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Apple Watch is here… A Jetsons' reality comes to fruition

Wearable Tech

I am bullish on wearables, there I said it, that’s out of the way. I think wearable technology and the internet of things is truly our future. What was merely a pipe dream when Hannah Barbara’s introduced the world to the futuristic family the Jetsons’ in 1962, is literally becoming a reality all around us today. And today, Apple started to take orders for the company’s first foray into the wearable category. While wearables are not new, Apple entering the ring has changed the conversation, and may have sped up the arrival of a Jetsons’ reality. So what does that mean for financial services? Here’s where I think we may be headed in the not so distant future.

I am going to skip right over the obvious features a watch can bring to the financial customer, like quick balances, account alerts, and even NFC payments. I think these items will roll out in quick succession and in most cases are already available via Pebble, Galaxy wear, Moto360 and other smart watches in the market today. So let’s jump right to the cutting edge items that are a bit further out.

  • Cash withdrawals without a phone or card - Banks are ALREADY looking at this possibility with the Apple Watch and other smart watch brands but the ease at simply requesting funds from your wrist is intriguing.
  • Geolocation reward alerts - It’s one thing to get a popup on your phone and its another thing completely to have your watch tap you as you walk by a store. While this one does make me feel rather Orwellian, big brother may be able to offer a big discount.
  • Dick Tracy payments -  As voice recognition has improved, having the ability to pay people with voice commands has to be close and with the watch it could make someone feel like they are Dick Tracy or a secret service agent. Paying your water bill will never feel cooler.
  • Geolocation bank offers - This is another Orwellian thought but what if a bank picked up that you were in a house that is on the market. The bank could shoot a message to your wrist informing you of any mortgage offers they may have available. Same would hold true if you were at a car dealership or really anywhere that is looking to sell a big ticket item. This would need some fine tuning so your significant other wouldn’t get concerned about seeing an offer for a boat loan fly across their phone.
  • Investment Advice – This is where I may start losing some of you. The primary benefits most point to today are health services of wearables, the ability to track your BP, activity and general health. What if your bank was able to also use that information to help you understand how much you may need in retirement.  It’s only a small factor but health is a driving force in your life expectancy so maybe banks could better tailor fund offerings to clients based on their health.
  • Fraud Protection – Health measures could also be used as a form of identification. A wearable and biometric authentication offering that wouldn’t allow ANY bank functionality if the heart rhythms don’t match the owners.
  • The wrist based shopping – Shopping at the grocery store may one day just involve scanning the item on your wrist, putting the item in your re-useable bag, and walking out the store. The wearable device could work as both a food scanner and a payment mechanism all in one.

So in truth, no one knows how this will all play out, but it’s fun to let your imagination run free a bit and think about the limitlessness of what’s in front of us as we move into a whole new dimension of reality. Have you placed your pre-order on the future yet?