Over the last five years, I’ve been closely following the embedded video and video collaboration markets and technology as it moved from a fixed-location, lower-quality, proprietary value proposition to a higher-quality, anytime-anywhere experience. I have written several articles showing how different verticals are transforming the fields of healthcare, defense, and banking. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—video is hot right now, and the tech winners will be measured in terms of quality, flexibility, and reliability. I wanted to highlight a recent banking case study between video tech leader Vidyo and their work with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).
Banking and video industries in transition
Before we get to RBC though, I wanted to again provide a little background on the current state of banking. Like many other industries, digital transformation has totally changed the game—customers are relying less and less on brick-and-mortar banks, and more and more on their ability to handle their banking needs remotely on their own personal electronic devices. While convenience has gone up, the major downside to this change has been the loss of personal relationships with bankers due to lack of face-to-face customer interaction. Chatbots just aren’t cutting it yet, either.
Video banking is a great remedy to this issue, and in a recent conversation I had with Vidyo CEO Eran Westman, he said it black and white, as video is “the fastest way to build trust and loyalty to win over customers.” But in order for it to be effective, quality over mobile is critical— there really can’t be any freezing, dropped calls, lag, and/or poor resolution nor can it require proprietary and expensive network upgrades. This is where Vidyo really shines: their technology, used by Google and even the U.S. DoD, is designed to ensure clear, high-quality, immersive communications over even the lowest of bandwidth connections—exactly the sort of quality and reliability banks like RBC are currently looking for. For obvious reasons, security is another necessity for video banking—Vidyo is one of the more secure videoconferencing options around (which I wrote about here, a while back).
Royal Bank of Canada and Vidyo: Two converge at the small business
While not quite a household name in the U.S., RBC is the leader in Canada—Canada’s largest bank ( and largest business) boasts more than 16 million clients worldwide, ranging from personal, to business, public sector, and institutional accounts. RBC is a real tech mover and shaker as they were the first in Canada to offer a digital wallet and use voice authentication.
Using Vidyo, RBC is the first bank in Canada to offer immersive, remote video chat to its small business customers across North America—at no extra cost to their clients. They understand that tech savvy SMB owners and millennials seek their dining, transportation and travel experiences online, on the go, and wanted to offer a video banking experience that fit their needs. I had the chance to talk with Cathy Honor, Senior Vice President, for Contact Centers at RBC, and came away impressed. Some may think of banks as slow to adopt tech companies, but not RBC. She said the full time from conceptualization to video enablement was 6 months. That is incredibly fast and a testament to RBC and Vidyo. Some banks can’t setup a meeting in 6 months.
At RBC, small businesses are now enabled to converse face-to-face with their banker on practically any device, including smartphone, tablet, Chromebook and computer from anywhere. RBC’s video banking service was implemented earlier this month, and is already receiving positive reviews from their customers. It’s also important to note that due to RBC’s stature and reputation as a leading bank in Canada, other regional banks are likely to follow in their footsteps in the adoption of video banking technology to “keep up with the Joneses.”
Vidyo’s services are a nice addition to RBC’s tailored approach to small business. RBC’s Honor says the video banking services are proving to be a great enhancement to their Contact Center—strengthening customer relationships with 24/7 access to advice and services, and reducing call times. Using RBC’s new video chat, customers can ask questions, book appointments, and get real-time help.
Another neat little feature RBC introduced is content sharing: their clients can now share charts, graphs, spreadsheets, and more, from within the video call. While RBC is still in the early stages of rollout, they plan to expand from small businesses into other business areas. It makes sense that RBC started with small business clients, who frequently travel, and work unconventional hours—they are prime examples of the customers that benefit the most from the convenience of these services. As for remote working, RBC’s Honor shared an interesting tidbit with me. To provide services to even traveling or remote workers in China, RBC tested their new service as far away as China to make sure the experience was up to par. I can tell you from experience, that’s not always the case in high tech solution testing.
One ongoing concern many have about digital transformation and emergent technologies such as video banking is whether or not it will affect employment. RBC is doing a good job of alleviating those concerns, emphasizing that their brick-and-mortar branches remain an important part of their presence.
Video banking is still in its nascent stages and I think Westman put it best: “In video banking there will be leaders and followers – Royal Bank of Canada is innovative, moves quickly and has a broad vision for enhancing their customer relationships.” I believe we’re going to see more and more banks of all sizes turning to Vidyo for their needs or go the way of Blockbuster. Barclays (in UK and France) launched a video banking service in 2014 focused on wealth management. Steven Cooper, CEO, personal banking, Barclays called it a “watershed moment for the way people do their banking in the UK – where we will finally be able to interact with customers completely on their terms, rather than ours.” Wealth Management, mortgage or real estate advisory services all require a high quality, reliable, easy to use video that excels over mobile- clearly banks can’t risk their most valuable customers with anything less than an amazing customer experience. While the U.S. banks appear to be laggards, as the success stories from these early adopters continue to roll in, I think the video banking industry is only going to pick up momentum.