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Bank customers want video services: Telstra

Video could be a competitive differentiator for financial institutions as banks increasingly use technology to gain an edge on rivals, according to a Telstra white paper published Wednesday. Telstra is seeking to sell network management and unified communications services to banks to handle technological challenges that come with a move to videoconferencing.

"As the sector starts to slow down in terms of growth, financial institutions are looking at how to sell more and gain a greater share of wallet for all the customers they have," said Telstra industry development group general manager, Rocky Scopelliti. Banks that use video could have a competitive advantage as consumer demand rises for video, he said.

Read more in depth Telstra stories

An increase in video will require more efficient network management, an area where Telstra hopes to help, Scopelliti said. Application-assured networking "is quite critical because this enables the enterprise to manage traffic ... much more effectively across their network." In addition, unified communications also plays a part to ensure customers are connected to the right banking specialists.

Australian and New Zealand banks that have made video-related announcements include NAB, Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, ASB and Bank of New Zealand, he said.

In its study, The Digital Media Bank, Telstra interviewed 30 financial institutions in the Asia-Pacific region and surveyed a test sample of 1000 Australian adults who make financial decisions. The test sample had people from around the country and was demographically representative of the Australian population, Scopelliti said.

Telstra found that 57 per cent of the surveyed consumers showed interest in video-based financial services. In addition, "half of online Australians are already engaged with video online and about a third are using video calling," Scopelliti said.

Consumers found most appealing proposed financial services that incorporated the most video, including for interactions and broadcasting information, he said. Also, Telstra found "a 16 per cent improvement in the perceptions by consumers of the services in video form compared to other forms," he said.

Telstra found that video was particularly attractive to high-value, "mass-affluent" customers who are either white-collar workers or show potential to become ones, Scopelliti said. Consumers with children found videoconferencing particularly appealing because it saves time, he said.

Mortgage lenders, financial planners and business bankers "spend most of their time out in the field with their clients, and the ability to access those specialists" through a smartphone, tablet, PC or smart TV "and have a full video interaction with that expert provides for a much richer experience with that client," Scopelliti said. From the bank's perspective, commuting time is reduced and productivity increased, he said.

Video calling is unlikely to completely replace traditional customer calls, Scopelliti said. "The use of video is more likely going to suit the customer where they need to engage for a specialist skill set ... rather than perhaps a general inquiry."

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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