Rabo Technical Manager Smartfoon

Client:   Rabobank Teleservices, Best
Project:  Technical Manager
Dates:    Aug 1995 / July 1997


Technical Manager


Tephone Banking



Voice response







Working at the Rabobank’s Call Centre, in Best, Holland, in the department responsible for the development  and maintenance of their Rabofoon  ‘Telephone Banking’ / ‘Call Centre’ application

In parallel to duties as Technical Manager on the major enhancements to the Rabofoon Telephone banking system, was also appointed Technical Manager  another Pilot project to interface SmartPhones to the banks Telebanking system.

The Smartfoon was a “pilot” telephone banking system that used an intelligent telephone, incorporating chipcard security, to perform secure telephone dialup banking.   In addition to normal telephone features, the device incorporated a 4 line LED display, a qwerty keypad and a set of softkeys/scroll buttons.  All user interaction, at the telephone,  was done “off-line”.   The user made choices etc. on the Smartfoon itself, and when data transfer needed to take place, the phone automatically dialed the Host, sending or receiving appropriate data. When the individual transfer dialogue had taken place, the Smartfoon would disconnect the call. The user could then perform more off-line operations on the received data, and if required might initiate more data transfer sessions.

A communications interface was implemented on the Tandem host, to accept the telephone calls and connect with the banking application.  This interface ran as a set of Tandem Pathway server classes.  The software on the Tandem Host and consists of two parts. The first was a multithreaded Front End (FE) process which handled X.25/lLAPB communications with the telephones. The second was single threaded ‘server’ (the PPP) which handles the application part of the smartfoon dialogues, interfacing to the banking system.  The Smartfoon hardware/firmware, and the FE driver process, were supplied by BANKSYS of Brussels. The software was modified to work within the Rabo environment. The X25/FE interface within the  PPP process was supplied by Banksys, but customized for use in Rabo environemt; the application interface within  PPP was custom built by Rabo and contained implemented the host side of the protocol used by the Smartfoon.

Incoming telephone calls would be made to the bank’s Telepads. These devices would accept calls and initiate corresponding X.25 sessions with the Tandem host. The communications process, the FE, would monitor for new X.25 sessions, and process any data as being a LAPB communications protocol data stream, over the asynchronous telephone connection. This ensured that data sent/received over the normal telephone line, would always be valid. The LAPB processing would segment/concatenate data messages, and take of any data re-transmissions that might be necessary.  Complete data messages would the be handled by the PPP process

Personally installed the original software within the Rabo environment. Modified and enhanced the FE communications process to handle modifications to the original Smartphone protocol.  Modified the FE process memory management methods to allow greater context information be store for each of the multithreaded session.  Wrote a TACL “screen interface” to assist with on-line management of the FE/PPP processes.

Assisted Interpay BV to test and install a similar similar Front End X.25/LAPB process to run on their Tandem network.  One function within the Smartfoon allowed used to use their bankcards/chipcards as electronic purses. The  Smartfoon would interface to the Interpay network, and allow cash to be downloaded over the telephone line.

All programming of the interfacing software using TAL,  TACL & C.