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The future of banking is loud and clear

Digital banking has already worked wonders for those who want to beat in-branch queues, but some might argue that simply asking for a transaction to be completed is still easier than typing an instruction into a computer. The answer could soon be found in voice activation technology, with many smartphones now enabling users to simply say a command to perform day-to-day tasks.

The launch of the iPhone 4S and introduction of ‘Siri’ towards the end of last year has taken voice intelligence mainstream. With 42.8% of all mobile phone sales in October 2011 for the new iPhone, it is clear this technology is proving to be popular. Other major names like Google and Microsoft have also been steadily investing in the technology for some time (albeit without the same explosion of consumer interest) so it is likely that over the coming year we will see a race to perfect voice recognition and capitalise on the success of Siri. And this trend is not only confined to smartphones, with Samsung and LG recently unveiling innovative TVs with in-built voice command systems at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Furthermore, 2011 saw a monumental increase in the popularity of UK mobile banking, with usage rising to 20% of all smartphone owners. As mobile banking adoption rises, smartphone manufacturers and banks will seek new ways to integrate these applications into other technologies, enabling them to offer the best possible customer experience. Siri is already prompting a step change in the way people interact with their phones, allowing users to make a call, send a text message, and get information about their diary instantly through voice activation. It is only a matter of time before everyday banking services will also become integrated with the technology.

In fact, I believe that at the current rate of progress and development, straight-forward banking tasks such as balance checking or transferring funds using Siri-like technology is set to become commonplace by 2014. This shift would open the door for further innovations in mobile banking, allowing banks to incorporate voice activation into key aspects such as mobile security processes. We don’t have to look too far beyond 2012 to see that the future of digital banking isn’t just mobile, it will also answer back!

James Richards (Director, Mobile - IE)

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