Microsoft Kinect: From Living Rooms to CU Branches?
Kinect for Xbox 360, a controller-free, $150 gaming device that allows users to operate their Xbox consoles solely through bodily gestures and voice commands, has made a splash among video game and electronics enthusiasts. But is there a practical application for Kinect outside the gaming world–say, in credit union branches?
The concept isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. Microsoft is warming financial institutions up to the idea of using Kinect in branches to develop hands-free, interactive video marketing tools. In a demo video Microsoft Financial Services posted to Facebook, a man interacts with a large screen inside a bank branch to learn about auto financing, which then directs him to an employee for further discussion.
Financial industry analysts expressed mixed feelings about whether Kinect has potential value to credit unions. Celent Senior Analyst Bob Meara said if Kinect made its way into credit union branches, he envisions CUs using it in conjunction with Microsoft Surface, a large multi-touch screen that allows users to manipulate digital content through movement and touch. Several banks, including Royal Bank of Canada, have launched Surface in their branches to provide customers with an interactive banking experience.
But Meara doesn’t foresee credit unions pouncing on Kinect any time soon. He said he’s not aware of any proven market share gains from in-branch, interactive video marketing tools and that credit unions should sooner invest in technologies with known benefits.
"Launching something like this in a credit union lobby is going to be expensive," Davis said. "But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be effective. Lobbies are generally kind of boring places, so why not use the space to teach and to excite people?"