The keys to fighting fraud?

September 8, 2016
/   Insights

We're constantly being warned that fraud is one of the biggest threats facing the banking industry, but the true scale of this was revealed by a recent survey that suggests it could make up...

Cause and Effect: If you build it, will they come?

July 23, 2014
/   Spotlight

Many financial institutions assume that digital banking is lucrative because the most valuable customers happen to bank online. While there is certainly a correlation between online bankers and higher profitability, quantitative evidence suggests that...

Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services

April 11, 2011
/   Insights

Today, Intuit released the latest edition of the Intuit 2020 report, Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services, which identifies and examines four key trend areas that will  transform the financial services industry...

Fast Facts: Student Loans

January 22, 2013
/   Insights

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast...

The Top 10 Trends in the Digital Banking Industry

December 18, 2013
/   Spotlight

2014 is rapidly approaching and as the year wraps, the Digital Insight team has pulled together the top 10 trends in the digital banking industry based on data and trends from studying financial institutions....

Making Banking Fun: Gamification in Financial Services

August 5, 2013
/   Insights

Recently, the team sat in on American Banker’s webinar, “Gamification in Financial Services: Five Proven Ways to Get an Edge,” which shared how leading brands in financial services have applied gamification to reach...

Technology M&As: The Beats Go On

May 29, 2014
/   Insights

The ongoing fascination with Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics is entirely understandable, because it’s a cool story. However, it also says a lot about what’s going on between finance and tech.

What We’re Reading

May 5, 2011
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below. Virtual Banking Worlds Provide Tangible Lessons American...

Small Business: Perception vs. Reality

November 21, 2012
/   Insights

In the most recent election cycle, like most others before it, the one sector of the economy that got the most attention was small business.  This is the future, we were told by every...

What We’re Reading: Thanksgiving Edition

November 22, 2012
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom. Mobile Thursday? Plans for Thanksgiving...

Olympics. Technology. Banking. Innovation.

Those are not random words strung together, or an industry-friendly version of the old ‘Mad Libs.’ It actually makes perfect sense.

The Olympics are gargantuan, global and highly visible.  Boundaries collapse, currencies are exchanged, records get set and broken, cultures mingle and clash. Even people who can’t tell the difference between the pole vault and the pommel horse become engrossed. Enormous investments in time, effort and money pay off….or don’t. Years of practice go into a three-second javelin toss. Reputations are made and left behind. And it all happens under a massive spotlight: The world really is watching.

These magical few days reveal dedication, innovation, and true excellence, the best of the human spirit. And it isn’t just confined to sporting events—while the Olympics may have originated as a celebration of amateur ability, it’s also a huge commercial undertaking. And here, too, we can find true innovation.

As happens every four years, plenty of enterprises have stepped up to the plate in Brazil. Some advances are just seeing the light of day, others are being deployed on a grand scale for the first time, and hoping to find an audience elsewhere. Some of them will surely be adopted within the hallowed halls of our industry, assuming they do the job as advertised.

For example, security is the topline nightmare for all involved, and that’s why you’ll see giant balloons (that see you right back). These aerial watchdogs are Altave Omni Aerostats, and they carry high-resolution cameras that miss nothing. The technology is truly spectacular—among other features, the 120 MPixel per frame means it offers 60 times a full HD resolution, up to six users can watch different parts of the captured image, each performing independent pan, tilt  and zoom functions.

Meanwhile, the sprawling action on the ground is being ably supported by operations in the cloud.  These are the first Olympics in which functions such as volunteer activities and credential management are being hosted on a private cloud, which comes courtesy telecom provider Embratel. The scale is impressive: The Backbone Olímpico Embratel network features more than 230 miles of fiber optics with forty Gigabits per second speed, connecting more than 60,000 network access point across 100-plus venues. And if all goes well this time, the 2020 Games will be entirely cloud-based.

But here’s the one we really like: Contactless mobile payments of the Near-Field Communications (NFC) variety.

At the Games, Visa has rolled out a payment ring that allows Team Visa athletes to buy products by tapping it against any NFC-compatible terminal. The credit card conglomerate, which is the exclusive payments provider at the Paralympic and Olympic Games, has also joined forces with Swatch to launch an NFC-enabled watch.  This nifty wearable computer—yes, that’s really what it is—enables the user to pre-load funds into an associated bank account, and thereafter make purchases with absolute ease.  Moreover, the Swatch Bellamy watch isn’t just for Olympic-caliber athletes; it’s being rolled out to Brazilian consumers everywhere. Finally, Visa has teamed up with Brazilian bank Bradesco to roll out the NFC-enabled Pulseira Bradesco Visa band. This particular option is being tested with select fans for use at 4,000-plus Visa-enabled contactless terminals around Rio.

We’ve been talking about contactless payments for a long time, and there’s general agreement that no single product launch or other event will drive mass adoption; instead, it will be a gradual evolution in usage growth.  It’s a long journey, with interesting milestones along the way. The 2016 Olympics could be exactly that type of marker.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


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James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.

Brad Strothkamp

Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.