Trending Tech You Missed at This Years Mobile Banking Summit

Intercontinental MiamiI just came from the Mobile Banking and Commerce Summit in Miami last week and I have to say…?it was an eye opener.

?The attendees were from banks large and small from all over the U.S. who came because mobile is front and center of what their customers are demanding. ?It was an opportunity for me to meet a few of the attendees but also check out various mobile offerings provided by a growing number of companies.

First though, kudos to the teams at American Banker and Bank Technology News for planning an informative few days as well as choosing the site. The Intercontinental in Miami is a fantastic venue, and no, there wasn’t time for the spa.

Ok, onto the agenda. ?What proved most interesting to me, was to meet the financial institutions (FI’s) who had excelled at mobile banking applications products and to hear their experience. ?When we talk to FI’s and enterprise business in general, most “get” that they need a mobile solution, it’s connecting that idea with the reality of the user, that many get bogged down or even lost.

One of the most salient moments in at the event was listening to?Neff Hudson of USAA, ?We are focused on the user experience. It?s their phone NOT our app, ?my phone is more important than your bank?. Think carefully about your customer and design for everyday life. People think about the app for 60 seconds that they interact with it…make it simple and valuable to them in their lives, not the other way around. If you solve for the customer users, you solve for the FI. You’ve got an opportunity to make a difference in their lives.?

That’s a powerful statement and from listening to Neff, I’d say his team has it exactly right. ?Sure mobile solutions are about productivity and revenue gains for the FI, but an app is worthless if nobody uses it.

A lot of information was covered as expected in anti-fraud areas to protect the users account information. For instance, last year Apple bought fingerprint authentication provider AuthenTec for about $350M. One can surmise, infer and otherwise conjecture that Apple intends to offer some form of biometric security at some point – rumors are already clouding the iPhone 5S launch for this fall.

Other topics ranged from offering interactive customer service from with the app using video or chat capabilities to education, and one of my favorites, account activity updates using the device camera to record and categorize shopping receipts on the fly. This will be a huge help to me on my next trip to REI.

Another thing that stood out to me was the topic of “gamification” that is the idea that users and financial organizations app will benefit from games within the solution. ?We’re not talking about Angry Birds per se, but games that add a level of value to the user. These can range from simple educational games to teach teens to learn to manage their money, to just plain fun, making the app more useful and an enjoyable experience for the user.

I really like this idea and expect that moving forward gamification will find great value in mobile banking solutions, but I think today though, the jury is still out.

Frankly, there was a lot covered at the Summit including monetizing the mobile app experience, which in the end finds a home among FI’s as they continue to expand their mobile offerings. More on that in another post.