Westpac to use Apple’s iBeacon technology in branches and trial Cash Tank app on Google Glass

Westpac to use Apple’s iBeacon technology in branches and trial Cash Tank app on Google Glass

By Gareth Vaughan

Westpac is introducing Apple's iBeacon technology into its branches and trialling its Cash Tank smartphone application, which allows customers to get their account balance without having to log in, on Google Glass.

The Cash Tank app trial on Google Glass, a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display, is underway, Westpac's chief digital officer Simon Pomeroy says, meaning it'll be "fully functioning" when Google Glass is expected to be available in New Zealand later in 2014. And, Pomeroy says, Westpac's the first New Zealand bank to use Apple's new "frontier technology" iBeacon.

"2014 is poised globally to be the year of wearable technology and Westpac is intent on making services available on all new technology platforms that customers adopt," says Pomeroy.

With Google Glass the user wears the device, a mini display screen attached to a metal glasses frame, over their right eye. Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format, is GPS enabled and users can take photos or videos, and take part 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 - that’s pretty cool,” Pomeroy says.

Westpac also plans to offer customers transfers between their bank accounts, the ability to receive account alerts and enable them to find the nearest ATM or Westpac branch.

According to The Guardian, iBeacon lets businesses set up transmitters which can tell nearby smartphones of their presence. This means shops, or bank branches, can send customers special offers, and prepare pre-ordered items for pickup the minute someone comes through the door reducing queuing.

Pomeroy says iBeacon will enable Westpac to send customers special offers and other incentives when they are in or walk past a branch that's using the technology.

"It also alerts staff that a customer has arrived for a pre-ordered item and can remind the customer that they are in a place that has an item on their digital shopping list. The uses for iBeacon go way beyond retail and has worked with theme parks, concert venues and stadiums, as well as restaurants and car companies," says Pomeroy.

 “We’re hoping to be trialling iBeacon in selected branches by the end of February."

Westpac has the stated aim of being both New Zealand's, and the the world's, best digital bank.

See more on Google Glass here and see more on iBeacon here.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

3 Comments

Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

Bankers trying to be hipsters. It's not a pretty combination...  you know it's time to sell your tech shares when this happens!  : )
I'm sure it is worthy - as ususal with any new tech, it gets overestimated in its short term value adn underestimated in the long term. I think a glass app that flashes up real time mortgage rates whilst negotiating with the bank/hipsters would be much more useful.

An effort to have folk use 1's and 0's brought to you by wpac, rather than comfort of notes and coinage minted by ours truly. .. (rbnz).

We might as well be swapping shells... = or promises of shells....

Remember when one questioned Fred.
Mr Dagg isn't there an element of greed here.
Reply: Oh yes, we are all agreed...

It seems like so many companies are trying tp push more ads.  While localized and "aware" ads are neat, they have the possibility of being too much.  iBeacons can be used for so much more.
We at Mahana (www.getmahana.com) are using iBeacons in ways previously unimagined.  We can provide a better experience for guests as they eat out without throwing ads their way.
I recommend anyone coming to SXSWi in March to come to the BTLE/iBeacon Meetup.  Event can be found at http://btle.eventbrite.com