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Why banks must go biometric

Banks will need to rely on new solutions that leverage facial algorithms and 3-D image detection, writes LANCE FANAROFF of iiDENTIFii

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As South Africa’s banking sector embarks upon digital transformation and the shift to branchless banking, cyber security and fraud prevention will have to be top of mind. Indeed, while the race to provide quick and efficient mobile banking solutions is driving innovation, it also creates new opportunities for shrewd cyber criminals and hackers. As it stands, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) reported that in 2018 digital banking fraud across all platforms resulted in over R262 million in losses, with the number of incidents increasing over 75%.

In the face of this challenge, many banks are being forced to rethink their security procedures – while also balancing increasing consumer demand for a mobile and friction-free banking experience. Today, the growing pressure to strike this balance has been driving increasing adoption of biometric technology solutions amongst banks and other financial institutions. Put simply, biometrics refers to the use of technology to identify a person based on some aspect of their biology.

While the use of biometrics used to be limited to governments and high security environments, rapid advancements in the technology – coupled with increasing smartphone penetration – are making biometric solutions ever more attractive (and accessible) for banks looking to digitize their processes. Indeed, by harnessing the sophisticated cameras, sensors and rich applications that smartphones now offer, banks can explore new solutions that meet customer demands for mobile, quick and engaging banking capabilities. 

One such example is remote on-boarding: by using advanced biometric digital authentication technology platforms, savvy banks can now enable new customers to open accounts and begin transacting without having to go into a branch and submit reams of paperwork. This type of capability will arguably become more and more important as banks compete to win market share amongst demanding, digitally savvy young customers. 

‘Liveness’ detection is key

While interest and investment in biometric authentication technology is rising in line with rapid digitization, it is imperative that banks choose robust solutions. When harnessing biometric technology to prevent fraud, the key element is liveness detection: the ability to determine whether the source of a biometric sample is a live human being or a fake representation. Today, many banks and organisations are using gesture-based biometric techniques. This is problematic and represents a security vulnerability because this technology is quite easily spoofed and/or hacked. 

With this in mind, it is critical that banks explore newer and more advanced biometric authentication solutions that have more sophisticated liveness detection capabilities. For example, there are new solutions that leverage facial algorithms and 3-D image detection – thereby achieving accurate proof of liveness with a facial recognition system that is multiple times harder to spoof. 

Balancing innovation with efficient processes  

In addition to choosing a biometric authentication solution that is current and leading edge, banks and organisations have to ensure that implementation is managed correctly. This is key to ensuring that the solution is safe and robust, as well as enabling a smooth end user experience. When harnessing biometric on-boarding solutions in particular, it is critical that the customer experience is as seamless and friction-less as possible – thereby supporting the broader move to efficient, digitised, branchless banking. 

Internally, banks should place strong emphasis on the process flow – which requires having skilled managers in place to guide the integration of new biometric solutions within existing infrastructure. Similarly, banks have to choose their technology partners very carefully, and drive a transparent, highly engaged partnership to ensure that biometrics are integrated in the most agile and efficient way. There is inevitably a great deal of governance, administration and red tape involved in any rollout – so it is imperative that every key stakeholder is engaged and supportive of the integration process.  

Notably, the right technology partner should also advise on the most recent advancements and trends within biometric authentication and fraud prevention that are impacting the global financial services sphere. For example, as customer databases become more important and serve as competitive differentiators, banks should explore blockchain technology as a way of securing highly sensitive biometric data. Looking ahead, biometric databases will need to be impenetrable – and blockchain technology can arguably fulfil this requirement while also supporting ongoing innovation within banking. 

Embracing a future-proof security solution

There is no doubt that the digital race is on: banks are now competing to win the loyalty of increasingly fickle, demanding and digitally native customers. The winners will almost certainly be the banking providers who can effectively balance the need for mobility and convenience with robust security and sophisticated fraud prevention. Today, biometric authentication technology is proving to be one of the most reliable ways of achieving this balance, and will potentially become even more integral to banking security in the years to come. 

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Projection tech transforms retail

By TIMOTHY WILSON, visual imaging business account manager at Epson South Africa

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Display designs, such as those found in retail stores, are no longer confined to static visuals on pull-up banners, 2D print and posters. The increasingly popular use of projection technology has ushered in new and exciting ways to create immersive displays using rich media and high-quality visual content to go beyond the four walls of traditional marketing.

In the past, projectors were lamp-based and prone to failure when used in a harsh environment, such as a retail store. Today, newly introduced laser projection technology has unlocked a range of capabilities.

Transforming the way brands engage with audiences

Creative techniques such as projection mapping, which can be described as the projection of video, animation and other colourful displays onto 3D surfaces, have completely transformed the way brands engage with audiences and can live in retail spaces, concert halls and even sports stadiums.

Projection mapping offers venues wide-spread creativity in using lighting in small or large environments, as was the case with Epson’s showstopping kinetic portal, which implemented projection mapping on a 360 degree vortex at the largest AV and systems integration show in the world – Integrated Systems Europe 2019. Driven by a new, affordable generation of projectors, mapping not only covers flat walls and traditional projections screens but also irregular shapes, objects, and even entire building façades.

When projecting on a larger scale, such as at events and music concerts, the process of visually combining several projectors to display one single seamless image might sound simple enough in principle but can prove to be a challenging task in reality. To overcome this challenge, experiential marketers are adopting the use of image edge blending, which refers to the process of stacking multiple projectors to create a single overlapped projection that appears continuous and clear.

It’s due to these advancements that displays in retail and events no longer pivot just on aesthetic appeal but can now deliver immersive consumer experiences that drive engagement and increase foot traffic. This is starting to drastically change the way that retailers, events and even restaurants host, engage, entertain and communicate with their audiences.

Projection is driving growth in experiential marketing

Consumer interest in the transition towards projection has seen this technology take centre stage at leading retailers such as Mall of Africa, events by brands such as ABSA and restaurants like Saint, transforming their environments into immersive spaces through projection that displays captivating imagery and video.

Saint restaurant in Sandton has pushed the boundaries of branding and displays, transforming all surfaces into a visual delight. Patrons entering the restaurant are greeted by a visual experience within a dome, featuring a series of moving, constantly changing artworks – such as a starry night sky or a replica of the Sistine Chapel – projected onto walls and the ceiling.

In fact, EventTrack research, which showcases the current state of marketing around the globe, highlights the continuous growth of event and experiential marketing. It notes that high-quality projection technology, more specifically its ability to emit stunning visual experiences, has grown in popularity to become the go-to tool for event organisers and retailers looking to captivate and engage with consumers.

The future of projection technology

Projection technology has proven to be an outstanding, much more cost-effective and reliable form of marketing collateral – setting an entirely new standard for high-resolution projection.

Sandton City recently embraced this market-leading technology with the installation of a virtual aquarium in its Centre Court. This installation centred on creating a 3D mapping concept that enabled shoppers to select an undersea creature from a touchpad to swim across digitised hoarding.

With capabilities to meet the demands of large-scale projection and the ability to effectively transform the way brands remain visible at shopping malls, restaurants and retail spaces – the unprecedented imaging power of projection technology has set a considerably high bar when it comes to retail and event displays. 

Epson, which is not only pioneering imaging technology and innovative projection solutions, is also the market leader when it comes to high lumen laser projection, having recently announced its 30,000 lumens laser projector (EB-L30000U) which will officially launch in 2020. This high-end installation laser projector, complete with 4K enhancement, is aimed at rental and staging companies, hospitality markets and visitor attractions, which is yet another progressive step towards transforming the way marketers engage with their consumers in the 21st century. 

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GoFundMe hits R9bn in donations for people and causes

The world’s largest social fundraising platform has announced that Its community has made more than 120-million donations

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GoFundMe this week released its annual Year in Giving report, revealing that its community has donated more than 120-million times, raising over $9-billion for people, causes, and organisations since the company’s founding in 2010.

In a letter to the GoFundMe community, CEO Rob Solomon emphasised how GoFundMe witnesses not only the good in people worldwide, but their generosity and their action every day.

“As we enter a new decade, GoFundMe is committed to spreading compassion and empathy through our platform,” said Solomon in the letter. “Together, we can bring more good into the world and unlock the power of global giving.”

The GoFundMe giving community continues to grow with both repeat donors and new donors. In fact, nearly 60% of donors were new this year. After someone makes a donation, they continue to engage with the community and give to multiple causes. In fact, one passionate individual donated 293 times to 234 different fundraisers in this past year alone. Donations are made every second, ranging from $5 to $50,000. This year, more than 40% of donations were under $50.

GoFundMe continues to be a mirror of current events across the globe. This year, young changemakers started the Fridays for Futuremovement to fight climate change, which led to a 60% increase in fundraiser descriptions mentioning ‘climate change’. Additionally, the community rallied together to support one another during natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian and the California wildfires, where thousands of fundraisers were started to help those in need.

The report includes a snapshot of giving trends from the year based on global GoFundMe data. It also includes company milestones from 2019, such as launching the company’s non-profit and advocacy arm, GoFundMe.org, and introducing GoFundMe Charity, which provides enterprise software with no subscription fees or contracts to charities of every size.

Highlights from GoFundMe’s 2019 Year in Giving report include:

  • Global giving trends and data
  • Top 10 most generous countries
  • Top 10 most generous U.S. states and cities
  • Biggest moments in 2019

To view the entire report, visit: www.gofundme.com/2019

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