Fintech is fluid, ever changing, ever advancing. Advancement in technology in general is commonplace, but for fintech it is on fire with new product announcements being made each week. Some of these new products will actually make their way to the market. Some will be nothing more than a good idea that failed to launch, and some will turn out to be not so good. Time will tell. But, until then, it’s time for an update.
I mentioned chatbots in a previous blog, “Hey Siri/Contana/Alexa, Pay My Mortgage!” (link below) I am particularly intrigued by this technology which is only in its infancy today. I can’t imagine where it will be in five years, but I believe that it will surround us. There have been a few articles that I have recently read that explore the developments occurring with chatbots. One article, “These Chatbots Want to Help You Manage Your Money,” (link below) provides an overview of three chat-based services, Plum, Chip, and Cleo. Each product is being developed in England, however, their concepts are universal. I don’t doubt that their value will be noticed domestically.
A second article, “Maluuba Wants to Make Chatbots Smarter by Teaching Them How to Read,” (link below) isn’t focused on banking per se, however, this is technology that certainly could be applied by banks. What good is a chatbot if there is no content available to provide? What if it could query text files? For instance, your bank has dozens of policy and procedure manuals written. What if a chatbot such as this had access to all of them? It could then respond to any inquiry from employees and provide the appropriate response. What if it had access to banking regulations? Whether Maluuba can effectively develop this service and deliver it cost effectively remains to be seen. And, obviously, your mobile banking vendor would have to pick up on this. But, if one mobile banking vendor does, they will all follow.
Microsoft may turn Cortana into a chatbot (it actually is a digital assistant now) which would place it on most PCs in a bank and those used by customers. Currently, Amazon is holding a competition(with $2.5 million in prizes) to encourage someone to build a chatbot that can have a 20-minute discussion with Alexa (“Amazon’s $2.5 million Alexa Prize Seeks Chatbot” link below). Considering that the vast majority of bank customer interactions are far less than 20 minutes, there definitely could be an application for this in banking.
KPMG recently published an article on their version of chatbots in the future…14 years into the future to be precise. Predicting the future is a tough business; weathermen haven’t perfected that, yet. Predicting the evolution in technology over the next 14 years is at best a guess. However, consider that the first iPod was released 15 years ago. Who would have ever predicted the disruption that digital music would have on the music industry (never mind that iPods as a stand alone unit have nearly disappeared).
In their publication, “Meet Eva -Your Enlightened Virtual Assistant and the future face of the Invisible Bank” (October 2016) (link below) KPMG presents how banking in 2030 will become invisible through the use of technology. It will be invisible and pervasive. That should give you pause. We are a long way from that today, but we are on that path. Potentially, it may be a disruptive path not unlike the one that sprung up 15 years ago with the introduction of the iPod.
In a previous blog, “Let’s Build a Fintech Bank,” (link below) I mentioned Monzo, a fully-digital bank in England, which according to this article “Why I’m Convinced that Smartphone-Only Banks Like Monzo are the Future,” (link below) is worth following. No doubt, fully-digital banking is a viable concept, but will any bank take that leap as their primary delivery channel in the U.S.?
I will continue to provide fintech updates as I encounter more articles that are on topic and provide value to community banks. Trends in Technology…providing you with all the news that fits!