From early days of 2013, there have been reports of various banks venturing into trials for integration of Banking apps for Google Glass. Described as a wearable computer, Google Glass is fitted with an optical display facing the user’s eyeball. The slick, sic-fi like headset has a built in microphone and is GPS capable. Google has revealed that it will be launched publicly in 2014.
Some of the recent Ventures/Trials:
In June 2013, the Ukranian bank gave customers a glimpse of the activities they would be able to perform upon full release of Google Glass. They stated that users would be able to transfer money, pay bills by taking pictures of them and refuel their automobile with a voice command. The Google Glasses can read QR codes which will enable customers to make purchases.
Users can pay bills by taking photographs with the banks app – PhotoKassa. PrivatBank stated that these features would be “available in the nearest future after the launch of Google Glass”. That however might take a while, since the consumer version of the augmented reality glasses are expected to arrive only halfway through 2014.
The Spanish bank created a banking app for Google Glass in October 2013. The app displays the nearest ATM to users. It enables them to view their accounts and supports 24/7 video conferencing – a feature which could be very useful. A company known as Droiders entered into a pilot program with the bank to develop this full featured app. The success of this venture caused Banco Sabadell to invite developers for creating more apps for Google Glass via its Open Apps innovation program. Banco Sabadell, an international banking group with headquarters just outside Barcelona, approximately holds assets totaling $232 Bn according to Bankinnovation.
“Google Glass is perhaps a prime exponent of the new evolution the internet is about to experience,” said Pol Navarro, Innovation Head, Sabadell. “The mobile internet’s natural evolution will be living services. Users will want to be able to interact with firms through many different devices and as quickly and intuitively as possible. And we’ve already started to adapt ourselves to this scenario.”
“More related to the experience with this first app for a wearable device, we visualize that it will be important how these devices will change how we use services, for example giving access to customer support by a more natural (using just voice) and convenient way. (Imagine customer support, seeing the same screen as your customer without any additional software),” wrote Xavier Marin, Digital Services Strategy at Banco Sabadell. “It also will enable something like “talking” to machines. It begins to seem possible to say to an ATM, wearing a Google Glass, ‘Please, Give me money.’ (Likely in future releases Google Glass will allow iris-secure identification, etc. There are numerous opportunities!),” he added.
A unit of Fidelity Investments, Fidelity Labs announced the launch of a ‘Market Monitor’ App for Google Glass in August 2013. "We encourage investors to join with us and offer their insights and feedback on emerging technologies, such as the Fidelity Market Monitor for Glass, our first step in exploring the potential of wearable computing," said Sean Belka, Sr. V.P & Director at Fidelity.
The world’s banking goliaths, including Wells Fargo and BofA, are working on their own apps for Google Glass according to Alex Bray, a retail channel director & banking industry analyst for Misys.
On 24th December 2013, Google released terms and conditions to companies developing the Glassware apps. This included rejecting any software that could be a source of irritation for users. The Glass is to function as a normal pair of frames, with a heads up display attached that will project images in front of the user’s eyes. According to some reports the glasses are slated to be priced at around $1500 a piece.
“Any wearable technology like Google Glass will almost certainly need to integrate voice commands into apps banks develops,” Jim Marous, Sr. V.P at New Control said. “Unlike a smartphone that is almost entirely tactile, wearable technology relies on voice recognition to be the most effective. This suggests that voice driven banking could expand significantly in the future as technologies like these are refined.”
In our discussions with Commerce and Payment industry experts, it was felt that there are several challenges ahead. As an example, mobile banking application created by Wells Fargo for Google Glass has not been gaining much traction among internal testers, according to Miranda Hill, VP & Product manager, Wells Fargo Labs.