Virtual Reality is having yet another resurgence (forget those silly red and blue glasses, we’re talking about real deal VR), as technology has finally matured to the point at which high fidelity 3D experiences that touch all of our major senses (even taste and smell) are popping up everywhere.
But can financial services firms take advantage of this technology to provide meaningful value to customers? Well, Research from Dr Mehrabian suggests that up to 93% of all daily communication is nonverbal and we rely on input from all of our 5 senses, not just what we can see and hear, to make sense of our world, in order to make decisions. If this is the case, then Virtual Reality could be an incredibly effective way of transmitting complex financial information to customers, in a more easily digestible format, making use of immersive 360 visuals, multi-dimensional sound and responsive touch.
Several banks have begun to use Augmented Reality to help them in gaining leads for big ticket products like mortgages. Home buyer apps built and distributed by banks leverage freely available data provided by estate agents, to let customers view the profile details of houses that are for sale as they pass them in the street. Banks could take this a step further with Virtual Reality and provide an app that lets customers use their smartphone mounted in a visor to view a virtual cutaway of the properties they pass and interactively inspect a 3D overlay of individual rooms, and features in context. This would of course rely on estate agents exposing 3d scan data over an API – but in our reckoning the odds of this eventually becoming the ‘standard’ are about 1:1 or 100%. It would certainly speed up the viewing process for both sellers and buyers – (as viewing could happen at any time, without customers even entering the property) and assist banks in gaining leads. The downside is the people selling the property would have a bunch of folk with VR headsets on hanging around in the front garden….
So how much equipment is needed to pull off experiences like this ? Well since 3D headsets can be self assembled out of cardboard, and the smartphone customers already have in their pockets is more than capable of processing high-fidelity 3D environments – it seems that everything is already in place.
The automotive industry is already way ahead here, a great example is Fiat’s Livestore, which demonstrates how VR can act as a valuable part of the sales cycle and play a huge role in improving customer support and ‘closeness’ with the customer.
Take a look here:
At Monese we have a saying: “If money doesn’t grow on tree’s, why do banks need branches” and we truly believe that physical branches are no longer required to provide banking, however that doesn’t mean we feel that being close to the customer is not important. We just leverage technology to achieve it – at a scale that legacy brick and mortar branches could never do. We already use video calls to deliver customer support face to face and perhaps Virtual Reality technology could one day soon, allow us to have even richer interactions with our customers all over the world.
The market growth is a strong indicator that Virtual Reality is set to continue going from strength to strength. Shipments of VR headsets will grow at a hefty 99% compound annual growth rate between 2015 and 2020, which will result in a $2.8 billion hardware market up from a $37 million market in 2015.
If you haven’t already started working on at least some level of Virtual Reality programme in your business – it’s time to start.
Header image credit: The Guardian