Virtual Reality & Banking?

Note from the Publisher:  Our friends at CCG Catalyst Consulting made an intro to the author of the piece below – Chris Nichols with Center State Bank in Walnut Creek, CA.  We really loved his content, so we wanted to share it with you, and we’ll feature more in the future.  For those of you who are geographically challenged, Walnut Creek is a suburb of San Francisco, so banks there are no doubt more tech-savvy than many others given their proximity to Silicon Valley.  Anyway, check it out – very enlightening look at how banking is evolving with new technologies and how banks are experimenting with them.

“Virtual reality is all the rage this week. Facebook released their Oculus Rift headset and it was announced that the NCAA Final Four basketball games will be live-streamed in virtual reality. This all has the “Wow” factor but the reality of virtual reality is that it leaves much to be desired. It is no surprise that, in our opinion, the technology is over-hyped and out over its skis. We demoed the headset and got nauseated. We then tried to code a virtual reality branch to possibly give customers an “immersive experienced” until we figured out that there is really no need to look above you or behind you when talking to a banker. However, just because it’s over-hyped doesn’t mean that it won’t catch on and there will not be an application for both virtual and augmented reality in the banking industry. We played with both applications for the week and came to some interesting conclusions.

Augmented Reality

Of the two technologies, augmented reality holds more promise for bankers. Forget helping your customers find ATMs or branches, for a simple 2D Google search can accomplish that faster. Augmented reality excels when you have a mass of data that has a geographic value and bank customers that has a point of physical interaction. This test is important to keep in mind, as if you just have a drop of data, don’t have a point to leverage a spatial or geographic view and don’t have a location to interact with that view, then you are better off not using augmented reality.

Halifax Savings out of London and Commonwealth Bank of Australia have the right idea as they overlay property level information of for offered residential properties. The result is an application where bank customers can walk down the street where they want to live and figure out what is for sale and the details behind the properties.

At CenterState, we figured that if you are going to spend the money, you might as well go after the most profitable customers you can. We took the application and played with a commercial loan application that helps business owners purchase their retail or industrial building by pointing their phone at a location so they can not only see what is available, but see what a possible loan looks like complete with market rates, payments and terms. “

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