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The Internet of Things for banks: it’s here, it’s real, and it’s set to grow exponentially

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Until recently, only devices such as computers, tablets and phones were able to connect to the internet. But now there are approximately8 billion ’network aware’ machines globally that are internet enabled and can communicate and interact with other machines, creating the Internet of Things (IoT). And this figure could grow to over 50 billion connected devices in the next five years.

So there is no question that the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to substantially change our everyday lives.  While this trend is still only in its relative infancy, the progress in increasing internet connectivity has been remarkable.  Consider the development and advances in mobile network connectivity, the rise of ubiquitous wi-fi hot spots and the increased capacity of fibre optics.  If you combine these with improvements in small battery performance and the economics behind small sensors, the IoT’s staggering potential can be realised.

We are already seeing applications in usage, from car insurance (dongles monitoring driving behaviour) to ’intelligent parking’ in Milton Keynes (sensor showing busy/ free bays); from rubbish collection (is the bin full or empty?) to potential uses in water consumption efficiency — detecting leaks easily.  And on in town centres and shopping malls we already have fashion and food location-based services — offers relevant for you as you wander around (we as individuals opt into this).

But how can it work for financial services?  Some banking experts already talk about how the mortgage process could be radically improved by using IoT and advanced data analytics.  So let’s take that as an example.

We talked about location-based services in the retail sector, these could equally be applied to banks, for example using sensors to monitor branch activity.  In branch sensors could detect that the branch is relatively quiet and connect up with location-based services.  Recognising that you — as a customer interested in a mortgage — are in the area could allow them contact you to ask if you would like to speak to a mortgage advisor now.   And that meeting could take place with an in-branch advisor, or via high-quality two-way video.

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