Ethan Li

Project Manager

Bank 3.0 : What’s the Holdup?

Challenges bank might face to hold back technology innovation

Nowadays people are getting used to use bank service via all kinds of digital channels, such as online websites or apps. Bank 3.0 is an inevitable trend as the evolving of technological advancements. Instead of walking into a physical bank branch, waiting in a long line to open an account or deposit money, consumers use banking services much like they shop online. From bank management’s perspective, moving toward digital services could also help to branch out touch points of reaching more customers but reducing operating costs.

However, what are the constraints to hold back the innovation of bank 3.0? Following are some unspoken challenges:

  1. High IT security requirements: The requirement of accurate financial numbers, near real-time system updating frequency, and high firewall security in banking industry is much higher than other businesses. Bank IT departments tend to be very cautious of any new upgrade within its current operating system. They will ask for formal documentation to thoroughly understand technical details before rolling out to the organization, which will help reduce unexpected “surprise” and ensure compatibility with existing technology after implementation.
  2. Paradigm shift in mindset: Besides technical issues, the mindset of some managers remains traditional. Some are unwilling to embrace the digital banking concept. It’s difficult to transform the whole organization immediately. Evangelizing the old schools gently about the new trend could be the best way to convert people.
  3. Organizational politics: It’s never easy for an enterprise to develop new processes across multiple divisions without a long painful transition. The larger the organization is, the tougher the change would be. Therefore, how to implement the new technology smoothly is truly a leadership challenge internally that solution providers could do little as an outsider.
Ethan Li

Project Manager

Retail : Leveraging the Customer’s Line of Sight

Technoloy helps to avoid bad decisions in new site selection

“Location, Location, Location.” All real estate agents understand that location plays such an important role in the property value. Advertisers care about the visibility of billboards and signs in different locations. Telecom companies search for optimal sites to build cell towers to maximize the 3G/4G coverage. It involves not only two-dimensional geographic space on maps, but also whether buildings, trees, or mountains will obstruct the view or signal in the three-dimensional reality.    

Traditionally, retail franchise business relies on the local knowledge of real estate agencies for site selection. They probably will use scorecard to evaluate the visibility based on the field team feedback and customer survey results. Now, an innovative way of Geographic Information System (GIS) might be helpful to assess it in seconds: Line of Sight analysis.

LOS analysis helps

Light of Sight


How does it work? The model creates a 360-degree view of 3D area which is visible from where you stand in virtual reality. You will not just see limited views in a particular angle. The secret sauce is that it could calculate all natural and urban obstacles in the surroundings, such as buildings, trees, or mountains, even considering the slope of terrain elevation in details. Initially, it was used in military operations only, including resisting ambush troops or sniper attack. Now, it is commercialized to special purposes relevant to the visibility analysis. For example, architects can analyze the views available from a large tract of land before designing any new building.

With Line of Sight analysis, investors could have a rough idea about how new urban development projects look like in the future without site visiting in person. Storekeepers would be able to forecast visibility of signboards and store exterior. It is helpful to avoid bad decisions, especially when lacking information straight from real estate agents.


Featured images :


Ethan Li

Project Manager

Success with Location-Based Mobile Marketing

Stores use geofences to push e-coupons and target nearby customers

With the omni-channel trend rising, retail and bank industries keep on looking for new ways to boost their competitiveness, and differentiate themselves with others remain traditional. Geofencing is one of key technologies practically utilized in Location Based Marketing. It is an application in a software program that uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries. Geofencing creates a virtual fence around a specific area= which could be flexibly defined based on the store catchment or ad campaign area.

How does it work? When marketing team decide to set up a campaign in high-foot traffic area for one or two months , to attract new potential customers  to visit physical stores nearby. Traditionally, marketers would hire temporary interns to distribute hardcopy flyers during rush hours. Yet they never know whether the efforts are helpful or not. With geofencing approach, marketers can easily track events results.


Push discount favors when consumers walk into certain areas

Marketers can generate a defined-radius catchment around multiple stores all at once in the very beginning. They can even freehand draw boundaries within the territory of competitors in digital maps, and then schedule better daypart together or individually, to activate the digital marketing campaign in minutes systematically. While potential customers enter these defined geofencing boundaries at the right time, either near the stores of theirs or competitors, apps with embedded SDK installed in the smartphones will trigger the pop-up banner or message. These promotion ads notify customers e-coupon or discounted products, which would lure them to walk into stores. Additionally, marketers can further calculate redemption rate precisely in terms of visit counts of customers using these e-coupons in the back-end system.

On the basis of many authentic experiments and studies, geofencing LBS advertisement drives much more cost profit ratio than the traditional flyer distribution . Therefore, it is important to consider how to apply the application in your operation and marketing campaigns.


Featured image source

originally posted to Flickr as Alone/Together

Ethan Li

Project Manager

Leverage the Best of O2O Retailing to Win Customers

Deliver the Omni-channel, consistent shopping experience

With the smartphone penetration rate rising, the customer shopping behavior in retail market has changed dramatically and impacted the traditional business model. According to a survey on online retail market in UK, mobile commerce has increased 254% between 2010 and 2011, and risen by a further 300% between 2011 and 2012. 69% of tablet owners make a purchase on their devices every month. The trend happens in emerging markets right now. Consumers have gradually adopted the new Omni-Channel shopping approaches, such as ordering from online shopping websites or App portals.

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Ethan Li

Project Manager

Mobile Banking Boom in Emerging Markets

Have you used mobiles to pay credit card bills or transfer money among accounts via any Bank App? It’s far more convenient than visiting to a bank and waiting in line at counter for these trivials. With mobile banking boom on the horizon, many banks have adopted new technology to catch up with this inevitable Bank 3.0 trend, and release their own App to attract customers.

However, you may wonder whether this trend only happens in developed countries in terms of smartphone penetration rate. How about emerging markets with plenty of unbankable population, who cannot afford expensive gadgets? Surprisingly, people there may use mobile banking services daily more often than you’d expected. Below are some of the findings.

  1. Text Banking

    It’s not only smartphones can do mobile payments, but also any outdated mobile capable of texting messages can do it via “Text Banking”, a service which allows you to quickly request or receive account information via text message.

  2. Prevalent among small businesses

    It fundamentally revolutionized how people do small businesses. For example, a fisherman in Kenya rural village used to spend days commuting between home and local market for vending in person. Now, he can deliver fish through a bus and receive payment remotely at home. It saves both time and money to nurture his business dramatically.

  3. Credibility/fraud concerns

    However, it might backfire in both personal security and credit fraud issues. How can one ensure that his/her personal transaction records, such as amount, GPS location, account number etc, in the phone log won’t be exposed accidently or intentionally from the telecom company side? On the other hand, how can the bank or telecom company prevent one from using single-use cell phones for trafficking or frauds without further credit investigation in advance?

Mobile banking is without doubt rising and popular in emerging countries now. Many NGOs or banks are probing to reach out these unbankable population. How to find a balance between financial regulations and usage convenience is the key to build a better solution locally.


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