Westpac outlines plans for 'opt in' banking services via Google Glass, touts benefits of Apple's iBeacon

Westpac outlines plans for 'opt in' banking services via Google Glass, touts benefits of Apple's iBeacon

Westpac plans to offer "opt in" services via Google Glass after Google launches its spectacle-like wearable computers in New Zealand, which is expected to be later this year.

The bank showed off Google Glass and Apple's iBeacon, the latter through which it'll send customers personalised messages to their smartphones, to media in Auckland on Thursday.

Simon Pomeroy, Westpac's chief digital officer, said customers using Google Glass would be able to see their bank balances, transfer money between Westpac accounts, find the closest Westpac ATM or branch, and get alerts or notifications.

The glasses will be voice activated and work either through a smartphone or via wireless internet.  Pomeroy said Westpac ultimately planned an "opt in service for customers" who would be able to choose what they use them for, with potential services including bill payments.

Pomeroy said Westpac would have its Google Glass services ready when Google launches the product in New Zealand, which is expected to be later in 2014. He wasn't sure what they'd sell for. They currently cost US$1,500 plus tax in the United States.

Meanwhile, he said Westpac was also looking to develop iBeacon to work on Android smartphones, as well as iPhones. The bank is trialling iBeacon in its Britomart, Auckland central branch and is aiming to roll it out to all its branches over the next 12 months. It'll be an opt-in service, fully integrated into Westpac's mobile app.

For customers, Westpac says iBeacon will make their experience better, faster and easier. For Westpac it'll be able to send customers special offers and other incentives when they are in, or walking past a branch. It'll also give bank staff full details of a customer's business with Westpac when they enter a branch.

Westpac announced its plans to use Google Glass and iBeacon in early February. Pomeroy says Westpac's not aware of any other New Zealand business actively working with either Google Glass or iBeacon yet.

Here's a Westpac video on Google Glass and iBeacon. You can also see more on Google Glass here and see more on iBeacon here.

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