One of the things we have been experimenting with is inputting loan credit information using voice recognition. So far, it is equal to typing in terms of effort and speed, but that will change in the next year when it will become faster to use voice. As mobile and desktop computers become quicker and recognition algorithms become more accurate, speaking commands will become easier than typing for more complicated tasks. While Siri and Google Hotwording can already search emails, set reminders and schedule meetings, soon banks will add voice-recognition technology to their repertoire as a Siri-like assistant will enable customers and employees to gain productivity using natural language.
Wells Fargo just announced that it began testing voice-recognition technology that its customers can use to check their spending habits, balances, deposits and pending items. Barclays also announced it will be using voice recognition in place of security questions to speed the customer’s experience. USAA already has its virtual assistant, Nina, and US Bank is testing theirs.
While understanding human speech is one part of the puzzle, the more impressive gains in software have been around machine intelligence. Given faster processors, better calculation engines and enhanced sensors, voice can be placed in better context to allow for unprecedented interaction at banks. Loan underwriting, account opening, problem resolution and many other tasks will soon utilize computerized natural language understanding and response in the next three years. In the next seven years, Watson-like intelligence will help small businesses manage their cash, suggest the proper capital structure, review expenses and connect management to a variety of other resources driven by voice, but enabled by context. The idea of this technology is to bring more intimate engagement to bank customers at a fraction of today’s cost.
If you doubt this, consider the rise of “wearable technology” such as smartwatches and Google Glass. When you are in motion, be it driving, walking, biking or other form of transportation, voice becomes the preferred method of input, subject only to technology’s capabilities and privacy concerns. These hurdles are easily overcome and soon voice will be ambient as audio sensors will be prevalent in your work and living environment. Commands and conversations will soon be able to be started on one device (like your work computer) and finished on another (like in your car).
Using voice for banking interaction will not only increase speed, but increase privacy as personal information will go right into encryption without having to be taken by another human or entered manually where malware can monitor. Voice encryption will become the default so that biometric tests will authenticate the bank customer not only at the start of the conversation, but throughout.
Mobile and online banking interfaces will evolve into not only being able to handle voice, but will be augmented by typing and gestures such as a swipe. In many cases, machine intelligence combined with voice will compliment human interaction. By monitoring live human conversation, already bank-specific artificial intelligence using voice recognition can suggest to the account representative when and what specialist to pull into a conversation.
Not just for customer interaction, bank voice interactions will become recordable by default. Bank meetings, for example, will be recorded, cleaned, organized and disseminated automatically. What now requires a person taking notes, will soon evolve into an automated active knowledge management system enabled by voice. Just as we search email for keywords, we will do the same for meeting conversations allowing better recall and record keeping.
While typing on a mobile device or computer keypad will still be the primary point of entry, look for voice to become almost equally as popular as an input option given the rise of wearable bank applications. Voice will be incorporated into many facets of life as more and more devices get connected via the Internet, but the banking industry is ripe for some of the largest change given the number of routine, but critical and defined tasks that customers and employees do every day. The next time you talk to Siri, consider that practice for banking’s bright future.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on April 09, 2014