Until recently, only devices such as computers, tablets and phones were able to connect to the internet. But now there are approximately
8 billion ’network aware’ machines globally that are internet enabled and can communicate and interact with other machines, creating the Internet of Things (IoT). And this figure could grow to over 50 billion connected devices in the next five years.
So there is no question that the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to substantially change our everyday lives. While this trend is still only in its relative infancy, the progress in increasing internet connectivity has been remarkable. Consider the development
and advances in mobile network connectivity, the rise of ubiquitous wi-fi hot spots and the increased capacity of fibre optics. If you combine these with improvements in small battery performance and the economics behind small sensors, the IoT’s staggering
potential can be realised.
We are already seeing applications in usage, from car insurance (dongles monitoring driving behaviour) to ’intelligent parking’ in Milton Keynes (sensor showing busy/ free bays); from rubbish collection (is the bin full or empty?) to potential uses in water
consumption efficiency — detecting leaks easily. And on in town centres and shopping malls we already have fashion and food location-based services — offers relevant for you as you wander around (we as individuals opt into this).
But how can it work for financial services? Some banking experts already talk about how the mortgage process could be radically improved by using IoT and advanced data analytics. So let’s take that as an example.
We talked about location-based services in the retail sector, these could equally be applied to banks, for example using sensors to monitor branch activity. In branch sensors could detect that the branch is relatively quiet and connect up with location-based
services. Recognising that you — as a customer interested in a mortgage — are in the area could allow them contact you to ask if you would like to speak to a mortgage advisor now. And that meeting could take place with an in-branch advisor, or via high-quality
This, however, is only the start of what’s possible.
The mortgage for most people is their biggest financial transaction and it is very complex, so how can IoT help?
For starters, sensors can give near-live information on the state of the house and local activity. They can detect the conditions and physical dimensions of the buildings (rather than rely on static plans) as well as local traffic and pollution levels.
And they can provide some in-house survey capabilities (room size, damp etc) as well as ground conditions — water table or erosion data, for example.
These things help with risk profiling for mortgage providers and the underwriters alike.
Overall, with access to the unique data of individual homes, IoT has the potential to create personalised mortgages, factoring in both the property and the person.
In fact, the financial sector can bring progress to the housing market with a whole range of technologies. The immediacy of transactions run on distributed ledger technology could verify house purchases more efficiently; processing time can be improved
by big data stored in the cloud.
But with the rise of data and connected devices, CIOs and CISOs are clearly under increasing pressure. Not only from the demands for increased scalability, as the sources of data presented by the rise of the IoT grows, but also building trust around security.
So how can financial services firms manage and analyse the huge amount of data the IoT generates, while exploiting the flexibility of on-demand services, without compromising security?
The IoT — and its associated big data —present incalculable opportunities for the financial services sector. But its success depends on those firms putting the right mechanisms in place, starting with a consolidated cloud network, to mine this enormous
data resource in a secure and scalable way.
This could be a cloud solution that combines public and private services to create a single hybrid cloud that financial services firms can manage centrally. Such specialised hybrid services for the financial services world provide a highly secure ecosystem
that connects thousands of applications and services with users worldwide. This helps to build security into the entire cloud environment, permitting employees and customers to connect securely from any location and device to any service and enabling financial
services firms to fully capitalise on the benefits that the IoT has to offer.
Some of these ideas discussed in this blog are being worked on already; others are still only conceptual. But the future potential of IoT is huge: it’s here, it’s real, and it is only going to grow exponentially.