updates, but without constant updates and new features. Enter the Windows LTSC versions which remain stable for a couple of years. Upgrading this version does however mean a complete re-installation of Windows on the devices.” – Kristof Boschman, Sirus.
Smart Cities Belgium

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What's next?

Since technologies, banks, as well as cyber criminals, continue to evolve, this project is almost never-ending. The ongoing parts of this project consist of updating the Edge browser every two months, and implementing new functionalities. When the bank asks for a new functionality, for example the ability to open a PDF on the kiosk (which isn’t possible now because of the security settings), or an adapted screen with bigger buttons on the kiosk version, Sirus and Cennox need to update the build to make it possible. Changes at the internal workings of the bank often require the kiosks and E-walls to be adapted accordingly.

We need to capture the changes that are being brought to the company in time. Since we are a big organization, with branches in Belgium and The Netherlands, and with digital teams that keep spreading, we need to hold on tight on the direct link with Sirus and Cennox, and communicate regularly because of the dependency between our company and theirs. This way we can tackle any upcoming evolution.

We now regularly get new requests from the client to make things more secure and upgrade the existing versions. A lot of components change regularly, making this project a living thing, and we need to make sure these machines remain up-to-date and keep on functioning.

What our Sirus’ members think about the case

“This project was really challenging, since the kiosks and E-walls were operating on the same web version created for a home banking pc. Making this version secure and operatable on a kiosk in the public area, which is used by multiple customers in a span of a few minutes, well that was quite the challenge! Furthermore, this project matched perfectly with our expertise and combined all of our development skills. Working in IT often means working with digital tools and the fact that we could work with a physical machine here, and see it being deployed to the banking branches and used by their customers was a nice plus as well.”
Kristof Boschman
“I thought the whole process of adapting the Windows installation was very interesting. It was very technical, but it was also difficult at times, making it all the more intriguing and educational. Apart from that, the communication between the many parties involved in this project, was interesting as well: Who does what? How do we divide the responsibilities?”
Arto Collumbien
Kristof en Arto

What Cennox thinks about the case

“During the project, we – Cennox -, as service supplier, and Sirus as software expert, got to collaborate very closely and it was very clear from the beginning that the sum is greater than its parts. This collaboration definitely leaves us wanting more and I think there’s a good chance that we’ll work together again in the future. The combination of hardware, health monitoring and a strong software build is a very powerful cocktail.”
Frederiek De Prest
“Some of the key qualities of Sirus are the excellent communication and transparency, but also the co-creation. Their thinking along mentality really allows them to listen and not just impose their own point of view. You can tell that they really brainstorm internally in the company and ask their colleagues how they would handle something. You can just feel that they have a supportive and enjoyable work environment.”
Emmanuel Deleu

What the client thinks about the case

“I was quite impressed with the technical knowledge and expertise of Kristof and Arto from Sirus. They always anticipate on upcoming changes and dependencies. They made it work and that is very much appreciated. We are very happy.”
The client
“We have certain expectations of the product and a clear view on how it needs to operate. In order for these expectations to be met, you need a mixture of knowledge, a willingness to investigate the needs of the project and an initiative to share information. Arto and Kristof from Sirus had all of these elements. They really searched for the solution we wanted and didn’t just push their own take on the case. Our goal is to serve the customer and that’s Sirus’s goal as well. We are working together in great sync and I like that.”
The client
Belgium banking institution
supply chain IOT

Smart Company Project

At Sirus, innovation is at our core. We strive to help build the Smart Companies of the future, and this Belgium banking institution is now part of this innovative future. We are proud to be a part of this collaboration, and if you are to – be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for updates!

Interested to be a part of projects like the Smart Company Project for Belgium banking institution? Learn more about Sirus’ Smart Company Approach and don’t hesitate to take a look at our careers page!