With the explosion of such convergent devices as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smart phones into the marketplace, coupled with increased marketing for online banking, retail banking customers are looking ahead to where the two technologies meet: mobile banking.
Mobile banking, the ability to conduct financial transactions on the fly from a mobile device, has actually been in quiet development for many years by a number of industry leaders. These proposed technologies will come together at the 2007 BAI Retail Delivery Conference and Expo, when Diebold, Incorporated (NYSE: DBD) will showcase mobile banking technology in its "Branch of the Future" concept room.
"The Branch of the Future was established last year as a perpetually changing platform to showcase up-and-coming technology for financial institutions," said Diebold's Jim Block, director, advanced global technology. "Mobile banking is a hot button topic in the media, and we want to showcase how this technology could be applied to enhance the customer and teller experience at the branch level."
Open to Diebold customers during regular show hours, the Branch of the Future will showcase three proposed new functions, including two for mobile banking in a branch environment. Each area demonstrates the three overriding themes designed into the Branch of the Future concept: the ability to provide a richer, more fulfilling customer experience; the opportunity to amplify branch efficiency and reduce branch costs; and the capacity to deliver this through multi-channel integration efforts.
The first area will focus on use of a personal cell phone as a financial service request device for an intended visit at a branch, providing branch personnel with information about the desired transaction and customers with assistance in locating the correct station to complete the transaction.
According to Block, the ability for customers to communicate their wants and needs prior to arrival at the branch increases transaction efficiency from both a delivery and preparation standpoint.
"The proposed result is a more convenient interaction between the bank and its customers that is more cognizant of their time and a more pleasant fulfillment of the intended transaction," said Block.
Additionally, Diebold will demonstrate the use of mobile banking technology by scheduling a cash pickup in an example showcasing use by a small-business owner. Using mobile banking technology, the customer can communicate to the branch the amount of cash needed for the day, so that branch personnel can accommodate the request prior to arrival and deliver it using the location's drive-up services.
"While a more involved transaction, this proposed use of mobile banking could lead to increased efficiency for branch personnel through preparation time. It can also provide an enhanced sense of security and convenience for the customer," noted Block.
A third demonstration will showcase potential use of "multi-touch, multi- user" technology currently in development within the computer industry. This type of computing allows users to interact with touchscreen technology on a coffee table-like surface, with multiple touchpoints and interaction abilities. Diebold's proposed use will be in engaging high-value customers, who may have a higher level of appreciation and understanding of the technology.
In addition to the mobile banking concepts, the Branch of the Future showcases other proposed uses of technology within a financial institution, including welcome terminals, enhanced teller stations, wayfinding opportunities and more.