Taking its cue from the launch of the Apple iPad, Commonwealth Bank of Australia is promoting a sleek and glossy future vision of banking in which consumers manage their finances from the surface of their kitchen table, and engage directly with their personal banker via fingerpint-protected mobile video conferencing.
Companies that spend a lot of time "visioneering" are generally the same companies that are providing a less than ideal customer experience today. We have abundant technology that could be used to improve customer service that are not being used because
the banks will not invest, cannot tackle legacy and cannot truly innovate as the industry needs to move a relatively the same speed. As an example, innovations in payments can really only occur at the speed of the slowest player.
Microsoft is another company than spends too much time imagining the future than getting their products right in the here and now. Apple on the other hand does not "predict" the future but creates it and ships it 30-90 days after launch. Microsoft is still
visioneering about multitouch while Apple shipped it 3 years ago.
Smart companies understand that innovation is not always using the newest technology but assempling available technolgies in a way that solves the customers' problem. The Barclays branch of the future in London and the CBA vision of the future are a waste
of money when there is still paper in the branch and a less then futuristic reliance on aging core systems. Personally I have had an iPhone for over 3 years and still very few banks actually have helped me do my banking on it. Glacial is an adjective that
comes to mind when I'm asked to describe the pace of change in our industry.
With 2013 only a few years away I'd agree that this is rather optimistic and marketing inspired vision. Time to send the marketeers to a branch and have them open an account and improve that process. I believe futurists generally get it wrong and banks could
do with pragmatists being in charge of innovation departments and focus on making today better.
Yep, 2020 sounds about right. But who's to say Microsoft will be around then?
It's a really serious error to imagine fingerprint readers being integrated with a smartphone touch screen, as shown in the video. One leaves one's fingerprints all over the screen as a matter of course. Using fingerprint biometrics on a portable device
is exactly as bad as writing the PIN on the back of your credit card.
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© Finextra Research 2013