Author: Simon Cadbury
This February, London’s Old Billingsgate Market played host to one of the most important conferences in the global fintech calendar – Finovate. More than 70 fintech companies were given seven minutes on stage to present to an audience of over 1,300 executives, venture capitalists, journalists, analysts, and fellow entrepreneurs.
Intelligent Environments was among those 70 companies invited to demonstrate their product at the event, and our team spent the two days of the event soaking in the very best and brightest that the UK’s fintech industry has to offer. Companies from across the world presented their latest ideas across a range of key issues in financial technology at the moment, including crowdfunding, bitcoin, identity and security, PFM, mobile payments and wealth management.
One of the issues that recurred most often was the impact of social media on personal banking. Delta Bank claimed that “people don’t want to use their internet banking, they want social media” and offered a solution that enables customers to pay a contact via Facebook within 30 seconds.
Bringing something new to the identity discussion was Jumio – one of the companies named ‘best in show’ this year. The team explained its Netverify product, a system designed to turn customers’ mobile devices into ID-document-scanning terminals that can instantly see, scan and extract users’ name and date of birth. The data is instantly and neatly populated into the account-opening fields, making it quicker and easier for customers to open new accounts on their mobile devices.
For Intelligent Environments, Finovate provided the opportunity to take the lead on a live and real issue – security. The devastating recent cyber-attack on Sony highlighted the risks we still face on security, while a new report by security firm Kaspersky Lab has also revealed that up to 100 banks and financial organisations worldwide have been affected by “unprecedented cyber robbery.” The report stated that an estimated $1bn has been stolen in attacks since 2013, and these attacks are still live.
Today, no European retail bank has security measures that automatically detect and respond to intrusions inside perimeter defences. In light of this, at Finovate, our team unveiled the first attack-aware security software for the banking sector. We developed this solution based on ideas first put forward in the open source AppSensor project by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), a global not-for-profit charity focused on improving the security of software.
Rather than building ‘higher’ and ‘thicker’ perimeter defences and making passwords longer and more complex, our new software works from the inside, monitoring behaviour inside the perimeter defences, and responding accordingly.
Gamification was also on the agenda, with one company, Tivitz, demonstrating its ‘game-a-thons’ which help teach young people about money and save for a university education by enabling them to solicit pledges online from friends and family for playing TiViTz games. Supposedly, banks can use the platform to engage new customers at a young age while providing a significant helping hand for the serious and growing issue of funding increasingly expensive education.
With so many important issues on the agenda, it’s clear that the scale of the fintech conversation is bigger than it’s ever been before. What Finovate demonstrated is that our capital city is now the home of that conversation. London is unquestionably the fintech capital of Europe and has become an important hub in these exciting times of radical financial innovation.