The Point

How the Internet of Things Connects Financial Services to Everyday Life

Jun  07 
Scott Hess  Vice President of User Experience, Consulting and Innovation, Fiserv 

Today, people are more connected than ever before. From homes and appliances, to cars and accessories, the internet of things (IoT) has the potential to bring banking to every corner of people's lives.

Comprised of physical devices that can collect and exchange data, the internet of things includes everything from smart appliances to connected cars, and the number of these devices is growing exponentially.

At its best, the internet of things offers an opportunity to deliver relevant, timely information that helps people keep pace with the speed of life today. On the other hand, there is the risk that people could be overwhelmed with so much content that it simply amounts to noise. The challenge for financial institutions is to determine how consumers might want to consume financial services through these devices and what content is relevant for each device.

When it's time for your financial institution to extend existing financial services capabilities to the internet of things, consider what types of capabilities are practical for this device and how will consumers want to access them.

For some devices there may be no applicability for financial services, at least in the near term, while others lend themselves quite well to the delivery of financial information or transactions. The physical attributes of a device are often a good indicator of the type of information a consumer might want to access or the tasks they might like to complete via that device. People are unlikely to want to set up a budget from a screen in their refrigerator door, but they may very well want to check their balance or pay a bill from there.

In some cases people may simply want the option to connect with their financial institution, such as being able to check their balance on request, one of several concepts Fiserv has created to showcase the way banking could be conducted via an Amazon® Echo. Other circumstances may lend themselves to proactive alerts, such as those that would be sent to a wearable device like an Apple Watch®.

No matter the device or the use case, the information must be relevant. In an age of information overload, irrelevant information will at best be ignored and at worst lead consumers to disengage. For example, consumers should have the ability to personalize the information they receive via alerts, choosing what they are alerted to and when.

When it's time for your financial institution to extend existing financial services capabilities to the internet of things, use the same lens you do when evaluating the capabilities your financial institution would deliver on a smartphone versus a desktop: What types of capabilities are practical for this device, and how will consumers want to access them?

Fiserv is continually evaluating the impact developments such as the internet of things have on financial services. This includes testing technology, such as our prototype of skills for the Amazon Echo, and gauging consumer demand through research and focus groups. This type of purposeful innovation has the potential to change how people live and work – and how financial institutions deliver services to consumers.