Augmented Reality In Finance: The Unlikely Dynamic Duo

11 minute read

December 7th, 2022

Rock Paper Reality

Many companies in the finance industry are embracing modern technologies, including virtual and augmented reality. While there are many examples of financial organizations warming up to virtual reality, augmented reality applications have been less popular. This is partly because the technology has only been showcased in niche sectors with little or nothing to do with finance, such as gaming and military training. Nonetheless, there are other examples where augmented reality in finance will have an impact on the industry.

Enabling Augmented Reality Data Visualization

Visualizing data trends is a critical tool for financial traders since it makes conveying complex business patterns more intuitive. This is handy given that the decisions that financial analysts have to make on an hourly basis are getting more complicated. It can be attributed to the increasing competition in every sector, expanded legal frameworks, and the international nature of modern business.

For the past few decades, analysts have relied on complex software applications to manage financial information. They’ve been utilizing the 2D and 3D rendering engines baked into such programs to produce visually appealing charts and graphs. All this was accomplished via traditional computing mechanisms where an analyst sat in front of a computer, input the commands, scanned a file, and received output on a screen.

Augmented reality in finance allows analysts to use their surroundings as computing peripherals. It also takes data capture to a new level. One of the leading global companies in finance that has partially invested in AR-based data capture includes Salesforce, a Fidelity Investment subsidiary. With AR, financial analysts can capture form data in real-time and watch as it is transformed into various formats. As an illustration, the technology means that different types of charts and graphs can be generated by simply glancing at a tabular structure through an appropriate AR gadget such as Oculus Rift. With such advanced visualization techniques, investors can make critical decisions faster while collaborating remotely since modern AR accommodates networking features.

Augmented Reality Banking and Customer Service

Banks are some of the most important financial institutions in society since they help centralize and control the flow of money. Integrating augmented reality in finance means that customers can enjoy more streamlined services. In nearly all cases, there is a cost-saving angle to such changes. Many banks use AR-based apps to help their customers locate ATMs and the bank branches nearest to them.

In other instances, users get access to amazing services through such apps, including distance calculation to the nearest outlets, virtual trading, account management, and asset inquiry. The ability to access real-time information about traffic and weather means that the app can warn customers against taking certain routes if they want to get to the banks faster.

Halifax from the UK and Commonwealth Bank from Australia are using AR to make processing requests more seamless. The Mysis app is being used to manage personal finance. Ukrainian Privat bank is utilizing the technology to show how customers’ information can be merged with AR allowing them to perform all their banking virtually. The Bank of Osman has integrated deal-finding algorithms in its apps. Users can use it to locate an ATM within a mall and for finding special deals in selected stores.

In the United States, Citibank uses AR integrated into Microsoft HoloLens to develop holographic workstations for its financial clients. As their client, you need to wear a headset to use the service, which is the first step in creating an augmented world. Once done, you can view lots of complex data in a simplified fashion. In addition, manipulating the virtual elements such as views and chart types is as easy as using voice, hand-held control, or making specific gestures.

Aside from traditional banks using AR technology to improve services, the technology has allowed virtual banks to emerge and attract more customers than ever. Digital banks don’t require you to visit a physical banking hall since all paperwork is handled via a web platform. Meetings are handled via teleconferencing. Such situations are rare and only come up when customers have certain matters to settle with bank officials such as managers.

Whenever a virtual meeting between key business partners has to be held, AR is used to make the sessions more productive. A head office virtual customer support assistant may be present to ensure that the company’s agenda is considered. The rest of the participants can freely interact as if they were in the same physical space. This differs from traditional teleconferencing, where everything is handled via a screen and a microphone.

The resulting experience is better and more seamless for getting the most out of such interactions. Therefore, augmented reality in finance allows participants to interact as if they are in the same physical space without the actual need to invest in premises such as office branches or the necessary transportation.

Securing Augmented Reality Payment Services

Payments services are closely related to banking since most of the backend processing is done by a financial institution. As AR technology improves, traditional payment service providers such as MasterCard and VISA continue to make service integrations that make processing orders more efficient. The two processors have come to terms with the fact that physical cards are increasingly getting outdated.

To this effect, VISA Europe is experimenting with features that unlock the use of augmented reality in finance for retail use. For instance, customers will use smart cards to buy clothes off the backs of models during fashion shows. The technology will require the collaboration of fashion designers, payment processors, and banks.

Some of the latest alternatives to traditional payment processors introduced over the past few years include Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay Send. These payment services use AR coupled with sensors built into wearables to help customers make payments more efficiently in places such as gas stations, supermarkets, and online sites. Some wearables that have grown in popularity with the rise in AR-based apps include smartwatches, bands, and tags.

AR devices that have not yet gained mainstream traction include glasses and smart apparel. Once popularized, they will allow finance analysts in physically distant locations to share virtual offices and visualize statistical models as teams. Notably, this will require augmented reality in finance to be merged with virtual reality.

Security and Asset Protection

Sophistication in modern technology opens up opportunities for financial institutions to solve challenges that have inconvenienced customers for decades. However, it creates a loophole that cybercriminals can exploit to steal money or information from unsuspecting AR users.

The most popular AR security integration in the finance world is biometric authentication. For example, many banking apps require a fingerprint scan or face authentication to accomplish various tasks such as checking the balance, sending money, or sending invoices. Lots of traditional banking apps tap into the biometric scanning APIs built into smartphones’ operating systems such as iOS and Android to strengthen the protection needed to access various digital services.

Biometric security technologies are also being rolled out in mainstream banking applications. The earliest terminals to embrace these technologies include banking halls and ATMs. It’s common for clients to verify their identity using fingerprinting and facial recognition technology. Some ATMs have implemented similar technologies to supplement the security provided via pin codes. A common disadvantage associated with code authentication is clients forgetting their unique digits. With AR-based technologies, such failure can’t happen. Asset protection via AR is largely conceptual since the necessary technology hasn’t been properly implemented. Once finalized and rolled out, investors will be able to use AR-capable gadgets to scan their property, cash reserves, and safe deposits. This will take the form of a virtual tour. Plugging into a wearable will transform the immediate environment allowing analysts or their clients to review their assets from the comfort of their homes. Like similar technologies that require remote collaboration, it’ll be necessary to utilize virtual reality elements for a smoother experience.

Spreading Financial Education with AR

Augmented reality in finance has the potential to transform finance from an educational perspective. It can transform how people interact with each other to acquire new knowledge on markets, trade, and investment. This capability is rooted in AR’s ability to generate computer graphics that seamlessly integrate and interact with objects in the real world.

Today, the most basic forms of AR-based learning can be achieved through the use of a typical smartphone. Developers have already created apps that take advantage of such technology. For instance, to extract critical information about the information contained in a graph, you only need to open an app, start the camera view, and point it toward a sheet of paper with some digital records. The AR system will analyze the context of items in the camera view before applying the necessary mathematical analysis.

AR can also transform the learning experience by letting finance students interact with their classroom materials in virtual classes. The learning approach considers the fact that most people are visual and practical learners. They’ll remember the things they see and touch better than what they read or hear.

As an illustration, teaching finance students about 4D analysis is best done via AR. Wearing special headsets and using hand controllers lets learners visualize the model, touch it, and play around with its properties. The collaborative features allow all the students to visualize a single model and interact with the same. For example, if one student changes a parameter on the model, the classmates visually observe the transformation in real-time since the model is shared.

Augmented Reality in Remote Work

Remote work is one of the most important benefits and applications of augmented reality in finance. The technology allows employees to connect with an added dimension beyond basic video and audio calls.

With traditional digital collaboration implemented through shared project features, employees can see each other’s job progress in real-time. If a video feature is installed, they can see each other as they work from their stations.

On the other hand, AR lets them create virtual worlds with all the benefits of a traditional videoconferencing session. In addition, a worker can see what their colleagues are working on. This is different from the traditional approach. Traditionally, you’d have to request your colleagues to share a screen. AR allows a participant to get up from their virtual chair and walk around the digital room. They don’t have to ask their colleagues to share screens. They can walk up to their stations and study the data displayed on the virtual monitors. All this happens in real-time.

You should note that this kind of setup qualifies as augmented reality since not all the items present in the virtual space are abstract computer generations. For example, while the virtual office is a computer simulation, the workers and their workstations are real. This is why the content on each computer screen is the same as what your colleague is working on from their house office. In addition, AR will have added collaboration benefits for remote workers. As you stroll around in the virtual office, you can assist your colleagues with their work. You can pick up digital items, make annotations on others’ computer screens, chat, and do other collaborative activities within the virtual office. Any interactions involving models that have been simulated from the physical world are digitally converted into physical actions. With such levels of collaboration, finance organizations can enjoy the benefits of both remote work and collaborative open offices.

The potential benefits of financial organizations using AR in remote work and collaboration are unlimited. For instance, companies no longer have to worry about buying additional office space as their teams grow. They can easily build virtual offices where employees can interact despite being located in different countries. The savings can be redirected into other critical areas of the businesses.

What the Future Holds for Augmented Reality in Finance

Various subsectors within finance have proven that the industry is fully compatible with AR. These include banking, education, and communication. Finance organizations need to embrace the developments taking place in AR, including data visualization and virtual trading. They should also continue to demand better integration between the technology and the core concepts of finance.

AR is impacting how financial institutions interact with customers, partners, employees, and other parties. It redefines the basic processes of providing services, receiving information, managing data, and safeguarding assets.

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