LONDON TECH WEEK – WHAT CAN BANKS LEARN FROM IT?

Hans Tesselaar, Executive Director of BIAN

London Tech Week is described as a week ‘where creativity, talent and innovation come together’, and is seen as the ideal source of inspiration for new technologies that are set to revolutionise industries across the UK. 2016 saw many conversations around placing London firmly on the map as a ‘global tech hub’. Fast forward to 2017, and while the capital is already renowned for really pushing boundaries when it comes to FinTech innovation, this year provided an insight into specific technological innovations that could be adopted by not only FinTech firms,but also the financial industry as awhole.

The trends to watch out for

London as a ‘smart city’ was at the top of the agenda. The ‘smart city’ – the idea of using data from citizens, sensors and digital technology to make urban services and processes run more efficiently – could have a profound effect on the ways everyone leads their daily lives. However, while the progression of this booming concept is definitely something for banks to keep on their radar, London Tech Week also highlighted some trends that are a lot closer and more achievable for many banks.

Artificial intelligence was one of these more relevant topics that took London by storm this year. With predictions that AI could increase productivity by over 40% by 2035, it comes as no surprise really. A recent PWC report on AI in financial services specifically states that it can become the ideal extension of a data analytics team and revolutionise customer services. In addition to AI, there were many events concentrating on the opportunities that blockchain presents. While it’s been subject to some bad press in recent months, this didn’t stop the focus on this technology, particularly the ability for it to reduce friction and costs.

The steps to introduce them

London Tech Week may serve as a reminder of the technological opportunities that are out there, but there are still issues that banks need to overcome first before they can take advantage of these trends. In order to grab these technological advancements by both hands, banks have to cut through the complex legacy issues in their IT architecture and ensure they categorise their core IT into clear business functions.

By tapping into a framework that is standardised across the whole international banking industry, they will then be able to develop, and re-use, APIs that are aligned to a unified core banking framework. This will then allow them to integrate new partners easily for quick releases of new digital products that are in line with the latest trends and consumer needs.

Being perceived as up-to-date and innovative may seem important but before trying to rapidly introduce new technologies, banks have to ensure their architecture is properly set up. By collaborating with other players in the financial ecosystem to introduce a standardised framework, the whole industry will be in a position to introduce new products and services that consumers are looking for in 2017.

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