Finovate Day 1

I’ve managed to grab a couple of days out of the office to go to Finnovate in London. Great venue at the old billingsgate fish market, but that aside I thought I’d use the break to jot down some of the main things it’s sparked. The sessions today have highlighted four themes for me 

Create frictionless experiences 

Many engagements with financial services organisations are fraught with friction. Logging into Internet banking, calling the customer services department, re-entering data that’s already available,  having to sign physical paper or waiting for back office processes to catch-up. A selection of the technologies today dealt with these issues. We saw solutions that delivered eye-print and voice-print for authentication and application navigation. 

A number of apps for application processing used photographs of driving licenses and debit cards to capture key data – meaning I don’t have to type my name, address and other information on that pesky little keyboard on the phone. One application also integrated Skype video to live-sign loan applications. 

Make yourself relevant to your customers everyday

Speaking to many of our financial services customers in recent years customer engagement and advocacy have been key topics and the sceptical part of me says – you are a bank, just look after my money and make sure the ATMs work and apart from that don’t speak to me. Furthermore, I’m frustrated that most of the communciations I receive only tell me what I already know – my bank statement is little more than a backward looking MI report . Most of the organisations have so much more data that would be genuinely useful to help me make day to day decisions but it just isn’t leveraged. 

Three cool apps demonstrated features in this regard – I’ll pick on one. Imagine I’m doing a holiday tour of Europe, multiple destinations and currencies and I want to set a budget for each leg of the trip and load up the right amount of currency to a card. Based on my itinerary the App suggested budget options for each country and then tracked my spend against this – suddenly my bank is useful and relevant to what I’m doing right now.  The other apps looked at different ways to make themselves relevant – rewarding kids for chores, planning investments based on intuitve goals and personal choices of investment themes in a pintrest like user interface. 

Connected to everything 

The internet of things applies to computer systems as well as the link between digital and physical devices, one nice integration technology showed the idea of taking triggers from your transactions to feed other activity through a set of “connections” – for example, to an external spreadsheet where I track my budget, or enabling my son to click a link when he does jobs in the house and automatically have money transferred into a sepearte account where he’s saving for the next best computer game – oh and he can see how he’s doing in another Google Sheet. This concept of triggers generated by physical devices or computer systems fed back to physical deivces or other apps has limitless possibilities – in the demo the presenters showed a lightbulb changing from red to green as a result of the API trigger when a savings goal was hit…. In this day of cheap connected devices this type of integration is trivial and can create valuable as well as fun experiences

Service commoditisation through middelware was another interesting theme – a bit like an app-store for key services. Instead of choosing which credit checker you’ll use, have them all, integrate go via the  platform and set which provider is used based on transaction levle rules – shifting the focus from system integration to supplier optimisation.

More than just a card
A multi-card card was demonstrated with integrated electronics that enables you to switch between cards at the press of a button on the plastic. Integrated into it was a battery with a 5 year life span and chips that change the coding on the magnetic strip as you switch cards. I’ve been watching the developing of printed electronics and low powered devices and we are seeing a revolution in the creation of devices that are small, secure, have (comparatively) high processing power – imagine this combined with the previous concept of cloud based triggers – so my card can automactically choose the best way to pay for something, it can alert me if I try and pay for something when i’m close to my limit. Even better, if I lose it, I can immediately deactivate it myself (and not yet, but maybe soon, if its down the back of the sofa I can locate it remotely. ). Battery life and security are still barriers to cards being internet connected, but we’ve moved on from dumb plastic in a big way. 

Roll on day 2 

We are only just scratching the surface of the possible revolution in customer experience made possible by the internet, mobile, big data and evolutions in Human-Computer interation, day 1 has inspired a load of ideas. Roll on day 2

Think big, start small and make the your part of the world a little better everday. 

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One thought on “Finovate Day 1

  1. Good read Nic, sounds like an interesting event. On the multi card front, don’t we already have this (or very close to) with our phones and the various payment methods it allows?

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