Written by: Frewin Francis
When mobile phones first made their way into mainstream usage, their applications were limited to making phone calls and sending short messages apart from playing the ubiquitous ‘snake’ game. Slowly, they evolved to a point where they have replaced point and shoot cameras, mp3 players, and portable gaming consoles, among other electronic devices.
As phones got smarter, they have changed how we do everything in our lives. From the time we wake up till the time we go to bed, they help us get up, track our activity, give us directions, remind us of our engagements, update us of current happenings on our social networks, and much more.
Today people are trying to achieve work-life integration, social network integration, and integration at all walks of life. The level of integration isn’t good enough if one has to take their phone out of their pocket every now and then to look for notifications when they leave it on silent mode. It has to be more intimate, less obtrusive, engaging, and of course, practical to use.
Wearables are mostly paired with a smartphone and are designed to further deepen your levels of integration with a particular app. Multiple sensors packed into a small space captures a plethora of data such as – heart rate, sleep rate, rate of metabolism, and so much more.
Even before the Apple watch was introduced in September 2014, a report by PWC stated that around the same time 21% of American adults owned some kind of wearable tech. These numbers have increased many folds since then. The arrival of the Apple watch simply made the wearable landscape more interesting. With a dynamic display, there is always lot more you can do. But then, with the limited landscape available, providing an optimized user experience while displaying relevant information without limiting productivity is something that needs to be considered.
For banks, with deeper user engagement implies better cross selling. Early adopters are willing to take risks if banks can engage them efficiently. The relationship could almost blossom into a marriage of sorts where banks with their products and services are constantly in touch with a customer’s needs and preferences.
But banks have their own set of risks to deal with. Connected devices indicate that they could be hacked and misused. Banks can’t afford to be careless with customer data. Hence, multiple levels of security are necessary for safeguarding data and it must be done without deteriorating the overall user experience.
The use of technology in banking is here to stay with increasing adoption day by day. The challenge for a lot of banks is whether internal systems and processes are able to support the same. Information needs to be removed from silo structures to a more organically connected network that simplifies the process of making sense of the numbers. It would also help in better integration of backend services with customer facing apps. Wearable technology too, would mature with time as regulations and guidelines for their usage would help in avoiding unpleasant experiences for everyone involved.
In the end, banks should realise that wearable banking should not be about just creating an experience for the sake of creating one. It should be about changing the game and connecting with customers in a way that you’ve never done before.