Banks walk the talk

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Banks woo retail customers and measure walk-in rates with Trakomatic

Epiphany. Retail banks have realized that turning customers away to use e-banking is not always a good thing.

We saw leaps in innovation in the last two decades where banking clients were urged to go electronic to bring down the cost of operations for the bank. Today, banks have come to the realization that they are losing the personal touch of a banker by going completely electronic.

“We are losing valuable information about customer preferences when we go ‘e’ [electronic],” said a senior banker in Singapore. “It is back to basics with Trakomatic’s video analytics technology. We are now able to track a variety of things that we weren’t able to do in the past.”

Trakomatic, a high-technology company based out of Singapore offers banks video analytics technology to track the number of customers walking-in and the average time spent in a queue at the teller during peak and off-peak hours. It also has a facial recognition feature that identifies premier customers so that bankers can approach them directly for upselling opportunities.

“CCTV has been around for decades but they just store raw video footage. Trakomatic enable banks to analyze the footage and provide insights into retail banking customers,” said Allen Lin, CEO of Trakomatic. “Gone are the days when we hired a research company to understand foot traffic at a mall or any retail outlet.”

Banks can now analyze the walking path and the heat map within their banking premises. This allows the banks to position sales persons at strategic locations to sell new banking products.

According to Mr. Lin, banks have used this technology in ways that he did not envision. One bank has used Trakomatic to measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaign to drive customer visits to the banks.

“Now, I know the effectiveness or the lack of it for each marketing campaign. I no longer rely on gut instincts to drive customer visits to the bank,” said a marketing manager with a local bank in Singapore.

Several banks have implemented this application with a Singapore bank piloting Trakomatic at five of its outlets, capturing mug shots of its customers so that it can identify VIP customers when they walk-in.

While the world-wide-web and mobile platforms have effectively driven the costs of service delivery down for banks, it comes at a cost – premier high-net worth customers are turning to other financial institutions for personalized services.

The challenge for banks has always been about how they can juggle both – being a retail bank and a boutique financial house at the same time. Wooing customers back, particularly the well-healed ones, into their retail outlets so that they can give good tender-loving-care is a departure from their former strategy of going online. They are hopeful that this will bring back their premier banking customers.

With a huge smile on his face, Mr. Lin added, “Trakomatic can also provide an early warning system to security personnel to screen potential criminals and politically exposed persons at the bank.”

This technology is particularly useful for identifying both bankers and customers walking into the vault. Biometric authentication, specifically facial recognition technology will become the order of the day according to industry experts.

There are several use-cases for Trakomatic, Mr. Lin plans to roll out this technology in the retail segment and for border security in the future.
“We are currently in talks with several law enforcement agencies to implement our technology,” said Mr. Lin.

Watching Allen do his demo at Appleseed Innovation Centre in Singapore, it certainly felt like I was watching a scene out of Minority Report, a Hollywood blockbuster, where people are identified by security and surveillance systems. For now though, the notion of a ‘Minority Report’ like system being implemented universally seems remote. But it does offer a glimpse of what the future holds.

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Kumaran Pillai is the CEO of Apple Seed, a venture accelerator based out of Singapore. You can reach him at kumaran@appleseedpl.com