Visit any retail bank and you will see the same video walls and large flat panel displays that have been used in many fashion stores for decades. Fact is, the banking and financial sector is increasingly using digital signage solutions to enhance in-branch customer experience. Financial institutions understand the retail side of their businesses can benefit from the same digital signage technologies as many other types of brick-and-mortar locations.
It’s all about the experience
Increasingly, customers interact with their banks via the internet. Online banking has deeply affected the retail banking sector, leading to branch closures and changes in the way banks deliver services to their customers. However, there is still a need for physical locations to support financial transactions that cannot be performed online. Customer expectations are increasingly high due to the popularity of social media, wireless transactions and e-commerce. This creates an ideal opportunity for banks to update their retail locations and deliver a truly modern customer experience.
Strategically located displays can help reduce wait time, inform customers of new services and improve overall perception of the bank. In fact, successful digital signage implementations deliver high-quality content that is both timely and relevant. Most of today’s digital signage solutions support some form of live data support which is another important feature that banks can use to communicate with retail customers. Live data displays can improve banking for customers by showing current market prices, interest rates, currency exchange rates and other vital financial data.
At the other end of the spectrum are social media feeds, weather information and news items which can significantly reduce perceived dwell times for customers waiting for the next available teller.
Even ATMs can benefit from digital signage!
ATMs have been evolving to keep up with the latest technologies. It’s not uncommon for modern ATMs to feature full color displays, RFID and NFC technologies. The underlying PC hardware has also been beefed-up and many ATMs can now support basic digital signage features while still performing their core function. The same software that runs in-branch displays can also manage the advertising running on ATM screens and in other locations such as outside LED boards.
Digital signage solutions are now able to provide a unified point of control for all screen based banking communications. Bank staff at every level of the enterprise can manage, approve and control which content plays on which screen across any number of locations.
It’s not just for customers
Digital signage solutions aren’t only useful for customer facing displays. Bank employees in offices and branch locations can all benefit from digital signage. For example, displays used to communicate with customers can be switched to a corporate content channel during off-hours. Displays can be installed in common areas, lunch rooms and meeting rooms to further expand their use. Employee facing displays can inform, entertain and motivate staff at every level of the organisation.
Additional digital signage benefits
Digital signage messaging can reach every branch regardless of it’s geographic location. There is no limit to it’s reach. International banks can manage multilingual content across many countries. This is where banks can achieve the highest return on investment because a single digital signage content management system can be used for the entire organization.
Here are more benefits:
- Using a single, professional-grade solution across an entire organization simplifies support tasks and end-user training.
- A single server can be used to provide services across all regions, or a content management system (CMS) can be invoked for more efficient content delivery over vast distances.
- When combined with external triggers, digital signage can be very effective at grabbing and retaining viewers. For example, displays can be equipped with motion sensors, RFID sensors, Microsoft Kinect sensors and other devices so the audience can interact with the system to launch various content on-demand. Motion sensors can change content when someone passes by a display, further grabbing their attention for a moment.
- The use of electronic beacons and smartphone apps lets customers communicate with the content playing on screen. Different content can be triggered when a customer running an app is within range of a beacon to further personalize their experience.
- Touch enabled displays and tablets offer another way of letting the audience interact with the system. Customers can navigate interactive kiosks to retrieve information, review policies and access many other useful data. Some kiosks even let customers sign-in when dropping in for an appointment. They can bypass line-ups and head straight to a waiting area.
- Touchscreens are also used in wayfinding applications where customers can get directions without having to line up at an information desk.
What about security?
Security is the number one concern for banking and financial service executives. Banking network environments are more secure than your typical business LAN. There are several layers of security, proxy servers and many other safeguards that can create issues with digital signage solutions. Typically, digital signage players communicate with a back-end server that is either located on premise or remotely managed and maintained in the cloud. Since communication with the public internet is highly restricted, this complicates digital signage data flow.
Only professional-grade, secure digital signage solutions can operate in these environments. These products communicate using secure HTTP channels and are compatible with proxy servers to ensure data can flow between the back-end CMS server and each playback device.
The software’s communication method also has an impact on it’s security (or lack of). The more secure products communicate using a “forward and store” method where content is transferred to each media player and stored locally. Each media player pulls the data at a regular interval and this is a fully autonomous process.
This has two advantages over streaming based solutions.
First: Data is only transferred and stored once so bandwidth is only consumed during the data transfer process. Once the files are stored locally, there is no more data being transferred.
Second: Since data is stored locally, media players will continue to show content even in the event the device loses connection to the network.
Products that lack these capabilities are not recommended for banking and financial use.
What does it take to make it all work?
As was mentioned earlier, a typical digitals signage solution is made up of 3 main components:
- The back-end CMS server.
- The user dashboard.
- The media player.
Of course, there are many other software components that are included in a typical digital signage solution. These are background services that are always running to ensure optimal and reliable operation.
Most banks and financial institutions purchase and host their CMS server in-house. This is also referred to as an “on premise” solution. The bank’s own IT support personnel manages and maintains the digital signage solution on its own rather than hosting the software on an independent third party hosting provider (also referred to as a “cloud” solution).
Banks tend to prefer web-based software dashboards over locally installed software as these products tend to be easier to deploy and maintain. There are no local software versioning issues to deal with since everyone accesses the same information from a central server.
The banking sector also prefers professional, native media player software since this type of product outperforms other solutions. Native software has less stability issues and the content is rendered in a much higher quality than products based on interpreted software languages.