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MWC: is three a magic number for banks?

15 February 2011  |  3557 views  |  1

The Microsoft-Nokia partnership, which was announced last week, could represent a critical step towards reducing the complexity of mobile banking app development. In fact, yesterday Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft and Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia took to the stage at Mobile World Congress (MWC) to discuss the importance of creating a strong "third ecosystem” for mobile devices, platform and services.

Previously, many financial institutions have been put off developing mobile apps by the number of different platforms, each with their own unique operating systems, programming languages and technologies. This problem is then compounded by the fact that there are over 2,500 different types of mobile device, each with their own blend of operating system, screen size and resolution, user interfaces, etc.

This complexity represents a major barrier to entry for banks, as they are unable to provide a deep user interface with an enriched customer experience across all platforms. The result has been that most financial institutions and organisations have either focused on one platform (e.g. Apple) or built shallow user interfaces on multiple platforms. The worst case scenario is that some banks have taken a ‘wait and see’ approach to mobile banking, as they are not confident they have the internal resources to keep up with the rapid advances in technology.

The news of the Microsoft-Nokia tie up now means that the number of rich smartphone ecosystems will be reduced to three. Now there is little excuse for banks and companies not to start delivering meaningful innovation via the mobile. For the mobile industry, as Ballmer noted during his MWC keynote: “It’s moving from a devices battle to a platform battle”, however for banks and financial services companies, the battle is just beginning to see who will fully take advantage of the ability to provide a rich mobile experience to their customers. Perhaps ‘three’ will be a magic number for banks looking to join the smartphone revolution.

TagsRetail banking

Comments: (1)

John Dring
John Dring - Intel Network Services - Swindon | 15 February, 2011, 10:24

The same goal is the objective of the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) initiative: http://www.wacapps.net/ .  1 year anniversary yesterday.

It incorporates/merged the same desires from the Vodafone Joint Innovation Lab (JIL).

The current WAC 1.0 SDK includes apis for common access to smartphone features, device state and messaging - see here http://specs.wacapps.net/wac1_0/dec2010/overview.html  

Its backed by the mobile operators (and implementors like Amdocs), without a FI in sight, because its geared at allowing apps/widgets to run on as many handsets and networks as possible - a good thing for Banking App penetration.


About WAC

The Wholesale Applications Community has been established to increase the overall market for mobile applications. WAC will achieve this goal by encouraging open standardized technologies, driving scaled deployment of those technologies and providing complimentary commercial models. This will allow developers to deploy an application across multiple devices (through the use of standard technologies) and across multiple operators (without the need to negotiate with each of them). WAC will provide the commercial enablers which will allow the developer to be paid for the applications which are then sold through any associated application store.

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