How Verizon is Reinventing Fintech with 5G and MEC

Anil Guntapalli

With financial services industry facing pressure on adapting to new social conditions – they always look for delivering secured and elevated customer experience. Taking a cue from this need, Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband and mobile edge computing (MEC) can help institutions reinvent customer experience, enhance productivity and stay at the forefront of these challenges.

Anil Guntapalli, Executive Director Technology Strategy, Architecture & Innovation at Verizon speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDive.com about 5G, MEC and how it can reinvent fintech.

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How will 5G and MEC reinvent fintech and what is the role of Verizon here?

The financial service industry faces increasing pressures around adapting to new social conditions, staying cyber resilient and enhancing the customer experience. Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband and mobile edge computing (MEC) can help institutions stay at the forefront of these challenges enabling highly secure, near real-time connectivity that will make new financial solutions and services possible.

We are seeing financial institutions who are Verizon customers trying to move services to the cloud, democratizing access to payment technologies. Today banks invest millions in maintaining ATMs as we still are a cash economy. If you consider virtual ATMs with facial recognition, the processing is done at the edge on a pool of servers, and you don’t have to invest millions of dollars. These ATMs can be managed centrally with updates, security and processing. MEC and 5G would be the perfect enablers for such use cases.

Verizon’s role is at the heart of this innovation – setting up the infrastructure and providing the reliable 5G network that provides ultra-low latency, super fast speeds and the massive bandwidth needed to enable applications like virtual assistance, AI-enabled investment management and account security features.

Anyone who has checked their account balance on their smartphone, tapped a sensor with their wearable to complete a purchase or reported a fraudulent charge through a mobile app knows that wireless technology has propelled the banking experience well beyond the teller window. Mobile banking applications are skyrocketing. At its most basic level, a 5G network should improve these apps’ speed, security and ease of use. Applications driven by 5G can support more agile branch networks, two-way video and more secure transfer of data.

5G provides benefits in fintech from both a consumer and institutional perspective. For consumers it’s as simple as making it easier to interact with the bank of their choice and in certain situations, can even eliminate the hassle of going in person. 5G can streamline customer service and supercharge real-time transactions. From chatbots to conversational banking to VR tellers, 5G has the potential to bring previously unimaginable intelligence to self-service banking, while also freeing up employees to focus on higher-touch tasks with the consumer.

For financial institutions, the power of 5G can develop new revenue opportunities, and reduce overall costs while shifting the allocation of those costs within the bank. With 5G, banks can also update and enhance mobile security in near-real time, and suspicious transactions can be flagged more rapidly via geolocation, charge amount and merchant ID, potentially reducing credit card fraud.

How do you look at the future of Smart branches for BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance)?

Smart branches can leverage the benefits 5G and MEC provide to enable real-time branch operations with more nimble infrastructure. Banks will be able to more efficiently collect data from the user at the edge of the network and move it to a secure data center which is accessible to financial workers in near-real time.

Using 5G and MEC, an interactive teller machine can give customers a more personalized banking experience. Picture interacting with a humanized AI virtual assistant located at a kiosk who can interact and respond to unique customer questions using voice and video. These digital tellers would be able to answer questions, read emotions and estimate customer satisfaction in near real time. This could improve branch profitability and customer engagement.

Overall, by implementing 5G and MEC, smart branches can provide faster, more accessible and personalized services for every customer regardless of location and language preference thanks to the simultaneous language translation that is made possible by 5G’s remote processing power.

What is the future of blockchain-based innovations in such a 5G and MEC scenario? 

Blockchain technology has become a staple in financial services the last few years. Known for securely storing sensitive information such as ledgers containing orders, payments, and more, 5G and MEC are poised to enhance blockchain capabilities, innovating its uses and expanding it to new industries.

Distributed ledger technology will act as a catalyst for disruption on a global scale and blockchain-based solutions are currently being developed and applied within several industries, such as the supply chain, healthcare, financial, and legal sectors. Due to its immutability, transparency and ability to eliminate the need for trust between transacting parties, blockchain allows for a more secure and decentralized method for the transaction of assets.  As performance, latency and scalability becomes a more key enabler for mainstream adoption of blockchain technology, developers and engineers will look for compute at the edge and secure networks like Verizon.

How can real-time predictive analytics drive better BFSI customer experience in the 5G era?

A positive customer experience is about more than just speed – it is about understanding that specific customer and adjusting to their preferences and needs. Banks can take advantage of real-time predictive analytics to anticipate customers’ needs. By recording patterns and analyzing what customers share within the data, they can develop solutions that result in better customer experiences. This analysis is then stored in a central database and will inform the smart branch’s next interaction with said customer to ensure satisfaction.

How can 5G networks power Work-from-home trading environments that enable firms to offer full customer services in today’s new work normal? 

In addition to innovating the on-site experience, 5G and MEC can power work-from-home trading environments by providing customers with the low latency, security and high bandwidth needed for transactions that take place in a work-from-home trading environment.

Routing trades to a bank’s data center to check compliance adds latency or lag slowing down the process. By enforcing trading compliance on the MEC closer to the trader instead of the corporate data center, trades can be executed faster whether on the go or at home. This way the bank datacenter is only engaged to record the transaction.

What is the go to market strategy that Verizon has for BFSI segment?

As fintech continues to drive improvements in the banking industry in the months and years ahead, Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband and MEC could be key in helping people invest more wisely, spend more confidently and easily make their money work for them,

For financial institutions, 5G and MEC can help deliver new market leading client experiences. Companies can acquire near real-time capabilities in payments, insurance risk monitoring, digital and physical threat detection and more. Further, it could help attract top talent helping to recruit employees who want to work for a firm that uses the latest technologies and services.

For institutions, looking to implement 5G, the next year is the time to learn more about the technology, speak to telecom providers, and develop a strategic plan to propel their business forward.