More Spanish digital innovation

Here we go again. This is almost becoming tedious. Another digital banking innovation story: not from the UK but from Spain. La Caixa has rolled out its wearable banking proposition with the launch of apps for SmartWatch and Google Glass devices, writes Douglas Blakey

Here we go again. This is almost becoming tedious. Another digital banking innovation story: not from the UK but from Spain. La Caixa has rolled out its wearable banking proposition with the launch of apps for SmartWatch and Google Glass devices, writes Douglas Blakey

The service allows users to choose stocks and indices from international markets and follow them on their smartwatches.

For the Google Glass app, the service adapts two of the most frequently used mobile banking services on mobile: a branch finder and a currency convertor.

The branch finder feature of the app will make use of augmented reality.

Google Glass users will see, superimposed on the screen, the direction they need to travel, how far away it is and the branch telephone number.

If users say a location or an address Google Glass will display all the branches nearest to that point.

The currency converter automatically converts prices when the user focuses the glasses on a product’s price tag.

LaCaixa has recent form for digital innovation.

Last year at the BAI Innovation Awards, it was a deserved winner of the Product and Service award for its insurance mobile app solution.

Needless to say, Benjamí Puigdevall head of Electronics Channels at laCaixa has already been nominated a number of times for The Digital Banking Club Power 50.

While on that subject, if you have not submitted some names for consideration in the Power 50, do email me.

The soaring interest in wearable technology is one of the most interesting trends of recent months.

Sabadell blazed something of a trail with its Glass app enabling users to transact via voice commands.

For that reason, the subject of the first Digital Banking Live Debate of 2014 on 13 March focusses on the Proliferation of Devices and Challenges for Financial Services providers.

Already this year, we have news of Westpac testing smartwatch and Google Glass apps at its St George unit in Australia.

In New Zealand, the local division of Westpac is testing the Google Glass version of its Cash Tank mobile app, allowing customers to check their balances without having to log in to their accounts.

Last summer, Ukraine’s Privat Bank Glass app offered customers a Glass app enabling customers to pay bills by taking pictures of them, transfer funds between accounts, pay for purchases using voice commands or by snapping images of QR codes.

Closer to home, Intelligent Environments, sponsors of The Digital Banking Club blazed a trail last year with the launch of the "Interact Smartwatch App", developed for the Pebble smartwatch.

Now it is time for a spate of stories featuring digital financial services innovation rolled out from some UK-based banks.

The technology is out there. It works.