Agile Innovation Update – November 2014

Each month we bring you the FreshMinds Agile Innovation Update. This month we’re looking at biometric authentication for payments, using wearable tech to observe reactions to adverts in real-time, the convergence of online and physical stores and banks looking to invest in innovation.

Biometric authentication for payments takes off

Apple Pay launched in the US this month, but it isn’t the only company using biometric information to authenticate payments. MasterCard has launched the world’s first fingerprint authenticated contactless payment card, following a successful pilot in Norway. The company is also looking into the viability of heartbeat authentication for payments, by teaming up with wearable technology startup, Bionym, and Royal Bank of Canada. Together the three businesses are running a trial of a payment band that uses the wearer’s heartbeat as a means of approving payment. Both applications of the technology allow consumers to make high value contactless payments in a secure and convenient manner. So will we soon be saying goodbye to PIN numbers and welcoming in a much more high-tech payment authentication method?

Wearable tech enables observation of real-time ad reactions

Saatchi and Saatchi has trialled a new form of wearable tech at its New Directors Showcase. The wristbands, which track a user’s heart rate, breathing and body temperate, were used by Saatchi and Saatchi to visualise audience reactions to a series of adverts. By tracking behavioural data in real-time the wristbands uncover emotional responses elicited by campaigns in a way that’s just not possible through traditional research. So will the wristbands take off as a means of evaluating adverts? In their current state it’s unlikely. Currently, the nature of the feedback is limited. The device simply shows where the wearer’s emotions fall between two states – calm and aroused. Therefore, this behavioural data will need to be triangulated with an exploration of the nature of the emotions elicited and the reasons for this, if it is to uncover meaningful insights. For further thoughts on the wristbands and their potential, take a look at our blog post which explores the topic in more detail.

Online and physical worlds converge as retailers look to create an omni-channel Christmas shopping experience

The lines between the online and physical world look set to blur as internet and high street retailers alike seek to meet consumer expectations for an omni-channel shopping experience this Christmas. According to the Wall Street Journal, online giant Amazon has announced plans to open its first physical store in time for Christmas in Manhattan, whilst high street retailers are integrating digital technology into the in-store environment. Harrods, for example, has introduced shoppable window displays that allow consumers to download store maps and purchase online when the store is closed. These moves signal a growing recognition amongst retailers that simply excelling online or in-store is not enough. The omni-channel nature of consumers’ purchase journeys means that retailers need to create a shopping experience that meets customer needs and helps to maintain sales in an increasingly competitive world.

Banks look to invest in innovation

New research from Efma shows that investment in innovation is on the up as banks look to protect their position against emerging competitors. The research, which saw 100 banks surveyed about their innovation agendas, revealed that 84% plan to increase their spending on innovation in the next year and 61% had established an innovation strategy, up 24% since the annual survey began in 2009. The results of this increasing commitment to innovation are already being to manifest themselves, albeit it in different ways. The past month alone has seen the news that Barclays is to run round two of its fintech accelerator programme for start-ups and that Commonwealth Bank of Australia has launched a dedicated Innovation Lab which will encourage collaboration between the bank, consumers, partners, startups and industry experts.