While it’s true that 5G has the potential to profoundly change the banking industry and be a more significant transformation for mobile technology than earlier generations, it’s also true that potential use cases, from connected payments to augmented reality, are unlikely to take place immediately. There is still time to take a multi-year approach to building 5G-based solutions. But that doesn’t mean you should take a wait-and-see attitude; the challenge of how to be a mobile, digital-first bank will not get any easier.
Here are some things you can be doing now to plan for ubiquitous 5G
Redefine Customer Journeys and Experiences
As we move into the 5G era, customer expectations will only increase. Imagine the impact of having 5G-enabled robots capable of conversing with customers and assisting them with financial transactions, or smartphone data that makes it easier to push marketing or advisory content to customers in specific moments of need, or customers easily navigating through branches and receiving personalized greetings. Your definition of customer experience and journeys will need to be revised in light of 5G’s ability to deliver instantaneous data flow, high-quality video, pop-up branches/ATMs and personalization based on a customer’s environment, conditions, and location. 5G will allow you to offer customer service like never before.
Dust Off Those Old App Ideas
Every bank has applications that never made it out of the ideation stage. Maybe the idea wasn’t fully developed, maybe the technology wasn’t quite ready, maybe the idea was a little too far out there. It’s a good time to revisit those old app ideas and consider if 5G advancements, especially given the support of cloud, AI, and AR/VR experiences, make those app ideas now relevant.
Revise Your App Roadmaps
Read our perspective to learn the importance of digital account opening in the touch-free Covid-19 era and the top 10 questions you should ask yourself when evaluating your capabilities.
Your applications need to work flawlessly on the latest devices and operating systems to unlock 5G’s potential and take advantage of the newest features. Having the right monitoring tools and feedback mechanisms in place can help you understand audience engagement across your applications. Analytics dashboards that provide the data and insights you need to understand the hardware, software, and location of customers (as well as how customers are using your applications), are necessary to define your roadmap and make improvements. Can you create more personalized experiences for users? Does your design follow the latest standards across platforms? Applications do not have a long shelf life and require proper care and nourishment. Only then will you be prepared to adopt the enhanced capabilities of 5G.
Assess Your IT Infrastructure
Supporting 5G applications will likely require changes to your current infrastructure. Edge computing, real-time applications, and micro-data centers will all become part of the 5G ecosystem. Your systems and processes need to be accessible to drive these experiences. What back-office processes would need to change in order to leverage edge computing and process data closer to where it is generated? If you have not migrated to the cloud, it is crucial to get the infrastructure in place to provide a services layer and custom APIs for mobile development (most cloud providers provide services and platforms to get you started). The proper tools and processes need to be in place to support your applications. Modern mobile languages and patterns should be leveraged to ease support and maintenance.
Review Mobile App Architectures
Start thinking about reducing technical debt and the architecture changes you can make to existing applications to bring them to a point where massive re-writes are not needed. Assess the maturity of the languages and frameworks you are using for app development, as well as the tools required for testing, monitoring, and code analysis. Assess opportunities to leverage cross-platform AR kits such as Unity to deploy to multiple platforms, as well as which AR technologies to use, and how these new technologies affect the skills needs within your current development teams.
5G has the potential to transform the digital banking experience, but this will not happen without overcoming some challenges. Set realistic goals and target specific areas, educate yourself on carrier and vendor wireless roadmaps, and define your mobile customer experience, use cases, and application performance requirements for the next three to five years to determine your timeframe for 5G adoption.
To learn more about what 5G is exactly, why banks should care, the benefits and challenges of the new service, and what banks should be doing to prepare for the change, you can click here or submit the form below.
This blog was co-authored by Jonathan Crockett.