In our previous blog we discussed the four tiers of immersive experience with the pinnacle representing the “Bionic Human,” a fully symbiotic technology enabled human delivering superior customer engagement. We often wonder how far into the future it will be that we witness the convergence of technology and human beings, such as The Six Million Dollar Man or superhero Iron Man. The future may be closer than we think, as the book Human + Machine by Paul Daugherty and James Wilson proposes that the biggest impact on AI and machine learning will be when it advances the role of humans.
In the past 20 years, we have seen a full embracement of technology in the banking industry with the intention of driving greater efficiencies in back of house operations and increasing convenience for customers. From smart ATMs that are open 24-hours a day to AI and new ERP platforms that eliminate the need for any duplication of efforts, the banking industry’s ability to squeeze operational efficiencies is getting narrower. With all of this advancement in operational capabilities, very little thought has been given to how the frontline staffing model and sales choreography needs to transform. The current effort of migrating teller positions to universal bankers have received mixed reviews, but it’s too early in the process to truly determine its success or failure.
We believe the greatest opportunity for financial institutions is to leverage new technologies as a means to empower staff in better engaging with customers. Most financial institutions have experimented with tetherless terminals to better leverage the various engagement zones in the branch as well as eBanking technology learning hubs to help the migration of customers to online and mobile banking platforms. The focus on empowering bankers is in its infancy, as financial institutions are coming out of an era of downsizing branch networks, which has resulted in fewer customer facing bankers. The real transformation will happen when new immersive bionic technologies become mainstream and easily accessible by the general population. To demonstrate the future is much closer than we believe, here are just a few technologies currently in trial testing that could have a significant impact on how bankers interact with their customers.
Immersive Contact Lenses
Why have AR glasses when you can have them as contact lenses, providing the viewer with exceptional insights without the burden of computer screens or mobile devices? The implantable “Bionic Lens” device created by Canadian company Ocumetics Technology, is designed to incorporate artificial intelligence, electronics and interactive technologies to become an upgraded version of the human biological lens. Its inventor, Dr. Garth Webb, is an optometrist with 40 years experience, and he presented the device during the Superhuman Summit 2016 in Vancouver. Utilizing this technology, the banker of the future will be able to access an extended amount of information when meeting clients without the physical barrier of a screen.
With the growth of diversity in North America, the days of hiring a translator to facilitate meetings will be a thing of the past. New AI driven micro-hearing aids will provide seamless two-way conversations, breaking down all language barriers. Early versions of this technology are currently available through start-ups such as Waverly Labs. This simple to use technology, with a smart phone and synchronized hearing pieces, allows two individuals to easily correspond in any popular language of their choosing. Although the technology remains slow, it clearly sets the feasibility and likelihood of being mainstream in the near future.
Emotional Sentiment Radar
Facial recognition software is well developed and currently available on the newest of Apple phones. No longer do you need to input, or remember your passcode, as the camera recognizes your unique features to provide access to your most secure content. What’s next? The ability through facial recognition or body heat mapping to recognize a client’s emotional state of mind. The evolution of sentiment recognition technology will help bankers assess the state of mind of their clients at any given moment, helping navigate conversations and eliminate anxieties or lack of engagement. Linked to a set of bionic contact lenses, bankers will have a heads-up display of how their customer feel.
The days of trying to type on small mobile keys is soon to be over, as new projection virtual interfaces will allow bankers to work without the hassle of accessing a conventional keyboard. The most recent thinking and development is a mobile wrist device that projects a keyboard on the users wrist, enabling large interactivity without the use of a mobile device.
Biometric Identity Verification
One of the biggest challenges for bankers is customer recognition, as they may meet hundreds of customers a month. With biometric identification, bankers will be able to recognize each customer and reduce the cumbersome onboarding or account authentication process. Combined with the bionic contact lens, bankers will have a significant amount of pertinent information in addition to potential prompts on products and services that best meet the client’s needs. Supported by sentiment technology, not only will they have this information easily accessible, they will also understand when best to approach the client.
The future is fast approaching and it clearly identifies the fast-paced transformational growth within the technology industry. There is not a friction point in banking that won’t be eliminated in the near future. And with the elimination of customer pains, new types of challenges will emerge that only a bionic banker can handle. Stay tuned for the next movie blockbuster.