Chief Technology Officer of Union Bank of India, Anil Kuril, discusses the introduction of the metaverse lounge, the first of its kind done by a bank in India
Imagine a world in which people live, work, shop, and interact with others – all from the comfort of your homes. Yes, it’s a spot on thing! We are discussing the metaverse. The metaverse has expanded in its uses and accessibility, and it is now used globally to improve customer service and experience.
In a conversation with ET Edge Insights, Anil Kuril, the Chief Technology Officer of Union Bank of India, talks about the metaverse lounge‘s introduction, the first of its kind to be implemented by a bank in India.
1. Introduction to the Metaverse Lounge
Union Bank of India launched its Virtual lounge “Uni-Verse” – Metaverse of Banking on 8th July, 2022 in Mumbai. This established its presence in the metaverse. Recently, we launched the enhanced version of Virtual Lounge: Universe 2.0, wherein the CX has been upgraded along with introducing a few non-financial services, a lead generation channel, and many more features.
Customers can navigate and interact through various schemes and products, as well as features such as balance inquiry and mini statement, which will be available to Existing to Bank (ETB) customers.
The Virtual lounge in Phase 1 had the below mentioned features:
- Digital avatars
- User Interactive Digital Screens with Product Creatives
- Digital Displays with Product Videos
- Digital Wall – Video about “Journey of Union Bank of India” and other creatives
- Customers can navigate the lounge using both VR and non-VR environments.
- Holographic Floating Menu about New Products and others.
- “Spin a Wheel” Contest
Also, Metaverse has positioned Union Bank of India as a digital bank with its commitment to facilitating innovative banking and enhancing the user experience for its customers.
2. The thought behind the introduction of the lounge and the necessary steps and time taken from inception to delivery.
Emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR) have been a boon and a significant contributor to the future of banking by letting banks create immersive customer experiences, platforms and applications that lead to higher user engagement, seamless banking solutions, and positive brand communication. As a result, metaverse in banking can appeal to new-generation customers who want a gamified experience in banking. This technology will enable us to provide one more digital channel for customer interaction and enhance the customer experience.
While initially conceptualising the idea of getting into the metaverse, Union Bank of India explored various possibilities with use cases that could be implemented as an early adopter of the technology. To begin with, one of the use cases explored was creating a virtual lounge, which will facilitate a new user experience for the customers and provide enhanced CX. Therefore, the formulated idea was implemented within 12 weeks.
3. The features included in the lounge:
We recently upgraded our Virtual Lounge from Universe 1.0 to 2.0 at the Bank’s 104th Foundation Day on November 11, 2202.The new virtual lounge has below following features:
- Digital Avatars to choose from
- Customer Services like Balance Enquiry, Mini Statement etc.
OTP validation enables personalised greetings and retrieval of customer information via APIs (for existing bank customers).
- Cross Selling / Up Selling of various products and services along with customised offers.
- Exclusive Sub Lounge for loan-related STP products and Wealth Management/Insurance products.
- User Interactive Digital Screens with Product/Scheme/Services Information.
- Virtual Assistant for helping with customer queries (AI based chatbot)
- Digital Wall – Video showcasing “Journey of Union Bank of India”
Customers can navigate the lounge using both VR and non-VR environments.
Triggering of emails and SMS for various product information and digital journeys based on customer requests.
Lead generation for various business verticals for the lounge’s products and schemes.
4. How have you changed your interface (website / branches) to access this feature?
The visitors (existing and new customers) can explore the Metaverse Virtual Lounge through Union Bank of India’s corporate website, or URL: https://metaverse.unionbankofindia.co.in/WebGL, and through Virtual Reality (VR) devices in the Digital Banking Units (DBU).
5. Customer feedback for the feature
There has been an overwhelming response from customers, stakeholders, and technology service providers to our pathbreaking innovation and strategically strategic positioning as a future ready Digital Bank. With many corporations looking to enter the metaverse, we have been an early adopter of the emerging technology which has been well received across the various social media platforms.
6. Future products and innovations
We are already working on various technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Blockchain, 5G, Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR), Natural Language processing (NLP), Automation of processes through Robotic Process Automation, RegTech and Touchless Biometric Solutions to transform customer experience and deliver real business outcomes. The bank is developing a virtual training environment that will provide immersive and simulated experiences to training staff through the use of AR and VR technology.
We have recently launched the VYOM App for Mobile Banking, having 350+ features, various digital STP journeys for products and services and working progressively towards its vision of digital transformation.
“The content or opinion expressed in the article are of the Author in his/her individual capacity and does not represent the Bank’s view, in any manner.”