Westpac trials Google Glass & iBeacon

Customers will be able to walk into a shop wearing their Google Glasses, see something they like and instantly check their bank balance which will be displayed in their peripheral vision, says bank chief digital officer Simon Pomeroy.

Westpac is trialling its Cash Tank app on Google Glass and introducing Apple’s iBeacon technology in its branches, the first bank in New Zealand to utilise these technologies.

Simon Pomeroy, chief digital officer, says the app will be fully functioning when Glass is expected to be available in New Zealand later this year.

Pomeroy says 2014 is poised globally to be the year of wearable technology and Westpac aims to make services available on all new technology platforms that customers adopt.

The user wears the device, a mini display screen attached to a metal frame, over the right eye. Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format, is GPS enabled and users can take photos or videos, and partake in live-chat.

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Digital innovation is unfolding around the world at an incredible pace and we’re focused on making it available to our customers to make things easier and faster for them.

Simon Pomeroy, Westpac

Cash Tank provides an account balance without the need to log in and is already available on Sony’s Smartwatch.

“By the end of this year our customers will be able to walk into a shop wearing their Google Glasses, see something they like and instantly check their bank balance which will be displayed in their peripheral vision – that’s pretty cool,” says Pomeroy.

Related: Banking on success: Interview with Wespac CIO Peter Fletcher

"What is really important for us as a financial institution is to understand the next generation of our customers. Their expectations of their technology experience are so far beyond our existing customer group and our customers from years ago," says Peter Fletcher. "We really need to challenge ourselves to be able to meet that demand."

Westpac will also extend the functionality to offer customers transfers between their bank accounts, the ability to receive account alerts and also find the nearest ATM or Westpac branch.

iBeacon allows customers to receive special offers on their device when they are in or walk past a shop that is using the technology.

It also alerts staff that a customer has arrived for a pre-ordered item and can remind the customer that they are in a place that has an item on their digital shopping list.

“This is an opportunity to add another dimension to customer service,” says Pomeroy. “We’re hoping to be trialling iBeacon in selected branches by the end of February.

“Digital innovation is unfolding around the world at an incredible pace and we’re focused on making it available to our customers to make things easier and faster for them. These are exciting times.”

Related:

Smartglasses should be part of BYOD policies: Gartner

CIOs are taking a fresh look at impact of wearable electronics on the enterprise.

Five ways IT can prepare for wearable devices at work

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz

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