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May 9, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:47am

Citi, Deutsche Bank react to customer digital demands with AI & Beacon technology

News: Aim is to provide easier and more convenient ways for customers to interact with financial services.

By James Nunns

Banks are working to meet digital disruption head-on as they look to meet customer demands with technologies such as beacon technology and Artificial Intelligence.

Citi Bank is deploying beacon technology across a number of its Smart Banking branches in Manhattan. The trial, which will see Bluetooth Smart Beacons give customers cardless entry into ATM lobbies after hours, comes as part of an on-going drive to bring in new technologies.

Citi is hoping to use the technology from Gimblar to let customers use their iPhone or iWatch to access the bank even when it is not open.

The bank has also recently launched a voice biometrics solution to verify a customer’s identify within the first few seconds of call.

Although the beacon technology is initially being tested at the bank’s Smart Branches in New York City, it could eventually extend to the UK where it has opened a Smart Branch at Canary Wharf.

Citi isn’t alone in the drive to test out new technologies with Deutsche Bank "crowdstorming" ideas on how AI can be used in the financial services industry.

The bank is inviting people to submit their ideas for the chance to develop them at its innovation labs and to win cash prizes.

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Deutsche Bank is working with jovoto, a company that specialises in brainstorming ideas, to invite "financial disrupters and creative minds" to submit their concepts on AI and how they can be adapted to banking, the bank said.

Those hoping to submit ideals will have till the end of June. After the deadline, the best applications will be presented to top level management and then to the bank’s innovation lab in Berlin.

These kinds of ideas are being driven by consumer demand for the latest technology. A recent report by Fujitsu UK&I found that 37% of consumers in Europe are willing to consider leaving their banking and insurance providers if they do not offer up-to-date technology.

In the UK, 39% of those surveyed said they would leave their provider if digital demands were not met.

This demand for access to the latest technology has led to British consumers being much more willing than the rest of Europe to share their personal data. These services include lowering mortage premiums (69%), recommending relevant products or services (53%) and information or spending habits (50%).

The survey polled 7,013 EU citizens, including 1,000 in the UK and highlights a progressive customer attitude that has created a shift in expectations.

Customers now expect to receive access to the latest technologies and are willing to move away from traditional providers to find the service that suits them. A fifth of respondents said they would buy banking or insurance services from potential disrupters like Google, Amazon or Facebook.

Customers are essentially looking for easier and more convenient interactions and are becoming less afraid to look away from the traditional providers.

Although there is an increasingly long list of examples highlighting how banks are looking at technologies such as biometric security, robo-advisers and mobile banking, often the tech is being run as a trial and is yet to become commonplace.

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