How financial institutions are transforming with Edge-to-Edge technologies

Banks and other financial organizations are innovating to help create improved, personalized experiences

by René Dufrene, General Manager of Finance Industry Solutions, AT&T

In today's age of technological personalization, consumers have come to expect tailored recommendations when they log into apps or online portals.

To adapt and find innovative ways to better serve their customers, many banks and financial institutions have redesigned their processes with machine learning and other emerging technologies.

To help create a personalized experience, many financial institutions are moving to edge computing, which places the processing and storage capabilities near the perimeter of the provider’s network. Computation happens in the cloud, which can increase speed and lower latency.

Individualizing messages with digital signage

Customers often have concerns and needs based on their life stage and financial situation.

When financial institutions use static signs, each message tends to only appeal to a small portion of customers. As a result, you'll often see branch offices filled with many signs for different products. This approach typically isn't as effective, because consumers don't always know what products they need.  

By potentially gathering anonymized data through an app or personal interactions and near-field communications technology, financial services companies can personalize signage for the customer near the display. Personalized signage can be especially impactful if it both conveys information that helps the customer solve a problem and advertises products.

For example, when a new or expecting parent is inside the bank, a digital sign could display a recommendation for how much a parent should save each month for their child’s education, as well as information about 529 savings plans. Or, when a newlywed approaches the teller, the digital signage at the window could provide information about home loans.

Because every minute – if not every second – matters when customers are moving around the lobby, Edge-to-Edge technologies can help ensure the right data arrives at the sign at the right time to display a relevant message.

Using interactive kiosks and ATMs for experiences

Instead of just using ATMs as a place to withdraw money, financial institutions are now using interactive kiosks to create an experience in addition to conducting a transaction.

By using data and artificial intelligence, banks using video tellers at a kiosk can match customers up with tellers they're most likely to connect with. For other interactions, the kiosk can potentially display messaging based on the customer's needs and default to the transaction the customer is likely to perform based on their activity history.

Kiosks can also be used to provide augmented reality and virtual reality experiences.

For example, a newlywed couple can experience life in a new home, while a couple nearing retirement could take a virtual reality trip to a dream destination. Virtual reality consumes a large amount of bandwidth, and unreliable connections  can hinder the experience. Edge technologies can help support these consumer experiences.

When banks can deploy clusters between the edge and data centers, the transport distance between the customer and the cloud is shorter and the transmission of data can be more reliable.

Providing mobility through apps and tablets

Customers want to be able to conduct their bank business from wherever they are when the need arises. According to the Mobile Ecosystem Forum’s recent Mobile Money Report, 61 percent of those surveyed used their phone for banking activity, and 48 percent have used a dedicated banking app.

Many customers now expect banks to offer a banking app, and financial institutions not offering this service could be falling behind. These apps can help control costs, improve back-office efficiency, and optimize reach to employees and customers. By also thinking of specific customer segments and designing apps tailored to their needs, customer satisfaction can improve.

Many organizations are now providing employees with tablets so they can move throughout the branch to help customers. In addition to providing personal service, this can decrease wait times and improve efficiency.

With real-time data transmission being essential, edge technologies can provide high-speed connections and processing for roaming employees. They can also help maintain quality of experience (QoE) with reduced latency and more efficient utilization of network capacity.

As financial organizations implement the technologies essential to digital transformation, they can enable digital signage, mobile banking and personalized kiosks to help make each customer feel important from the moment they walk through the door. When customers receive personalized service, they often feel as if the business understands their needs, which can increase their level of trust and overall loyalty to the institution.