Surface Computers first introduced in year 2007 with the launch of Microsoft Surface 1.0. Microsoft Surface is a computer that looks like a coffee table with a touch screen on top of it. It was originally created for retail applications like cell phones, clothing and a lot of other stuff.
User can only interact with by using their fingers. Multi-touch systems have been introduced before in many other products like Apple iPad. Etc. But these systems are limited to a certain number of touch points on the contrary with surface technology any Multi-Touch table now support unlimited number of fingers which makes it Multi-touch and Multi-user. For example, 6 users can use MS Surface at the same time without blocking each other actions.
This paper is designed to demonstrate the use of Surface Computing in Retail Banking and how banks can benefit from this modern technology to attract more customers.
“The core function of the branch moving forward will be about establishing the relationship with the customer at inception, and extending that relationship through an advisory sales process and excellent customer support systems. It is conceivable that all of the transactional elements within a branch will be moved to automated banking within electronic banking centers, automated branches, ATMs or the Internet within the next 10 years. What then is left? The face-to-face, value-add of a real, live human interaction.” Chapter 3 – Rebuilding the Branch One Customer at a Time, BANK 2.0
So I wanted to take a quick snapshot at some true innovation in branch design and deployment today. I’m not talking about a fresh repaint, some new plastic signage, and more laptops and kiosks around the branch; I’m talking about something fundamentally different for customers.
Surface computing: Is the term for the use of a specialized computer GUI in which traditional GUI elements is replaced by intuitive, everyday objects. Instead of a keyboard and mouse, the user interacts directly with a touch-sensitive screen. It has been said that this more closely replicates the familiar hands-on experience of everyday object manipulation.
WHAT SURFACE COMPUTERS ARE USED FOR?
Surface can help generate customer interest in financial products, increase sales and reduce processing cycle time. You can explore Surface being used at retail banking branches both as a self-service kiosk as well as a discussion tool for customers with banking sales representatives. The bank can issue credit or debit cards featuring identity tags using which customers can identify themselves by placing these on the Surface table. Alternatively identification can be achieved by placing their cell-phones, which might need a preinstalled application that communicates with Surface via Bluetooth. Similarly banking sales representatives can have identity cards with these tags to identify themselves and manage information using Surface.
Surface can provide details of accounts, financial products like loans and credit cards assist in monetary planning for retirement or children’s education, logging service requests etc.
As a discussion tool, while deciding on a loan, a banking sales representative can bring up interactive visualizations of loan amount, installments, tenure etc. to help the customer choose the right combination. On similar lines, a comparison between benefits of different types of accounts such as fixed deposits, recurring deposits etc. over different periods can be graphically displayed. Also considering alternative approaches for transferring the desired information to the customer such as using Bluetooth to the customer’s cell phone or emailed directly from Surface. If the customer confirms a transaction, details could be transmitted to the appropriate system for further processing.
Banks have already started taking steps towards adopting Surface Computers.
Deutsche Bank has been leveraging Microsoft Surface as a customer advisory tool at its futuristic bank branch at Berlin.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies and Canada’s largest bank, deployed Microsoft Surface in its newly designed “retail store” branches. Developed by Infusion, the retail store concept brings to life a dramatically new retail banking environment that combines best-in-class retail shopping with financial services to attract new customers (among other uses) where tagged brochures are mailed to potential customers to encourage them to visit the branch, place the brochure on the surface and if they are lucky, win a prize.
Barclays bank at London has been using Microsoft Service for interactively displaying benefits of their products and is targeted towards existing and potential premier customers. Given these trends, it appears that adoption of Microsoft Surface by retail banking branches is set to steadily increase in the days to come.
There is much competition between banks nowadays and Microsoft Surface can be a differentiator to attract more customers.
With Surface Computing, Banks will begin a new generation of banking in its institution, and it’s hoping the implementation of Surface programs will add a fun and interactive experience to improving financial literacy. Using Surface Computers the possibilities are endless, and I am assuming that Banks will continue to develop apps that include educational information about your financial situation, along with info on new products or services its offering.
In a demo at CES last week, you can get a peek of a Royal Bank of Canada application that shows us how a mail-out flyer could be used to enter customers into a draw/contest, just one of the ways that companies can get customers to engage these new Surface kiosks.
WHY SURFACE COMPUTING?
A Surface Computer is a computer system based on new technology called, “Multi-touch”. Simply, touch screen technology using more than one finger. No big deal, right. Actually, it could be a BIG deal. Informational ease-of-access is about removing barriers. Specifically, the barriers between what you want to know about your organization and who wants to know it.
What multi-touch does is bring your patrons one step closer to your products and services through direct interaction with the information they see on a tabletop display.
Consider getting a better view of your bank statements by sliding the “pages” around the screen with your fingers, or enlarging a picture of a digital brochure by moving your index fingers apart. In other word, working intuitively with familiar objects as much as you would at your desk.
Barclays is apparently using Microsoft Surface as a touch point. It is a way to draw their customers closer to that sometimes elusive, personal relationship with the brand and what the company has to offer. Not through a conversation with a person, but through almost playful interaction with the corporation itself.
The idea of developing financial services on Surface Computers is an innovative and engaging solution to present banking products to customers within a rich multi-touch experience. It will make our bank to be the first bank that uses that kind of applications to attract more customers.
Exploring financial options with an advisor or with your partner? Or just browsing? Surface computing offers an eye-catching way of shopping for services, bringing people together to connect, learn and decide. It changes the way people collaborate and connect. Surface computers sees and responds to touch — supporting more than 50 simultaneous inputs. This experience comes to life in more than one Surface technology that can be used as a table, on the wall, or embedded in other fixtures or furniture. What-if scenarios are a lot more fun when you are working with Surface.
THE SURFACE EXPERIENCE
The experience can be deployed in the lobby of bank branch locations. The application introduces you to the full range of financial products by guiding you through the process of selecting the financial products or life tasks that represent the view of your financial world. While waiting for a bank associate, the Surface application can begin the process of education and can provide a rich interactive and engaging experience compared to traditional financial brochures and inserts.
Various bowls of objects are provided at each Surface table – the objects are customizable, cheap and easy to produce. The objects not only drive the experience on Surface through the use of object recognition – they also serve to provide a branding piece that customers will take out of the bank location. The objects serve as a topic of discussion with friends and family about the Surface experience at the banking location – this makes the experience inherently “social” by encouraging word-of-mouth discussions around the application and the financial services products. The objects also serve as a reminder to the customer to get in touch with their bank representative – this can be encouraged by providing the bank branch phone numbers on each object.
As the customer interacts with the application, they are guided through the process of building their financial profile from the broad array of financial services products. Once a banking associate is available, they can sit with the customer and begin discussing the products that are of interest to the customer. The application takes advantage of the social aspects of Surface Computing by allowing for collaboration between the customer and bank executive through the use of user experience design concepts. Interactive content like videos and financial calculators can be provided in the experience with the ability to extend the Surface content through the use of mobile integration and email.
Another benefit of that kind of applications is the use of existing bank collateral, like mortgage brochures, which can be easily be tagged and recognized by Surface tables, to drive an interactive mortgage calculator experience. In addition, direct mail campaigns can integrate into the Surface experience by tagging the individual mailer items. When customers bring in the mailer campaigns, they receive a personalized experience. The integration with direct mail can drive increased traffic into bank branch locations. In addition, direct mail campaign conversions are measurable through the use of tracking and analytic s built into the Surface application.
Another important purchasing decision around bank services is determining where bank branch and ATM locations exist within the community. Through the use of an interactive map, customers can be reassured that bank branch and ATM locations exist close to their home and workplace. Locations on the map provide additional information, including the street address and hours-of-operation of each branch.
The Surface can be used to access personal banking, corporate banking, personal loans, and investment plans. Once an offer is chosen on the Surface, an Optical tag will be created that the customer can capture and access on their mobile device. Customers can return to the branch and use their Windows Phone, equipped with NFC, in conjunction with the Surface device, to access their profile. They can then view the offer that was previously presented to them, or interact and research other options, such as obtaining a personal loan or building an investment plan.
The future of the branch is about engagement. The old thinking that was based on getting customers into a branch to do a transaction and cross-selling them is no longer a viable model, because the branch provides no value-add for a transaction. Thus, if the branch is about an excellent, high-quality face-to-face interaction, we need to build for that. Open up the branches, hire new staff and put new systems in place designed to support the conversation with the customer. The high-counter old teller stations and staff, who are versed in transactional banking, won’t work in the new Banking world.
Today bank channels are like those in the first diagram in Figure 9: independent channels that are mainly about “snacking.” In this model, it is easy to see how the branch becomes less important as “snacking” channels grow.
But some customers may prefer to research online and get advice in the branch. Their financial journey may involve a combination of visits to different channels at different times, perhaps even for the same service — beginning a journey in one channel and completing it in another. In this way, channels reinforce each other rather than compete with each other for customers’ attention.
The new model of bank channels is more like the second diagram in Figure 9. Channels are no longer siloed but mutually reinforcing. Instead of playing a diminishing role, the branch can begin to play a more influential one.
But the branch is the one channel where all channels can converge. Like the airline or the restaurant that offers a choice of customer experiences, snacking, lunching and fine dining can all take place in the same location. As a result the branch becomes an easier place to conduct all our banking business rather than the least attractive of all.
As for geographic usage of Surface Computers there are no big surprises except for Puerto Rico claiming a spot in top 10.
Below; are video links that show some of Microsoft Surface Applications used in retail banking.
“Banks are looking at how technology can deliver memorable and richer experiences,” says Marquez.
“This could involve video or pod casts instead of brochures that explain products in different ways. Banks will also look at how to make these information social – allowing consumers to like and share it. It will ultimately be about the connection between the bank, customers and the customer’s network. In the future, banks will use a mixture of these products together according to their needs, finding the right technology for each part of the process, and enabling a truly innovative and engaging bank branch. If they do this, then the branch has a real opportunity to emerge as a strategic tool in the relationship with customers.”