This past week marked the first time in Malauzai history that we presented at the Finovate conference in New York City. This year’s event showcased some of the best new technological advances in the FinTech space and it was a lot of fun. We announced our SmartwebApps and received a great reception. People were excited to see a new take on Internet banking and our statement that “Internet banking, as you know it, is dead” certainly turned a few heads. It certainly got people talking. Surprisingly, most of the feedback I received indicated that no one was surprised by the comment. Check out our Finovate video below for more information.
Internet Banking is Dead. Does it Matter?
So that got me thinking. Why, other than our demo, was Internet banking nonexistent at the conference? For a conference based on FinTech innovation, it was peculiar that there was only one Internet banking presentation to speak of. Are we to assume that innovation in Internet banking is essentially dead? Does anyone care anymore? As mobile takes over, does Internet banking really matter? While certainly some presentations focused on items tangential to IB, such as PFM functions and payments, the focus was definitely elsewhere. So where was Internet banking?
From a specifically technical perspective all of the focus was on mobile, with no sign of the Internet banking vendors actually showing Internet banking. Is the browser on its way out of the FinTech innovation picture? Our friends at MX certainly made the case for native, highlighting HTML5’s high profile “fail” stories from Facebook and LinkedIn. What was especially interesting to me, however, was how little the actual underlying technology was mentioned.
Internet Banking and the Cluttered Experience
Since we were shown apps that were clearly running in a browser, the best UIs we saw appeared to be, in fact, web UIs,. Our own introduction of SmartwebApps highlighted our approach to bringing a Mobile Only Experience, or MOX as we call it, to the stagnant world of Internet banking. Browser based UIs have progressed dramatically across the web in recent years but Internet banking has clearly not participated in that same progression. It has been weighed down by endless feature requests that have cluttered the experience at the expense of innovation. The curious part for me, seeing the UIs at Finovate, was how seamless the experiences seemed to be, specifically between mobile and web. For every great user experience we saw on mobile we were shown another great web experience that challenged the notion of web being so far behind native in terms of responsiveness and general usability.
Mobile Only Experience – Seamless Innovation
At Malauzai, we continue to bet heavily on native mobile apps. We believe they offer the best user experience possible, period. We do, however, recognize that most of a financial institution’s users are still interacting with their FI through web and have been given a sub-standard experience by Internet banking companies that doesn’t come close to matching web experiences in other areas of their lives. Given that reality and our knowledge of mobile we are bringing that same experience to the desktop. And the best part, to me, is that the conversation is moving slowly away from specific technologies to the only thing that really matters – the experience. Debates about native vs. web are giving way to a more constructive focus around experience and that’s exciting.