RFID and the Bank Branch of the Future

Posted by Ken Lynch on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 @ 12:33 PM

Tags: RFID, Service Delivery, Banking

Solution Enables Personalized Banking Services and Process Automation

Yes BankI remember the pre-ATM days, when all personal banking was done in the bank, face-to-face with a teller or financial specialist.  No bank cards, PIN codes or touch screens.  I also remember having to wait in long lines, so I’m sure reducing customer wait time was one of the primary reasons banks began adopting a variety of technologies to automate customer experience and drive efficiencies into their process.

It is interesting, however, to see how some banks today are beginning to market in-person service as a differentiator; pointing out how customers are fed up with talking to machines, ATM scams and endless phone calls into phone banking systems that have no escape in order to speak to a real person.  In fact one bank in my local area recently started offering free coffee and doughnuts on Saturday mornings in an effort to connect on a personal level with its clients.  For as many banks as there are touting simplicity and in-person customer service as the future of banking, there are probably just as many exploring how they can leverage emerging technologies to further automate their customer service.

YES BANK of India, for one, prides itself on achieving several market firsts and delivering innovative banking solutions to its customers.  YES proudly claims to be among the first banks in the world to create a Wi-Fi banking network, and the first in India to create an automated teller cash dispenser system and offer speech enabled voice recognition phone banking services.  Building on its technology vision, YES BANK’s South Extension Branch in New Delhi has also introduced an RFID-enabled system that automatically identifies its branch customers in order to enhance their banking experience and provide a new level of personalized service.

By strategically placing RFID readers throughout its facility and providing RFID-enabled banking cards to customers, bank employees are able identify and greet clients by name and have their account information available as they walk through the door.  When customers are done with their banking, the system also captures when they exit, indicating that transactions have been completed and feeding an analytics system that allows the bank to evaluate how long a customer waited before being helped and how long the client spent completing individual transactions.

Spread across 10,000 square feet and billed as the 'Bank Branch of the Future', the South Extension Branch also offers an automated teller cash dispenser machine, touch-screen internet kiosk, speech enabled voice recognition phone banking, Wi-Fi connectivity and a Knowledge Café.  The branch’s YES Lounge extends the exclusive banking experience by delivering a level comfort and privacy not typically found in traditional ‘desk’ banking.

Is banking better off with high-tech services or do you prefer coffee and doughnuts with your teller on Saturday mornings?  Let us know your thoughts about which delivers a better banking experience.

India’s National ID Card Program

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Nov 09, 2010 @ 11:24 AM

Tags: RFID, Service Delivery, National ID Cards

RFID and Biometrics to Deliver Access to Social Services

India ID CardIn our Billions of Identities post, we highlighted India as a country that has begun issuing RFID and biometric enhanced ID cards to their citizens.  Kicked off in September 2010, the project in India seeks to record fingerprint and iris scans from all residents and store them in a central database.  Given India’s population of 1.2 billion, it is no surprise that this is considered to be the most technologically and logistically complex national ID efforts ever attempted.

The goals of the program are honorable.  Among other objectives, the country’s leaders are hoping to solve development problems and assist in delivering social service spending to hundreds of millions of poor.  According to reports, 40% of benefits in India’s welfare system are stolen by people with fake identification papers.  The national ID program aims to put an end to this fraudulent practice and provide subsidies for food, diesel, fertilizer and jobs to those who really need them.

Modernization through technology is nothing new for India and the government is hoping to be able to leverage the experience it gained over the last two decades while implementing programs to digitize land records, computerize tax filing systems, and provide its citizens with information about government agencies.  Legislation is also being drafted to address the data security and privacy concerns some have with implementing a national ID program, with violators facing stiff fines and prison time.

Technology has helped advance many types of services for many countries – from education to public safety to automating the delivery of healthcare – often resulting in enhanced outcome-focused program delivery.  With the right intentions, oversight and respect for individual privacy rights, it appears India is on track with its national ID program.

What are your thoughts about the growing use of RFID and biometric-enabled national ID cards?  Do the proposed benefits of modernization, reduced fraud, and security outweigh the potential risks?

[Photo credit: BBC News]

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