Banking in Connected Cities – Post 1 of 4 of the ‘Banking of Things’ Series


Banking in Connected Cities

City planners, councillors, governments and architects have been considering the possibilities of connected cities for years now; it is only people outside of these professions that are surprised by how advanced the thinking is on this topic. The given aspect is ubiquitous WiFi, however this could be enabled in different ways for different purposes – see this article ‘Examining The Future of Wifi’.-  Each one providing a different reach, bandwidth and speed. These new types of WiFi will be necessary to connect everything in a city: from streetlights to parking meters and bus stops, as well as connected cars and people.

Connected cities features a large focus on transportation which I will cover in the next article. However, from an infrastructure perspective, we should expect that traffic in cities would flow much better as the city gathers more information, directly from vehicles but also from traffic lights, CCTV and even street lights, while processing it all in real-time.

Street lighting will go through a huge change. Initially this will be to use more energy efficient LED and solar powered lighting, but will progress to become smarter to detect people and traffic, so lights aren’t on unnecessarily. This could also be used to identify potential crime by becoming brighter or changing colour to highlight the danger, while alerting the law simultaneously.

Apart from the proliferation of charging points, clear glass solar panels aren’t a too distant future and could potentially make every building largely self-sufficient for power. With utilities, we expect monitors to automatically report leaks and outages. And while not strictly in the space of IoT, we expect cities to be much cleaner as litter is cleaned up by robots, and smarter CCTV will automatically fine those that drop litter.

Expect billboards and advertising to personalise content and special offers, by detecting who is nearby and within vision. The technology already exists to dynamically personalise video adverts so that merchandise labelling can be changed to match the target person’s preferences. We have barely scratched the surface of the possibilities that technology can bring to transform our cities.

From a banking perspective, we expect to see far fewer branches in the high street, and those that remain are likely to be very different to the traditional branches of the past; much more open, with fewer staff members and more self-service machines. Many could be consumed into being part of a very different customer experience. For example, while planning a wedding, the advisor is able to help you find loan to pay for your event and provide insurance in case anything goes wrong.

Expect to never have to reach into a purse or wallet to use cash or a credit card, as you’ll simply be recognised (either through an implanted chip, or through biometrics like facial recognition) and charged as you enter buildings (e.g. museums and cinemas), or leave a shop with merchandise.

Banks have already looked at presenting offers to customers as they walk past certain stores, but they could also use the same approach to provide advice on:

  • Spending: skip Starbucks as you already overspent there this month (Ally bank in the USA are already trialling this concept with an app called Splurge)
  • Healthcare: skip Pizza Hut as you’ve not exercised enough today
  • Saving: delay going into the city by an hour will save you money because current congestion has increased toll fees

Clearly a big area for banking will be the facilitation and control of payments in a smart city, but the bank also has the opportunity to be a trusted infomediary for the customer, not just in providing real offers, but also by providing advice and rewards to drive advocacy or retention.

 

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