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The internet of me: Connected People

This is the 4th and final blog in the series 'Bank of Things'

Connected people is really about the rebirth of “Personal area networks” (PAN), the concept that multiple devices on/with a person connect up in a private network to that person. Today this is as simple as your phone syncing with a smart watches. In the future this could be many other devices that are part of your jewellery, clothes or even embedded in your skin.

While Google have patented a contact lens for reporting glucose levels, Samsung have patents for them to project content directly to your retina, replacing the need to wear Google Glasses. Sony launched Xperia Ear as a device more like a personal assistant that you can interact with rather than listen whilst Nuheara is launching a device that improves your hearing experience.

Motorola launched a smart tattoo that can be used to unlock your phone though the technology has a much wider possibilities and again payments is an obvious one. A report from The World Economic Forum however forecasts that smart chip implants could be commonplace by 2023. This may be in a number of ways from simple chips for identity and payments to health devices like cochlear implants or heart pacers. The report also identifies the advancement of Brown University’s research into connecting technology directly to the brain to enable mind control of devices.

The development of mind control and improvements in speech recognition could lead to apps moving towards a Zero-UI, a user experience that does not necessarily involve a screen image. Although Emerge Interactive have created a screen that can be embedded into the skin! The demo shows how an app can control tattoo’s which can even be animated or used to display running stats.

Google’s project Ara is a modular phone that allows you to upgrade parts of the phone like the camera or battery so that you don’t need to replace the whole phone to upgrade. Taking this concept further perhaps the PAN could mean that eventually you only need one GPS, one camera, one battery etc. each wirelessly communicating to other devices like your phone, car stereo, watch?

From a banking perspective identity can truly be multi-factor combining both biometrics and a physical device/chip either on or in you. And again this enables payments to be made without have to use a card.

However with access to the broad range of sensors attached to devices in your PAN, banks will have access to ever richer data to understand more about your lifestyle. As an infomediary banks have the possibility to provide much more relevant and targeted offers, advice and rewards. Banks will need to extend their omni-channel capability to utilise these sensors not only to respond to real time events created by these sensors but to capture the data they provide.

With increased information it’s clear that products like insurance will change dramatically, personalised to individuals lifestyles. As I highlighted at the start of this series the Internet of Things is only limited by imagination and a huge amount of innovation has already been brought to market, too much to cover in any blog or even a book!

The key for banks is to look at opportunities to engage in creating compelling new customer experiences afforded by these devices and the data they will provide. As usual Banks will need to respect privacy and look at how they can provide a valuable service in return to the rich data that will help you to understand your customers better.

Students from 5years old upwards are already learning how to use the internet of things, and now is the time for Banks to define how they might engage customers in “The Bank of Things” 



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