India, along with the rest of the world, is witnessing a Fintech revolution. Startups as well as established players in finance and banking are adopting emerging technologies and making them a core component of their business. These emerging technologies, like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and Mixed Reality are enabling innovation in the Finance sector at an unprecedented scale. Together, they are helping create a future where earning, managing, and spending your money is an intelligent, immersive and convenient experience.
Interactive Bank Card is a solution which leverages Mixed Reality and Computer Vision to transform the way consumers use their Credit/Debit/Membership cards. At its simplest, Interactive Cards allow banks and institutions to deliver interactive content to users. The content delivery is usually triggered by scanning an Interactive Bank Card, and the interactivity is powered by a Mixed Reality application, either as a smartphone application or through a mobile browser.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video, even more. So here is a video that demonstrates how Interactive Cards work in practice.
Table of Contents
Like any emerging technology, the term Interactive Card evokes multiple responses. There are several different products being marketed under the name of Interactive Cards. The two most common product lines are:
a) IOT based Interactive Card
These cards are controlled by onboard, embedded microprocessors. Near Field Communication Sensors, Buttons, LEDs etc are usually an integral part of this card. IoT based interactive cards implement simple control mechanisms using the on board processors, and can be used to perform simple choices and selections. An example of IoT based Interactive Card is featured in this video
IoT based Interactive Cards are self controlled, and do not require an additional mobile application to operate. They allow the user to perform basic selections and choices, and can convey information using LEDs/ small displays. They are pretty similar to mini computers, with a limited functionality.
On the other hand, IoT cards can implement a limited set of features. The content and information served to the user cannot be modified on the fly. They also do not provide location based, or immersive content, to the user.
b) Augmented Reality based Interactive Cards
Augmented Reality based Interactive Cards are similar to regular bank cards,except they include a QR code/encoded image printed on them. This QR code/image can be scanned from a mobile application to unlock content/information in Augmented Reality.
The advantage of Augmented Reality based Interactive Cards is the rich variety of media and content it can support. They also leverage smartphone features like geolocation and motion sensor to deliver immersive, highly relevant content and information. Besides, the Augmented Reality experience thus generated is vastly superior, and way more interactive than IoT based Internet cards.
The disadvantage is that they cannot function separately. The user needs a smartphone, with decent hardware and internet connectivity to be able to use them.
At this time, Interactive Cards appear little more than entertaining objects for users to interact with in a fun way. However, adopting Interactive Cards into the core banking process has several tangible benefits. Notable among these are:
a) Ease of access
Authenticating users and transactions is an inconvenient, albeit necessary step of any transaction. Passwords and PIN numbers can be used alongside fingerprint and face unlock options for authentication. However, none of these methods implement the security inherent in the possession of a physical piece of authentication data.
With Interactive Cards, information needed for authentication can be securely hidden in a picture/ marker on the card. This picture can be designed in such a way that a normal photograph isn’t able to replicate the secure information. However, the Interactive Card application is able to extract and decipher the information stored within the picture. ( This technique is known as Steganography)
Thus Interactive Cards can replace the need for passwords and PINs for authentication. Users in possession of an Interactive Card can point their phone camera and scan the card to authenticate themselves. Interactive Card based authentication can be used in addition to passwords and PINs for a more enhanced, secure two factor authentication.
b) Enhanced and Interactive UI
There is only so much improvement you can make to the User Interface and Experience when you are limited to a 2D mobile phone screen.
The modern smartphone user is attention starved. With so many apps and media outlets competing for his attention, you must offer a superlative UI/UX to get him to use, and love your app. Interactive Cards can infuse the much needed layer of interactivity and novelty which would attract and retain your users.
Interactive cards allow you to create an immersive User Experience, and complement it with rich media types, including audio, video, images and 3D animations. These objects can come together and further enhance the UX through clever use ot Augmented Reality, Location Sensing and Computer Vision. Taken together, these technologies allow you to design and deliver a superlative user experience and create innovative ways to serve your users.
c) Smooth, quick access to services and information
Our digital lives are becoming more complex, and so are the apps in our mobile phones.For the discerning user, quickly accessing a needed feature in an application is vital. At the same time, the rising number of features and services offered by mobile applications make it difficult for him to quickly find the relevant feature/service. The user tends to get lost in a confusing collection of menus and options
Customer support is one solution to this problem. However, customer support is expensive and does not scale easily.
Interactive card simplifies this process and makes it easier for the user to access relevant information/features, without getting lost in a myriad of complex menus or customer support conversations. Just launch the app and point your camera, and the information/ feature is instantly available.
d) Other features
These are the most common cases where Interactive Cards add tremendous value to the user and the business. Depending on industry specific applications, Interactive Cards can be used to deliver a myriad of services and experiences, all of which rival traditional solutions.
Using an interactive card is a simple, 3 step experience Put simply, you
- Launch the Interactive App on your smartphone
- Point your camera at the interactive card
- Interact with the elements that appear using a variety of input methods
The input methods to interact with the elements could involve:
- Point and click
- Drag and Drop
- Double tap
- Click and hold
Besides touch gestures, you can also interact with the elements of the card in the following ways:
- Moving your phone screen relative to the card’s position
For eg. for a video overlaid on top of the card, the viewing angle could change as you tilt your phone relative to the card’s surace. Example on this video
- Moving your phone relative to the 3D elements of the card
For eg. for a 3D model of a chart/mascot appearing on top of the card, moving your phone around could hide the back view of the model, and display the frontal half of the 3D model. Example in this video
- Your phone’s direction/ orientation
For eg. for an Augmented Reality navigation arrow superimposed on top of the card, the direction in which the arrow is pointing could change as you change your phone’s spatial/ direction orientation.
- Ambient light intensity
For eg. the brightness of a chart superimposed on a card could increase, as the intensity of the ambient light around you increases. Alternatively, specific animations, media objects and interactions could be triggered by the ambient light intensity.
These are just a few ways to interact with an Interactive Card. As long as a gesture/physical variable can be sensed by smartphone, it can be used to interact with the content on an Interactive Card.
The modern businesses are hyperlocal. Today’s consumers heavily rely on GPS and mobile location to discover new businesses and services. Often though, finding relevant services nearby is a cumbersome, long experience. For e.g., to find nearby ATMs, users have to access a GPS/Maps application, choose the type of business they are searching for, select the nearest establishment, then enable navigation through the GPS app.
With Interactive Cards, navigation and discovery can be implemented in Mixed Reality, perfectly superimposed on the outside world. The multi step process of using a GPS app can be replaced by the simple act of pointing your phone camera at the card. Not only does this simply the navigation process, it also augments it, leading to a vastly superior User Experience.
As humans, we are not equipped to deal with large numbers. Visualizations help us understand and contextualize our behavior. But if a user wants to visualize and analyze his banking activity on his smartphone, he is out of luck. Despite the widespread adoption of banking and finance mobile apps, data visualization, particularly interactive is basically impossible on the smartphone. Various factors, such as the smaller screen size, resolution and hardware capabilities contribute to it.
With Interactive Bank Cards, data visualizations can be presented using Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. This makes accessing and interacting with data a pleasant, informative and joyful experience. Charts, graphs, images and other media types can be projected in interactive 3D, using the Interactive Card as the base. The user can effortlessly interact with them through a mobile app interface.
c ) Payment
Despite its convenience and speed, mobile payments still require the additional step of adding beneficiaries before initiating payment. QR codes have mitigated this problem to an extent, but QR codes aren’t aesthetically pleasing.
With Interactive Cards, payment information can be shared in a manner similar to QR code, without sacrificing on the visual appeal of the card. The payment information can be encoded in any existing image/card without the need to generate a separate QR code.
Imagine, if instead of sharing your bank account/ mobile wallet details, you simply handover your Interactive Business Card. Payments and money transfers become a simple matter of pointing your camera at the card.
These are just a few examples. Click here to read 8 more ways how Interactive Cards can help you delight your customers
Interactive cards do not exist in a vacuum. They have several other advantages that existing solutions lack, and can be used to complement these existing solutions.
a) Digital Cards
Functionally, a digital card is just another digital widget. Its functionality can easily be replicated by a web page, or an application feature. They are relatively easy to set up, and work without the need for additional physical hardware.
On the other hand, digital cards do not leverage any immersive augmented reality features. They can be used to deliver only a limited set of media, and cannot be used for authentication on mobile apps using a physical cards. Interactive card solves these problems effectively.
b) Banking Apps
As discussed above, banking apps are a functional extension of digital cards, and suffer from the same set of limitations.
Interactive cards can empower banking apps with immersive, location based media delivery and physical card based authentication.
Besides the limitations suffered by banking apps and digital cards, websites face another limitation - the limited implementation of Mixed and Augmented Reality features on the mobile browser.
Interactive card based applications can leverage better physical hardware optimization, native smartphone features and a host of other services to create experiences, which would be impossible to implement within a web browser.
d) Contactless payments
Currently, contactless payments are implemented in two ways - either using an embedded Near Field Communication (NFC) chip on a mobile device, such as Apple Pay, or by using Debit/Credit cards with NFC chips.
Both these paradigms suffer from the lack of interactivity and immersion. Besides media and content delivery, Interactive cards can be used to implement an additional layer of security and authentication on top of the existing networks.
The current authentication mechanism for credit/debit cards and mobile apps are completely separated. A One Time Password (OTP) can be used to bridge these two systems. Interactive cards can also be used to merge these systems together, thereby boosting the system’s security and robustness.
Some of the most common questions about Interactive Card include
- How is this different from a QR code?
- Will my data be secure?
- Can this work with existing mobile applications?
- How is this different from a QR code?
Interactive cards are quite different from QR codes. QR codes merely serve as a marker/reference to lead the user to another web page. Interactive cards are used to deliver a full scale Mixed Reality experience, right from the app itself. The visual elements on the card are used as a base for the Mixed Reality experience, and the card serves as a virtual platform for the Mixed Reality elements.
- Will my data be secure?
The user’s data is fully secure. Only the data that the user/application authorises can be stored and transmitted using Interactive cards. Any data transmitted and stored is fully encrypted. Optionally, for enterprise grade security, we can also provide a cloud based solution, hosted entirely by the application provider/ bank itself, thereby alleviating any security/privacy/compliance concerns.
- Can this work with existing mobile applications?
WOWSOME Interactive Card functionality can be integrated with any existing mobile application on the Android and iOS platforms. Banks and firms can deliver an immersive experience to their existing user-base, with our Software Development Kit.
We answer all these questions and many more, in our blog post on Frequently Asked Questions about Interactive Bank Cards.
Summing it Up
Interactive cards serve as a versatile new medium of engagement and communication. They maintain the familiar, tactile user experience of physical cards, while leveraging the best features of digital technology. Businesses can create a variety of immersive experiences for their customers using Interactive Cards, and easily deploy them on mobile smartphone systems. Interactive cards can plug into the wider ecosystem of e commerce, payments, customer service and navigation, and significantly improve the User Experience, and the business bottom line.