How to Build Smart Banks that Connect Customers with Modern Digital Experiences (DX)
Smart banks are all set to arrive. The concept of money and goods transactions has changed significantly in the last few years. The ongoing pandemic has accelerated the need to empower financial institutions to build smart banking infrastructure around the world. Today, smart banking solutions are hogging the limelight among all emerging AI and Machine Learning based applications. Together with mobile-based marketing technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), RPA, and 5G technologies, AI ML is enabling today’s banking institutions to build more user-friendly and automated branches and online facilities, providing high-tech experiences to customers.
We are still reeling with the serious challenge of restraining the COVID-19 pandemic at public places, and banks are one of the hardest-hit centers that are increasingly finding it hard to manage new and existing customers. Only a handful of banks have actually managed to leverage existing technologies for mobile and self-service banking facilities to get back to normal Pre-COVID-19 engagements. Traditional banks have either lost their business drive due to fall in customer traffic, or are staring at bankruptcy due to lack of internet banking and mobile payments facilities — services that are now the backbone of the modern banking sector.
What are Smart Banks and How to Enable these Facilities during The Pandemic?
Most businesses are tempted to conclude that their operations are staring at closure or slowdown due to the pandemic. This is not the case, especially if you track the growth of new technologies that ease the mode of doing business remotely, including for banks and insurance agencies. The speed and ease at which data science companies are working with Cloud, IT, SaaS, AIOps and Analytics companies to develop and bring to market new technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G- expose the real opportunities for banks.
We will define smart banks by virtue of their origin and the tenacity to adopt new technologies and become intelligent, reliant, self-serving and above all, symbols of perennial improvement in back-office operations. All these are built on the foundation of “Digital Experiences” delivered with the highest contextual intelligence and ease of adoption across all layers of the society.
Smart Banks versus Traditional Banks
We must understand the reason behind developing Smart bank branches. It’s not just the customers who are opting for digital banking facilities, but also bank employees and countless branch-level supervisors who now prefer to work in “contactless” environment with their colleagues and customers. While in some cases, physical branches remain a high-value engagement field, especially in instances related to opening new bank accounts, KYC updates, wealth management, currency exchange and wealth management, a majority of other front office bank operations can be completely automated to mobile and virtual branches.
According to me, smart banks would also become one of the most secured sources of data collection and contextualization in the near future.
Compared to a pre-COVID-19 physically accessible traditional bank, the new Smart banks embrace various digital experience management channels that involve multiple intelligent, self-service, and remote video devices to provide promotion and training services. All these converge at banking ops, thereby improving the customer experience while reducing labor costs for banks. Smart banks are lightweight on resources and leave low to zero carbon footprint by virtue of a downsized office space and energy consumption such as papers, stationery, printer, electricity and ACs.
What Automation of Smart Bank Branches Mean for the Future of Banking?
The automation of modern bank branches has ushered in a new way of thinking among business leaders where they keenly embrace any product or solution based on these capabilities:
- Maturity of technology development
- IT Management and Modernization
- Cyber Security and threat intelligence
- RPA for Middle and Back Office Automation
Smart bank branches, in particular, would invest heavily in automating their operations using 5G wireless mobility and internet security protocols. With the integration of fintech and martech capabilities, smart banks would witness a new line of philosophy in handling customers using DX channels.
The smart bank DX channel could involve two or more technologies listed below:
- AI ML
- Embedded Analytics
- Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
- RPA and Virtual assistants
- Immersive Media (AR VR and Video)
- Edge, Mobile and Cloud Computing
- 3D Printing
- Quantum Computing
- Contactless payments / mobile wallets
Let’s discuss this one by one.
AI + 5G + Cloud = A Brand New Offline Experience
Let’s take the DX offline — now that’s smart banking initiative. Isn’t it?
5G wireless connections, in particular, could be used to provide stable and massive data services, achieving widespread banking services coverage.
During the COVID-19, many banks have intelligently reconstructed their entire offline experience management with service personnel able to identify and categorize customers using applications such as mobile trackers, barcode scanners, and video chats. Customers, once they reach the smart bank branch or an ATM use their self-service dashboard to use contactless equipment and handle services on their own.
Meanwhile, service personnel are still available to offer guidance to customers at any time they need. As well as shortening customer waiting times, online e-bank services also deliver a brand-new experience.
With changing social distancing norms, we might see many new applications of new technologies such as AI, 5G, and cloud that can holistically enrich a bank’s existing network design, provide a full-journey network experience for customers, and optimize network management modes.
Immersive Content – Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in Smart Banking
AR VR screens could bear “virus-free” results for both customers walking into the branch, and for the service personnel. Both parties can interact using a smart device such as an AR VR gadget or mobile app that captures customer’s queries and displays the answers with alternative solutions on a large interactive screen. These could be integrated to IVR or Conversational AI tools so that bank officials can track offline financial management assessment or account checking services through AR VR medium.
Geo-Mapping of Customer Visit to Branches
At some point in time or the other, every customer visits a branch. Smart bank branch facilities laced with geo-mapping technology could track customers who visit different branches and then assist them with simple solutions to ease their traveling to branches frequently. Customers don’t need to go to a specific branch to handle complex business services; service personnel can contact experts at headquarters, who are ready to answer customer questions in real-time.
When these customers go to other cities and visit bank branches, their data could be synchronized nationwide. Different branches can then continuously optimize the customer route design based on historical service analysis, delivering unique services to each customer.
AI Robots that Provide intelligent customer services
The power of AI and simulation is finally enabling banks to simplify COVID-19 operations. Robo bankers cooperate with personnel and customers in improving the overall customer experience. Robots fitted with sensors and cameras can track the temperature and allow / restrict access to customers based on facial recognition or contactless biometric procedure. These intelligent cameras can accurately identify bank customers on arrival, followed by real-time big data analytics of the precision marketing platform to implement personalized service recommendations and precision marketing via CRM, Customer Experience Management, Voice AI, and Contact Centers.
The use of computer vision, NLP, and Optical Character Recognition speed up bank service handling and build a very comprehensive smart marketing scenario.
Integrated IT + IoT Operations
In the age of 5G, IoT has proven to be a huge enabler. 5G Intelligent network points can vastly improved network experience, especially in bigger branches where there is a huge amount of both data and IT devices.
Faster internet speed and connected devices can ease overall pressure on the IT operations and management. New 5G and O-RAN based products are available in the market that integrates a branch’s IT devices – such as servers, storage devices, and switches. These can be used to provide functions such as remote plug-and-play, remote attendance, and edge-cloud synergy, meeting integrated IT device management requirements. Companies like Huawei are working with a multi-national banks to test IoT asset management system, with the intention of helping the bank build smart branches in the near future.
Security and Surveillance
Banks are one of the leading customers of security and video surveillance solutions and devices in the world. For banks, security protection is critical, and therefore, for every branch, smart security protection is indispensable.
New AI cameras and open chip sensor technologies have enabled video cloud analysis platforms to detect and prevent any untoward incident from happening. These video analysis and Surveillance techniques use deep learning models to identify any abnormal behavior or activity such as mask identification and detection of loitering, trailing, theft, accidents and fires. These can also be connected to data visualization and reporting platforms to present events and accidents in the form of heatmaps. Internal UAVs and drones are also fitted with these surveillance devices to ensure employees are quarantined against criminal activities by tracking attendance and access control.
Contactless surveillance and undetected tracking cameras also keep customers happy without trivializing their privacy concerns.
Companies like Huawei have long been committed to working with partners to build more user-friendly and automated branches for banks, providing high-tech experiences for customers. Branches no longer merely provide traditional financial services. New application scenarios and devices – from AR shopping, simulated car finance, and intelligent customer service robots, to remote interactive entertainment, space capsule-style mobile financial services and coffee banks – are emerging.