This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC2014) in Barcelona makes clear that the Everyday Bank is a path banks must begin to follow.

The event started propitiously with BBVA announcing that it is acquiring Simple for $117 million. This move looks to consolidate BBVA’s innovative plays, as well as strengthening its customer experience and portfolio in North America.

Walking around the Fira Gran Via, where MWC2014 was held, it becomes apparent that the Everyday Bank, to enable and deliver compelling customer experience, needs to further push the envelope on its ecosystem–pushing further the concept of “interconnections” across which this ecosystem develops and delivers its vital functions.

So far we have spoken about the need for the bank to extend beyond its traditional mission as a provider of financial services and become an integrator of solutions–based on a network of collaborative partnerships–to satisfy its customers’ daily needs. It is even clearer, following what I’ve seen at MWC2014, that the environment in which this will happen is a scenario where physical and digital experiences mix disruptively, the needs become either more complex (imagination has no boundaries!) or simpler and intuitive and banks will require service components from multiple industries. The scenario is enriched by products and devices which, independently, talk to each other and exchange information so that we can receive ever more customized information, advice and services…

  • Our body becomes a sensor/aerial/clock which transmits expended calories and shares our latest training/racing performance with our group of friends
  • The connected fridge can combine retailer offers, our tastes (as they develop), current stock and consume-by dates, make an order … and pay
  • Our car becomes a service platform able not only to help us meet our transportation needs with maximum ease (best route, no traffic jams) and safety (advice on how to drive better), but now allowing us to remain connected with our family and office, recommend points of interest, point out petrol stations with the lowest fuel offers and enable insurers to reduce fraud and offer us the best price for insurance! [As I write this piece, Apple just announced Carplay at the Geneva Motor Show, integrating iPhone with Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo.]
  • Our home now learns our behaviors – from regulating temperatures (Google’s Nest) to deciding when best to schedule laundry and when to sell back to the grid any surplus energy from solar

The quantity of data that be created, transmitted and shared across multiple formats and devices is incredible, yet the user will want to access his/her personal data points (data set, data warehouse) from walls, clocks, kitchen surfaces and dashboards in a seamless fashion. The “winner” will be whoever is able to collect, elaborate upon and validate this data (it assumes an opt-in choice by customers) in real time in order to meet, and exceed, our “connected living lifestyle needs.”

The bank will thus not only need to set up commercial relationships with its partners to offer complete, and targeted, offers, but will also need to componentize its own value/supply chain and recompose it together with that of other industries. It will be essential to rethink the products and services that the bank offers through APIs (application programming interfaces), which may invoke services from partners, or at the same time be invoked by other industries, ultimately to create living services accessible across all channels and devices.

Clearly, banks have some urgent tasks ahead of them. Even banks highly advanced on multi-channel and digital services are making moves which surprise us, such as the acquisition of Simple!

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