Last week’s Finovate event in NYC offered up a great mix of innovation across many areas of financial services with an added bonus for 2017. For those who have had the opportunity to attend, the initial format has not changed from the last few years; however, the event was expanded to four days this year and included multiple presentations on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in retail banks, regulatory updates from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and financial products that meet the needs of the unbanked. The first two days of demos were relevant to the industry, and the content was spot-on. The rapid-fire presentations surely hit a nerve with the financial institution (FI) representatives in attendance, who are continually grappling with ever-changing technology. These presentations featured varying levels of single product solutions as well as enterprise-wide data platform solutions.
While a few topics, such as blockchain and application program interfaces, carried over from years past, the primary focus of this year’s event circled around the following:
- Authentication: On the heels of another significant breach, this was one of the primary themes for demos, side conversations, and roundtables alike. Multiple companies gave their seven-minute presentation on authentication and protection of customer data, leveraging everything from biometrics to predictive analytics. The cost impact of fraud for FIs continues to increase, and with the push to move all things digital, the overall interest was extremely high on this topic.
- AI: Possibly one of the most interesting themes was the ongoing evolution of AI and how FIs can leverage the technology not only to serve customers but also to manage back-office operations. There were demos on using AI for a virtual teller at the retail bank and for a banking assistant that can be utilized through social media. On day three, there was a standing-room-only panel discussion on the use of AI. One of the participants mentioned that he believes that in the next five to ten years, the banks’ AI will be talking to the consumers’ AI, with consumers’ participation being limited.
- Machine Learning: This particular topic was more of a baseline ingredient for the majority of the presentations than an overall “product,” and rightfully so. It impacts nearly every area of financial services. FIs have access to more personal data than do most other industries, and with access to new sources of data and advanced analytics, institutions can gather more intelligence, create more customer interaction points, and generate more revenue.
While the first two days of Finovate demos were both informative and fun to watch, the addition of days three and four gave participants the opportunity to talk with each other and have longer conversations with industry experts on various topics.
On Wednesday morning, I was fortunate enough to participate in a panel with other industry analysts to discuss pertinent fintech topics. One theme that seemed to stand out in the presentations was the lack of the “human” factor in new technology. FIs utilize the word “relationship” in their marketing to establish trust and demonstrate a sense of security; however, very few of the presentations discussed how to improve employee/customer interactions or relationships.
It was great to see how Finovate has expanded and how attendance continues to grow. The overall organization of the four-day conference was well-planned and well-executed. The app was helpful in scheduling and setting appointments, and the staff were a joy to work with. The fact that the majority of the attendees still showed up on days three and four speaks volumes about how well the event was managed.
Next stop, Asia! Building on the success of last year's inaugural event, FinovateAsia 2017 will be heading to the JW Marriott Hong Kong on November 7th through 8th with a new and expanded format. The traditional demo format will be followed up every afternoon with discussions and fast-paced exchanges about key topics. Access the leading analysts, investors, bankers, and pundits and hear how you can put to work the ideas that percolated to the top during the demos. The latest, most innovative financial and banking technology and topics will be showcased to an audience of senior-level influencers from across the globe. And we would love for you to join us. Register now here and make sure to take advantage of our special partner promotional code FKV2334AIT to save 20% on the current ticket price!