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Move over chatbots, the next step in banking could be digital avatars

NARAYANAN V | Updated on: May 21, 2022

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As banks explore the metaverse, customer experience could see a radical shift

Bank visits are few and far between for most people who are signed on to Internet and mobile banking. You hardly need to meet bank executives. But things could change as banks get into the metaverse. Soon you could be visiting a bank virtually wearing a digital avatar and shaking hands with the bank’s executives who will help you open accounts and do other transactions.

Chennai-based digital transformation and cloud solutions company, NOVAC Technology Solutions, says it is seeing increased interest from banks and financial institutions looking to transition from digital to virtual space.  Riding on big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), these virtual banks will offer a whole new experience. 

Immersive experience

“Banks are exploring virtual touch points for customers to answer their queries. The difference between the existing chatbot and the virtual branch would be the presence of real executives in the form of avatars (along with bots) to help out the customers during and after office hours,” said Pradeep B, AVP, NOVAC Technology Solutions. 

“The experience in the virtual branch will be immersive and would give the feel of visiting a physical branch, with similar branding and other aesthetics to build brand awareness,” he added. 

Metaverse is an internet-based virtual world where people can have real time interactions and experiences from across different locations. The virtual space is accessed through the internet using handheld or wearable devices.

Although the technology is still very nascent in India, Pradeep said it can be expanded to offer services like account opening, account information, credit score enquiry etc. besides using the platform to launch new offers or products.

Global pilots

Banks across the globe have already taken the first step. For instance, South Korea’s Kookmin Bank has started a virtual branch that offers one-on-one consultations between customer and employee avatars. Banking giant JP Morgan launched an Onyx lounge in the metaverse, a virtual lounge in the blockchain-based world of Decentraland. BNP Paribas also launched a virtual reality app to enable its retail banking users to access their account activity and transaction records in a VR environment. 

According to the Accenture Technology Vision survey for 2022, 67 per cent of global banking executives agreed that the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organisations, while 38 per cent said it will be a breakthrough or transformational. 

Pradeep said not just banks but the entire financial ecosystem including payment gateway solutions providers, NBFCs, insurance players are also looking at exploring the concept of Metaverse to offer their products and services to end users.

NOVAC Technology is expecting to serve more than 20 banking and non banking financial institutions by the end of 2022.

Published on May 21, 2022
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