Monday, 25 July 2016

The future of mobile (sort of)

Forget Straight Through Processing, Integration Hub and all that stuff. Yesterday I experienced the future of digital (mobile) computing: Pokemon Go!

After a 3 hour drive home I was confronted by two kids in my living room hassling me to download Pokemon Go “because all our friends have it”. So reluctantly I did, and consoled myself at least it might get them out of the house, away from their tablets and walking a bit.
And so out we went. We had to walk to our local train station where there was a “Pokemon Gym” and then to our church because we could throw some Pokemon balls at a Pokemon, capture him and then “hatch his eggs”. (I’m sure I’m getting this all wrong).

But the thing that struck me was once you’ve done it, you suddenly become aware that everybody else who is walking along the streets in a particular pose; head down, looking at their mobile – is in fact playing Pokemon Go. I counted at least 4 separate groups of people in the church yard trying to capture that elusive Pokemon. Apparently a 40 year old parent I know is the local Pokemon champion. Sad.

It’s quite a fad. Yesterday my son told me that it was on TV that some children had to be rescued by the fire service because they were stuck up a tree searching for a Pokemon.

On the technical side; it really is a good mix of GPS services, augmented reality and networked gameplay. I don’t recommend you try it! (I’m secretly a little bit gutted I had the idea of networked GPS gameplay several years ago but did nothing about it).

The world is evolving. What seems odd today (middle-aged people walking around playing games in the street) suddenly becomes the norm.

But what's the relevance to work? Here in Financial Services we're OK right? We live in a regulated environment with a high barrier to market entry, don't we?

Well, not so fast. In the UK Tandem Bank​ is launching: the second mobile only company to be granted a full UK banking license. (I'm buying some of their shares when they IPO).

Revolut has, er, revolutionised my trips abroad. Interbank foreign exchange rates, even currency trading if you're so inclined. Charge-free cash withdrawals abroad. And immediate feedback to your phone when you make that purchase abroad. I can't see that [wo]man in the currency booth at the airport lasting much longer, nor the excessive fees charged by the banks.

Also we have peer insurance with sites like Guevara.

Suddenly paper-based applications and telephone calls to change addresses feels a little, well, old.

Tech is amongst us. We need to embrace it in our professional lives, or suddenly find ourselves out in the cold. After all, the London Black Cabs was a regulated, closed market with a high barrier to entry. And then along came Uber....​

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