The Bold War

Branch Kit

Hey Stuffy Traditional Bank! You just missed it…

You started navel gazing again. You always do…

You were too busy getting swept up in the excitement around Apply Pay and Apple Watch to even notice.

Yes, they are both intriguing products.

Yes, they will have a huge impact on the future of banking and payments…

But… there was something else Apple announced that could be even more impactful to your long-term business strategy…

There is a new ‘Kit’ on the scene - the Apple HomeKit – and soon it will become as synonymous with the ‘Internet of Things’ as the Kit Kat is to chocolate bars and KITT is to the Knight Rider TV series...

So what is the Apple HomeKit?

HomeKit was first announced as part of the iOS8 release in June and it received a small follow up announcement at the launch of the iPhone 6 last month.  It is a protocol for interacting with connected devices through your Apple device. In plain English this means that an iPhone owner will be able to start controlling their connected devices (garage doors, lights and heating etc) through their device directly – including Siri integration.  So by simply saying ‘Open my garage door’ as you enter your driveway, your smart garage door could open automatically. 

Besides being just plain cool… this is a huge step forward for the smart device industry…

One of the current constraints of smart devices is the requirement of a ‘one-to-one’ relationship between the end user and the end product. The end user needs to go through the laborious process of creating a link between a specific app and a specific product. In the case of Nest, the leading US connected thermostat provider; you need to download the Nest app and then connect it to your Nest Thermostat to manage it.

What Apple has done with HomeKit is to say hey, end users, you can now have a 'many-to-many' relationship with your smart devices all via your iPhone.  By introducing a protocol that will let smart devices work together through one common device, Apple can very quickly start to become the de facto ‘remote control’ for the Internet of Things.

This in the context of banking starts to open up tonnes of new use cases…

Using HomeKit, you could go to an ATM and say ‘Withdraw £300’.
You could arrive at a branch and say ‘Print my most recent statement’.

From an internal productivity perspective, banks could build apps for staff that automated basic processes.  When a staff member says ‘Arriving at work’ their computer could be turned on, a coffee could start brewing and their desk light turned on.  Putting Siri integration to the side for a second and the same actions could also be initiated with a tap of a button.

The opportunities are endless and the best part is you don’t need to download individual apps and link them to individual smart devices.

With banks investing more and more in integrating offline and online processes, it will be interesting to see what role HomeKit plays in the evolution of banking.  Whilst it may not have received the immediate plaudits of Apple Pay or Apple Watch, HomeKit could be the new product that has the biggest impact on banking in the future.

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