The edge: the bridge between banks and their customers
The way we bank has changed. With recent technology advancements, we’re now able to bank from the comfort of our homes or while we are on the move.
Traditional banks are racing to deliver more personalised customer experiences with open banking, while fintech companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to deliver data-driven budget planning, credit lending, and risk management, pushing the limits of what we assume a financial institution can do.
With the global pandemic keeping banking customers at home and spurring migration out of heavily populated urban centers, edge computing has become one of the foundational computing paradigms underpinning this technological revolution in financial services. According to GlobalData, however, the industry predicted to see the biggest impact of edge computing moving forward is banking.
In a nutshell, edge computing brings computing power and storage closer to anywhere the customer might be, improving response times and saving bandwidth. The origins of edge computing began with content delivery networks in the early days of the internet. Edge servers were deployed inside remote data centres close to users so that web and video content could reach user screens faster. Now that almost all businesses are digital businesses, a myriad of applications run on edge servers. Forming that bridge between banks and their customers, edge computing is set to change how we bank in the future.
With edge technology, banks leverage AI and ML to implement chatbots that respond to customer queries, without needing to rely on staff, and suggest personalised product and service recommendations on the spot. Banks also use edge technology at ATMs and remote branches. For example, edge computing enables banks to deploy Internet of Things (IoT) based robots, like HSBC’s Pepper, which uses AI and ML to deliver unique customer experiences, reduce customer waiting times and present the information as needed by the customer.
As Acuity Knowledge Partner details, edge computing enables banks to implement real-time fraud detection mechanisms at the transaction level, where most fraud cases can be detected. Not only does this protect the customer’s money, but it also protects the bank’s reputation and ensures regulatory compliance.
As banks embrace these important use cases of edge computing for their customers, it’s critical for their IT teams to have a well thought-out strategy for how customer data in the cloud, on-premises infrastructure, data centres, and their network’s edge are all connected.
Bridging the connections
What banks need is the “bridge” that connects the branch locations, access to the cloud, bank employees and their customers, easily and securely. Opting for a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) with virtual edge computing enables banks to easily connect and automate connectivity between branches, data centres, and the cloud. It also means connections can be deployed within minutes, not weeks or months – ensuring data can be quickly processed and transferred to where it needs to be.
As banks meet their customers at the edge, ensuring private connections that reduce exposure of customer data to the cybersecurity risks of the public internet will be crucial too. As personal data moves from the cloud or from the data centres to the network edge and back, using a secure and private network will be non-negotiable.
IT teams will need to ensure their network architecture can cover the many locations their customers are banking from. Seeking a connectivity solution with an expansive footprint in both major metros around the world and remote edge locations will be important to both unify and simplify a financial institution’s cloud-enabled network, while improving application performance for their customers.
To stay ahead and attract new customers, the banking industry will need to think about how they can meet their customer’s needs by leveraging the edge to deliver quicker, more secure and personalised customer experiences. But before this, they’ll need to ensure connectivity is at the forefront of this movement towards the edge. Making sure that data from the cloud or the data centre can be easily pulled by applications running at the network edge is a must. Only then will this allow the banking experience to be taken to the next level that the network edge promises.