What is common to smart cities, smart cars and smart homes is that the previously “dumb” paradigms that characterized their structure, functions, and human interface have now been replaced by “smart” means and ways. The “smartness” is essentially achieved by the adoption of technologies, notably Wireless, IoT, Automation, Cloud and Analytics. An overarching term for going smart is “digital” since all the technologies that enable smartness convert everything they do into digital format in their core processing. Thus a smart city provides free and pervasive Wi-Fi to its citizens, smart utilities help reduce waste of power, water and cooking gas and smart governments help citizens avail government services more efficiently and seamlessly. Similarly, a smart home will ensure a lot of mundane work at home can be automated, or even handed over to a humanoid robot. Smart cars fall in the realm of connected cars wherein they are equipped with advanced electronics to enable variety of ways to get cars connected wirelessly to other cars, cloud, infrastructure and eventually to just about anything.
Banking in the context of ‘smartness’ needs to be evaluated for new use cases that may now be available for the consumer as a transaction in a traditional and tedious way of processing. In general, the common thread from a banking perspective is the connectivity factor, be it in a smart home, on the street or inside a moving car. Now that seamless connectivity is a given, how it can be leveraged for the digitalization of all that is enabled for banking as such, is the key question. While all digitalized banking functions will remain available in a smart environment, it remains to be seen if the bandwidth and security issues will be sufficiently addressed in the short term for smart banking. As digitalization of banking means convergence of technologies and many stakeholders at play, there is an inherent vulnerability with respect to honoring the security of the transaction.
As often is the case, technology itself provides ways to overcome the issues thrown up by introduction of disruptive technology, even if it is a bit long drawn out. Technologies like block chain can be adopted to overcome security issues and banking has to move to a more cashless ecosystem. Emerging technologies in wireless will likely reduce the cost of infrastructure and hence may make the scalability a non-issue in the future. Smart branches, smart kiosks, smart ‘staff’, smart interactive front end are going to be the face of a ‘Smart Bank’ soon. Overall, smart banking is going to be enabling ‘digital engagement’ in all aspects of Banking, which would be a combination of anywhere and anytime availability, cashless and paperless transactions, automated transaction processing and everything that enhances customer satisfaction and value.