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Westpac testing app on Google Glass

This month Westpac plans to trial its Cash Tank app on Google Glass and introduce Apple’s iBeacon technology in its branches, the first bank in New Zealand to use the new technology.

Cash Tank allows customers to check the balance of a pre-selected account by touching a button. After the initial setup, the customer does not need to log in each time.

The app is already available on Androids, iPhones, and Sony’s Smartwatch, with Westpac expecting the Google Glass app to be fully functional later this year.

Chief digital officer Simon Pomeroy says Westpac will expand the app’s function to offer customers transfers between their bank accounts, the ability to receive account alerts and find the nearest ATM or Westpac branch.

The user wears the device, with a small display screen attached to a metal frame, over the right eye. Glass displays information and users can take photos or videos and partake in live chat.

“By the end of this year our customers will be able to walk into a shop wearing their Google Glasses, see something they like and instantly check their bank balance, which will be displayed in their peripheral vision,” Mr Pomeroy says in a statement.

iBeacon allows customers to receive special offers and other incentives on their devices when they are in shops or walk near them. It also alerts staff a customer has arrived for a pre-ordered item and can remind customers they are in a place which has items on their digital shopping lists.

The technology uses Bluetooth-enabled text alerts that show up on an iPhone user's screen when it moves near a stationary wireless transmitter (called a beacon). Beyond retail, other venues for iBeacon have included theme parks, concert venues and stadiums and restaurants.

Mr Pomeroy says Westpac aims to trial iBeacon in selected branches by the end of February. 


Comments and questions

Google, snoops, banks, financial data-mining ... it all seems to fit together so well now.

Has Westpac asked customers about wearing ugly, robotic, geek glasses? Have the unknown health effects of wearing digital tools so close to one's brain been assessed? The cell phone brain tumour risk remains a debate, after all? This is over-kill to say the least. Surely all one needs is a mobile application on the smart phone or tablet.

Surely this isn't anything to do with Westpac? They're not going to go around mailing out Google Glass to all of their customers and make them wear it.

Its use choice, so not really an issue, provided they dont let development of their smartphone app slip.

Glasses is very niche in my opionin.

I am more interested in iBeacons and I do wonder how Westpac will use them. They seem more suited to impulse decisions (20% of cloths or food) compared to significant decisions (0.25% discount/ premium on mortgages/term deposits).

It can be done so it will be done - story of every new development, be it good or bad for us.

In support of my earlier posted comment, Google itself has admitted there may be health concerns from Google glasses - quite apart from the anti-social impact.

So more kiwis will be using Google Glasses than Windows Phones?

Which it seems ASB are the only ones to have acknowledged the existance of...