HSBC and Samsung have partnered on a program to bring wearable technology into bank branches.HSBC/Samsung
HSBC has begun what it’s calling a first-of-its kind program to bring wearable technology into its bank branches.
The firm is piloting a program where branch bankers wear a watch allowing them to send and receive messages, or speak to colleagues using small microphones.
The pilot is a partnership with Samsung at HSBC’s flagship Fifth Avenue branch in New York City in which HSBC bankers will wear Samsung Gear S3 watches with customized software.
The idea of the program is that it will allow employees at the branch — which has three floors and lots of rooms — to be more productive by improving communication, according to Jeremy Balkin, head of innovation for HSBC’s US unit. Due to the size of the branch, its often hard to know where employees are at any given time and difficult to find them if one of their customers shows up for a meeting, or the front desk needs covering, he said.
Business Insider visited HSBC’s branch last week to check out the new wearable technology.
The watch works as a phone as well as a texting device, so that employees can message each other, or if they need to communicate directly, speak into a small microphone.
A message tells a banker when a customer is asking for him.Dakin Campbell
The hope is that using wearable technology will free branch employees from the traditional model of being tethered to a desk.
Employees can come out from behind the desk without worrying about missing a message.Dakin Campbell
The idiosyncrasies of HSBC’s branch challenged the traditional branch model: the space spans three floors, including a basement level, making it difficult for employees to keep track of each other or respond to a call to help a client who has just shown up for a meeting.
Balkin said the bank is testing to see if the technology leads to employee efficiency gains.
Bankers can send or accept messages with the push of a button.HSBC/Samsung
While the pilot has narrowly defined what tasks can be accomplished with the watches, employees have been encouraged to submit their own ideas. One idea with a lot of momentum would use the watches to keep track of steps and then design a corporate challenge around the activity. The banker in this photo came up with the idea.