The success of Pokemon Go made people much more aware of the potential for augmented reality technology to impact daily life. However, AR isn’t just useful for catching fictional monsters – it also has many possible applications in the financial sector.
While AR technology hasn’t yet reached a degree of popularity that could be considered mainstream, recent acquisitions by Apple (specifically of a Tel Aviv-based 3D sensing company) indicate that the average consumer may have access to AR tools sooner than many have assumed.
New AR developments are emerging at a fast rate, and companies throughout a range of industries will be looking into how they can implement them. The financial services sector is especially likely to benefit from such innovations in the near future, as long as banks and companies use them wisely.
Banking Institutions & AR
We don’t have to assume banks and financial service providers will use augmented reality technology because some already have. For example, the UK’s Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Halifax has released an app that allows users to get information about houses for sale if they spot them on the street. Misys, a financial software vendor, has developed a personal finance app that relies on AR. In Ukraine, Privitabank revealed a proof of concept demonstrating how AR banking could seamlessly blend with a user’s daily tasks.
Already it’s obvious that augmented reality can and will transform banking. However, these minor breakthroughs are only a mere glimpse of what’s to come.
Bankers often have to make decisions that require evaluating large amounts of data. Any tool that allows for clear, efficient data visualization will make their jobs substantially easier. Citibank has already acknowledged this by using Microsoft’s Hololens headset to provide their bankers with holographic workstations. Augmented reality helps users layer data and information, so that they can make informed, collaborative decisions.
Augmented Reality Technology as a Problem-Solver in the Financial Industry
The rise of fintech has also made many wonder what the future of brick-and-mortar financial institutions will involve. Experts tend to predict that banks will have to adapt if they’re to remain relevant.
AR can help them do so. Through augmented reality, a customer could “visit” a branch of their bank and consult with staff members, all without ever actually leaving their own home. This may also help banks reduce costs, as they’ll no longer have to pay for physical properties.
Augmented reality technology is also going to have a major impact on the consumer experience. Fintech has already caused a decline in cash and credit card usage. By already being comfortable with contactless payments, AR users can gather essential information about products they find at the store, while also checking account balances or comparing prices. Visa Europe recently unveiled a technology at a fashion show that allowed guests to buy items of clothing instantly, simply by holding the screen up to a model wearing a particular garment.
The Next Step
Banks need to anticipate not only the needs of their customers, but also the potential future technologies that could allow them to offer improved customer service. According to Goldman Sachs, the AR market could be worth as much as $80 billion by 2025. This technology may soon be a basic component of our everyday lives.
That means the novelty will wear off. Banks can’t get away with releasing augmented reality apps, assuming that the appeal of new technology will be enough to entice new customers. For banks to use augmented reality technology effectively, they’ll have to put a lot of thought into how they could leverage this technology to offer both customers and employees genuinely useful applications.
About the Author: Brendan Scully initially began his career in augmented reality as an undergraduate research assistant at Dartmouth’s Tiltfactor Labs. While here, he focused on the potential for humanistic design in Augmented Reality Technology. Now Brendan is an Augmented Reality Producer and CEO of Scully Creative Labs LLC. The company is based in Brooklyn, New York, which is where Scully manages a roster of internal and client-sponsored product development initiatives pertaining to augmented reality.