Digital banking for the real world

As marvellous as digital banking is starting to become, it needs to keep up with the demands of the 21st Century customer

Digital banking for the real world

I can’t say that I am an avid fan of jigsaws, but I love using the concept as an analogy for how you can bring several pieces together to make a bigger picture.  Of course, you can’t just arrange them in any order, so the skill is making sure that everything is joined up, connected correctly, and then the full image will appear.

The concept of the Internet of Things (“IoT”), where many everyday objects can be joined together and communicate digitally has been around in reality for a few years now, and as an idea for much longer. 

If you go back far enough you’ll remember the ‘connected home’, born from the almost science fiction concept of an intelligent environment (where the objects within the space, such as a room in your home, are computerised to enhance the experience of the person within). 

But until the advent of a stable wireless communication channel, such as fast telecoms networks and wireless radio ‘wi-fi’, the ability for manufacturers to deliver the concept has been limited. 

Now that everyday objects are starting to emerge with interfaces that allow remote connection, it won’t be long before we can join them together into one big picture.

Digital banking, being able to self-serve and engage across all aspects of financial products and service providers using computerised devices, has become an essential channel for anyone offering financial services to customers. 

With the need to keep in regular touch of personal finance we are finding that customers prefer to tap in to up to the minute balances and transactions rather than phone their bank or visit a branch. 

The convenience of immediacy, combined with closer control and quicker decision making, has turned a secondary line of communication into a primary, strategic channel.

As marvellous as digital banking is starting to become, very soon it may reach the stage where it too starts to fade as it tries to keep up with the demanding 21st Century customer. 

Why? Because armed with immediate information, customers are going to expect to make immediate decisions that impact their financial well-being – transfer funds, adjust payment dates, switch suppliers, cancel subscriptions; they will want to manage their savings and adjust their spending habits according to their finances in order to stay on top and avoid over spending or simply just running out of money. 

Well, that’s fine only to a point in today’s digital banking world as some of these capabilities are live today from a range of financial service providers.  However, the reach of digital banking in its current form will soon fall short of what the customer is really going to need.

So, digital banking is going to have to evolve. 

The evolution is already taking place as manufacturers of apps, devices, and in fact anything that can be computerised in some way push their products towards the vision of the Internet of Things.  All it is going to take is one more evolutionary step that splices digital banking with the IoT, and then we will see the rise of IoT banking.

With IoT banking we have joined the ability to control your finances with controlling your environment.  With the two connected you will be able to directly control your financial well-being.  Give customers the ability to set spending thresholds, then:

Spending too much on heating?  Automatically lower the heating thermostat in the home.

Burning through petrol too quickly this month?  Automatically command your car to turn up the fuel efficiency settings.

Electricity bill too high?  Adjust the spin on your washing machine, switch the dishwasher to quick-wash mode, command the television to turn off and not idle on standby, revise the output of your air-conditioning, and tweak the temperature settings on your fridge overnight when it is cooler.

This may sound like science fiction, and thirty years ago it may even have been called a fantasy, but not anymore.  The dawn of IoT banking is here, and very soon it might be everywhere!