Agile Innovation Update – September 2015

Each month we bring you the FreshMinds Agile Innovation Update. This month we’re looking at a Kenyan bank that allows you to manage your money via social media, Amazon’s plans to establish itself in the food and drink space, the latest news on Apple’s much rumoured plans to launch a driverless car, new competition for Indian banks and Facebook’s new live video streaming tool.

Kenyan bank allows customers to manage money via social media

Kenya’s National Industrial Credit (NIC) Bank is set to bring banking to social media with plans to introduce a new functionality that will enable its customers to check their balances via social media sites and messaging apps. The service, which will be available on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp, will also allow customers to make payments and view mini statements. This is not the first partnership of its kind – both Barclays and Amex have experimented with payment by tweet in the past. But do collaborations between financial services providers and social media sites appeal to consumers at present? Or does the real value to financial services providers lie in strengthening their brand and positioning it as truly innovative?

Amazon announces grocery delivery within an hour

Amazon’s plans to establish itself in the food and drink space look to be in full swing. The company recently announced that Amazon customers in selected US cities will now be able to order and receive fresh food within the hour through its Prime Now app. The e-commerce giant is also rumoured to be testing a fast food delivery service similar to Just Eat with its employees. This looks set to be a fiercely contested market with Uber also having launched a similar service called UberEats in a limited number of cities. With competition in the food and drink space hotting up, traditional players are sure to feel the heat from new tech rivals.

The Guardian confirms Apple’s driverless car ambitions

The rumour mill has been rife for months but documents obtained by the Guardian seem to confirm what we all expected: Apple is building a driverless car. According to the newspaper, the documents suggest that the so-called Project Titan is much further along than suspected, with the company already investigating test locations in San Francisco. 

Selected Indian telcos and tech firms get the go ahead to become payment banks

A number of new banking providers look set to burst onto the scene in India and interestingly, they look nothing like your typical bank. The Reserve Bank of India has given “in-principle” approval to the requests of 11 companies – including a number of telcos and tech companies – to become payment banks. Upon receiving their full licenses (which could take up to 18 months) the companies will be able to take deposits and issue debits cards but will be restricted from lending money. The move is designed to boost financial inclusion in the country, but could competition from outside the sector be a sign of things to come in other countries?

Facebook gets in on live video streaming with its own answer to Periscope

At the start of August Facebook announced the launch of Live, its own live video streaming service. Live follows hot on the heels of similar services from Meerkat and Twitter-owned Periscope and marks Facebook’s first foray into live video streaming. The service was initially positioned as a tool for a limited number of celebrities to live stream video to their fans, but Live looks set to be rolled out to a broader selection of users later in the year. With Facebook recently announcing that it has hit the landmark of a billion users in a day, the introduction of Live looks set to accelerate the trend towards both creating and watching live video streams.