A state-owned Chinese bank has opened a branch that claims to be fully-automated, featuring a host of cutting-edge technology, including facial recognition, talking robots and virtual reality (VR).
The new branch of China Construction Bank opened in Shanghai’s Huangpu district, and has been designed with the aim of making banking more personal, convenient and efficient. The development is thought to be influenced by cashless payment systems and mobile payment apps from companies such as Tencent.
Customers visiting the bank can swipe an ID card or have their faces scanned with facial recognition to gain entry. There, a robot will greet them which can use voice recognition to answer questions. The computers inside allow customers to change currency, buy gold or transfer funds.
Investment customers can also visit the VR room, where they will be able to explore the various real estate investment properties on offer by donning a set of VR goggles.
Though the new high-tech bank drew many curious onlookers, with several customers expressing how impressed they were, and some experts, such as Joseph Atick, a biometrics expert and chairman of Identity International, who had particular praise for the facial recognition system: “Through the use of facial recognition, even without a human in the loop, the system can ensure uniqueness of the individual at the time of enrollment and can verify each time the person conducts a transaction that they are who they claim to be.”
Other experts and analysts were less convinced, saying that the automated bank offered little that could not already be delivered by an ATM or online banking services. Banking technologist Li Linfeng, who was scouting the bank for Shenzhen-based Ping An Insurance, had this to say: “When you’re exploring these technologies, you shouldn’t just pay attention to the technology itself, but how people can interact with these technologies,” Li said. “Technology has to serve us, not leave people behind.”
Further news on how immersive technology is being utilised in business will be reported on here on VRFocus.