If you’ve been pining for the good old days when walking into a bank meant experiencing stellar service in the splendor of Greco-Roman architecture, there’s good news ahead. Augmented reality – the sort of virtual display that wearables like Google Glass provide – is set to transform your banking experience for the better.
While recently concerns have been raised about the future of Glass as a consumer device, a new model in the pipeline signals Google isn’t giving up on the wearable anytime soon. Businesses have also been quick to experiment with apps for the device not only to improve employee efficiency, but also to engage their customers.
To the naysayers, what follows is a list of the Top 10 ways the power of smart glass technology can be used to empower bank customers and improve their overall banking experience in the future.
1. The Virtual Bank
Sarah is a student of classical architecture who loves fluted columns and colonnades. So she loves her bank’s app that affords a virtual branch experience, complete with Greco-Roman architecture. Sarah’s bank uses the native video feature in Google Glass to augment reality. It appears as though she’s standing in the middle of a marble-and-brass covered bank headquarters. By the way, Sarah’s friend is a nature lover who banks there as well. She uses the “ambience” feature of the app to make it look as though it’s autumn throughout the year.
John isn’t happy with the interest rate that his bank currently pays on his deposit account. A bank salesman in the local shopping mall gets to chatting with John. The talk moves to banking products. The salesman offers John a Glass to put on and scan products. Together they browse and match products to needs, discuss some details, and close the sale. John issues voice instructions to transfer money into his new deposit account. You can easily see that this approach is more effective than sending unsolicited alerts or mailing a portfolio of brochures. Glass offers the right mix of human contact and technology to personalize the marketing experience.
Sheila has been accepted to an executive MBA programme. Work will cover part of the costs, but Sheila isn’t sure how she will cover the rest. Sheila is browsing through the day’s news on her Glass. Spotting an advertisement for a student loan product from one of the local banks, she launches the gamification app and plays a bit. As part of the game, she opts to enter into a video & audio conversation that ends up connecting her with a bank advisor. The cool gaming app has won the bank a new customer. A bank can develop gamification apps for products that are far more engaging than the predictable online tools and calculators that most of them currently offer.
4. Financial Planning
Mike has postponed investment planning for a while. In a fit of self-discipline, he vows to complete his long-term investment strategy within the next two days. It doesn’t hurt that Mike is on holiday relaxing by the pool. Mike puts on the Glass and gets all-access to his bank’s financial planning app. Next he needs professional advice to organize his portfolio. Mike converses with the bank’s financial advisor using the audio & video trigger and selects a set of products from the catalogue. Within the course of a leisurely afternoon, Mike gets his portfolio in place.
5. Hands-free investing
Pat is passionate about golf, so much so that the sport takes him to some of the best courses in the world. His first passion, however, involves investing. He always prides himself on the fact that his portfolio out beats the major indices in returns. He reads on his Glass that the stock market has turned volatile. He checks his investment portfolio and decides to quickly restructure it. Pat conferences with his relationship manager at that very instant and instructs him on the change. Using Glass they collaborate and browse new portfolios and simulate returns. They arrive at what they believe to be an optimised portfolio. Once done, Pat’s back on the golf course.
6. Smart Buying
Dan is an environmentally friendly sort who consciously recycles cans and bottles. For a while now he’s been looking for a fuel-efficient car. He hears about a new, so-called “green” car that’s just hit showrooms. Dan decides to buy; he contacts his bank to get a loan. Dan has a quick conversation with the bank manager on his Glass, scans the required documents, and the loan is approved. Dan authenticates the transaction using the One Time Password feature while logged into the audio & video chat. Then he instructs the bank to transfer the money to the car dealer for the purchase. Dan completes the entire transaction while sitting in the showroom and then drives the car home.
7. Social Media
Kathy is a social media maven with more than 2,000 online friends. She is present on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and whatever else. She’s very quick in acknowledging “likes” and posting her experiences. Her life revolves around social media. Kathy went to her bank about a problem with her account, but the bank manager didn’t pay much attention to her. She leaves the bank after a bad experience and like she always does gets onto social media. It’s so easy now with her new Glass. The news about the lousy bank goes viral in minutes.
8. Finding ATMs
Sam is banking with a global firm that has a footprint in 12 countries. As a premium customer he has a prestige card that he can use anywhere in the world. He is in Brazil on business and does not speak Portuguese. Sam is looking for an ATM machine. He says in English: “OK, Glass, where is the closest ATM?” His bank, which has tracked his location with his permission, translates instructions into English and directs him to an ATM. Incidentally, the bank sends a One Time Password for each ATM transaction. He receives them on his Glass.
9. Bill Payments
Kathy loves biking. She’s organised a cycling tour of France. Kathy receives bills through her electronic mailbox while on the cycling expedition. She takes a picture with her Glass and makes a payment through her bank account.
10. The Near Future
Look for NFC and Projection capabilities to be available on the next generation of Glass. The following two cases give us some ideas:
Jack is surrounded by the latest tech gadgets both at home and in the workplace. This gadget guru reviews the latest products for popular technology magazines. Jack has near field communications enabled on his Glass. He also has an e-wallet account with his bank. As he walks around the store he keeps adding products to the shopping cart by scanning his Glass. At the self-checkout counter, Jack completes the transaction using NFC for making the purchase. The consumer shopping experience has become that much easier. Banks now have another opportunity for innovation in the design of e-wallet products.
Then there’s Jim. He doesn’t carry a laptop when he meets with clients. He likes to make presentations with his Glass instead. Jim is meeting his client in his role as a financial advisor. He uses the projection capabilities as he discusses various options. Doing so is more productive because he has ready access to a wide range of information that is residing in the Cloud.
Vishwanath Thanalapatti is an avid blogger on topics related to banking, risk management and capital markets. He has over 25 years of global experience in financial industry spans across domain banking and in the implementation of several banking software applications. As the Lead Product Manager for Infosys Finacle he defines the product strategy for core banking that includes retail, corporate, Treasury, Islamic banking and payments.