We all know Pokémon Go! The game was downloaded more than 100 million times in the first month of its launch and reported $10 million earning per day with its popularity. This introduction of augmented reality into gaming, added a whole new chapter in the gaming industry. It made players get up from their couches and explore new places in their surroundings. I witnessed this shift when my son explored an unknown temple nearby to grab the Pokémon and also saw some colleagues using staircase regularly to find the hidden Pokémon.
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulation, giving viewer the impression of a real scene with interactions. However, AR is integration of real-world information with advanced technology enhancements. It brings the digital interactions closer to the real-world by adding graphics, sound, and smell as perceived by the viewer in real world.
World's leading Global Investment firm has reported that VR / AR market across industries will reach $80 billion by 2025. Gartner has listed AR / VR in top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017.
AR has brought in superior customer engagement and there are many ways in which it can benefit banking industry. Mobile is the most favorite channel for financial transactions. Today's customers need personalized services and AR can truly enhance the customer experience by making the customer journey simple and interesting. Banks are investing into AR and trying to adopt innovative solutions to provide enriched customer experience and stand out in highly competitive world.
Let us outline key use cases applicable to banking and financial industry.
Mobiles have become more advanced with built-in sensors to work with AR applications. The handheld AR solutions utilize image linked map (ILM) interface to provide a stylized map for user interactions. Banks have started using these solutions to provide discounted offers, nearest ATM / branch locations, dinning offers, shopping centers, and many other options. These are displayed not just as GPS location on map but with real-time pictures along with detailed information about place, distance, directions, etc. Below are some of the examples where location-based services are provided with AR applications:
1. The oldest and leading foreign bank in China has launched an AR app called 'Breeze Living' on iPhone. It provides location-based services such as discount coupons.
2. The leading private-sector bank in India has introduced AR in its mobile application 'Near me'. It lists all the dining destinations, shopping centers, ATMs, branches, and many other things.
Banking industry is undergoing a massive change, mainly due to emergence of changed customer expectations driven by technology. End-to-end digital banking is the key to great customer experience. AR app user can just scan his account number and with all displayed options, he can manage his account, make payments, and explore new products. User can hold his mobile camera on a product image and AR brings in the complete brochure alive!! With AR in place, the customer can even expect his personal banker virtually available in his living room, helping in finance management.
Banks in different regions have started adopting AR applications.
1. One of the leading bank in Australia has launched an interesting AR app for iOS devices, making account management possible. Customers can check their card balance, make payments, find the closest bank or ATM branches, etc.
2. Industry leader bank in Poland has enabled AR feature on their mobile app. Customer can point the phone camera at the banner on their website and avail augmented 360-degree product information and avail attractive interest rates!!
3. UAE's largest bank has launched the first virtual bank branch in the world using VR / AR features on new Apple Watch banking application.
Emerging banks or fintechs can adopt AR banking techniques, rather than setting up traditional brick-and-mortar branches . These banks will provide enhanced experience to customers and save the operational cost as well.
Mortgage and lending services
Banks can adopt the AR solutions to provide rich experience to potential lending or mortgage customers. Combined with location-based services, AR solution can help in property searches, listing down all details of property, view properties and display special offers when a device is pointed at it. This can further be enhanced for personal lending services.
Mortgage and lending services with AR applications are provided by the banks across all geographies:
1. Leading Australian mortgage provider has developed iPhone apps which are used for making property search decisions by giving property listings and detailed information on particular properties.
2. UK's largest provider of residential mortgages has advanced property listing with their AR application.
3. One of top financial institution in Spain is offering similar property AR application.
Tech-savvy millennials are the key banking customers. Banks are focusing on them, engaging them more in their financial interactions and ready to provide loyalty benefits. Stockbroking contains huge amount of predictive and historical data. AR solutions can be used to gamify and create realistic world for customers to trade in, zoom in-out the data sets, and easily analyze the patterns.
Below mentioned trading service corporations are providing the stockbroking service with AR / VR application in the different regions:
1. The traders of multinational financial services leader are using virtual Holographic workstations with Microsoft HoloLens. These are augmented to complement existing trading environments, making trading experience interactive and interesting.
2. StockCity on Oculus Rift is introduced by an innovation firm of global financial trading corporation. It allows investors to visualize their investment portfolio as a collection of buildings. The AR aspect creates highly engaged trading experience.
Product training and education
AR / VR has the potential to convert lengthy boring training / education material into interesting gaming content. This can transform the way customers learn about new financial products and services. The virtual trainer can take several avatars explaining different perspectives about product / service. It can as well bring in cost saving by cutting down traveling cost for meetings and trainings.
Few banks have adopted AR / VR application for training on their new products. They are:
1. Switzerland's central bank launched an AR app during the release of new bill. The users can point the camera at the new bill and discover all the information about it.
2. Australia's leading multinational bank has announced first VR / AR learning system aiming at primary school children to teach them financial literacy.
Augmented reality provides new channel for financial service providers to deliver financial content in a novel and easily consumable visual format. Banks and financial service providers should think of AR as an opportunity to innovate and also transform customer experience for millennials and future generations.
Who wouldn't like performing financial transactions in an augmented business or monopoly game where bank notes float across your coffee table?