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TatvaSoft: Will Augmented and Virtual Reality Replace the Bank Branch?

The imagination has become one of the banking sector’s most sought-after tools. To remain ahead of the race, banks must continually develop engaging and contemporary avenues through which to provide their services. Here, the element of originality remains key. 

The avant-garde of the banking industry continues to surprise their customers with the number of ways with which financial services can be provided. As a worldwide digital transformation occurs, industry forerunners continue to combine their services with the latest technology, including the use of augmented and virtual reality. 

Here to analyse the current relationship between augmented reality, virtual reality, and finance, are Charles Richard and Lily Johnson, both of whom are Technical Business Analysts at the software development and outsourcing company TatvaSoft.

Ever since the banks have been nationalised, there has been no looking back. The sector seems to have been growing by leaps and bounds – all thanks to the ever-changing digital seismic shift. As the title suggests, the following post emphasizes how disruptive technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality or VR development have paved their way in the banking industry vertical.

History Says 

Over the years, banking practices have changed at a fanatic pace. Starting from rudimentary money lending and bartering practices in regards to agricultural and other commodities to now M-payments. It may interest you to know that the banking industry started gaining popularity with the inception of the industrial revolution. And today, we are able to witness how technology evolution shapes the nature and extent of global economic activity and continues to fundamentally alter the global banking landscape.

The Situation Now

Speaking of the current trends, virtual banks and a plethora of intimidating software solutions have taken over the world with a grand surprise. The model seems to be gaining ground at such a fanatic pace, with no signs of slowing down. Fortunately, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

As a customer, you don’t need to visit your bank day in day out, as everything can be operated online and hassle-free. For example, processing online applications available for account opening and other services, transfer of funds without cheques, online account statements, and so forth. As for the banks, they’ve started to incur less paper whilst processing transactions wirelessly.  

Role of Information Technology in the Banking Sector

Banking and technology have always worked together hand-in-hand; facilitating and encouraging advances in one another. To outshine in the public eye, banks have adopted ad-hoc solutions to ageing systems to cope with this accelerated rate of change and enable essential and customer-expected new services. 

Technology is and will remain fundamental to the future of banking. Like never before, banks are able to access multiple and constantly emerging channels to communicate with customers and analyse their behaviours. This will allow for smoother, more convenient, and more accessible channels for customers, whilst capturing more data to continually improve on this offering.

As a result, more and more banks have started to realise the possibilities that online systems open up for business, and the adoption of this model of service is spreading worldwide. In addition, more and more doors for international banking have opened. In simple words, with the help of new software solutions, both banking and financial sectors are able to reach out to clients seamlessly via robust, 24/7 banking services. Mind you, these are all secured networks! 

This level of convenience has benefitted many people. Queues at banks have reduced, services are more efficient, and customers enjoy the flexibility. Among the biggest beneficiaries of online banking are the aged and people with physical, cognitive, vision, or hearing impairments. Further below I would like to mention a few examples one must consider: 

  • Tele Banking 

Do you remember telephone banking? One of the most popular services offered by banks and financial institutions where a customer performs their transactions via a telephone. 

How does this work? Most telephone banking services use an automated phone answering system. This technology facilitates calling the bank and giving orders to a bank computer which will carry out an operation under your account. 

  • Debit and Credit Cards

These cards act as one of the best alternative methods to cash payments. Often known as electronic cheques, they store information relating to customers’ accounts. 

  • Internet Banking 

As the name implies, internet banking is said when financial transactions are being conducted through a website. Often known as online banking, internet banking consumers have access to their account through a server. 

Certain benefits of using software solutions include:  

  • Increased efficiency
  • Accurate handling of information
  • Cost Reduction
  • Enhanced Customer Services
  • Easy Communication

Now comes the big question – how can augmented reality or virtual development improve the existing banking sectors worldwide? 

Entering Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality 

Several resources, such as Deloitte, have claimed that around 90% of companies with annual revenues between $100 million and $1 billion are now leveraging augmented reality or virtual reality technology. 

Millennials and Gen Z are both witnessing the power of these disruptive technologies. Both tend to offer an innovative way to immerse customers in an increasingly engaging, interactive, and personal experience. 

When thinking of the term ‘Virtual Reality’, most might think of the Matrix movies. A deceptively realistic, virtual-reality future everyone would be fascinated about. 

It’s pretty much the same. Virtual Reality is a computer-generated simulation of an alternate world or reality. Initially used in 3D movies and video games, VR development is now being endured by banking and financial sectors all across the globe. Today’s VR can make people feel they’re walking through a forest or performing an industrial procedure, but it almost always requires special equipment, such as bulky headsets, to have the experience, usually in games or avant-garde, movie-like experiences.

Augmented Reality on the other hand could be considered VR’s cousin. AR is accessed using much more common equipment such as mobile phones, and it superimposes images such as characters on top of a video or a camera viewer, which most consumers already have, making it much more applicable to retail, games, and movies. This tech is known for combining the real world with computer-generated virtual elements. 

Augmented/Virtual Reality in the Banking Sector

Augmented Reality allows one to easily locate nearby ATMs and bank branches in any area with the help of a mobile app. Here you will find related info in regards to payment gateways, budgeting, data visualisation, and account management. AR can act as an aid to improve financial literacy among the population.

By using such technology, apps can be created for car loans and home loans. And if your bank is planning to launch a new product, these apps can act as a fantastic solution. 

Whereas with Virtual Reality development, it can be utilised to create memorable experiences that stay with the customer. It’s a great way to change the dreary world of numbers into something unique and fun.

A lot of banks have already started experimenting. They have created VR apps that depict the banking services and features in artificial 3D form. Some are using it to make managing finances easier, whereas others are using the technology as a tool for marketing.

A bank can also harness AR and VR development technologies to make day-to-day tasks more efficient. For example, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) launched an AR home finder application app in 2011, with UK-based Halifax following in 2012. In emerging markets, the Federal Bank of India offers an AR calendar that provides relevant messages when viewed through a smartphone, and the National Bank of Oman is using AR to help customers locate branches and ATMs, while also displaying the latest offers and deals to customers as they walk into a mall or retail outlet. 

And if somehow banks fail to act, or don’t act quickly in regards to taking advantage of the AR potential, then they’ll soon get smashed. Unfortunately, they might miss out on the vital customer data that helps them to develop targetted propositions and marketing. 

Banking and financial institutions must come up with new ideas on integrating AR-enabled processes with back-office customer data and middle-office decision-management processes to provide useful information to front-end applications and deliver the seamless experiences that customers demand. 

Also, it’s advisable for banks to keep their eyes on the horizon. Sooner or later, AR will be seen facilitating realistic face-to-face interactions with specialists from the comfort of a customer’s own home – potentially rendering branches redundant. Banks must look further if they want to seize the opportunity.


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