Facial recognition at ATMs to improve the customer experience, says NAB

The technology uses the cloud and AI

In an effort to create better customer experiences, NAB and Microsoft have designed an automatic teller machine (ATM) using cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) technology for facial recognition.

Currently in proof of concept phase, the cloud-based application, developed using Azure Cognitive Services, has been designed to improve the customer experience by removing the need for physical cards or devices to access cash from ATMs. Customers who opt into the service would be able to withdraw cash from an ATM using facial recognition and a PIN.

The concept has been designed purely to test the customer experience of using such technology. The ATM system, using Azure Cognitive Services, does not store images, only the biometric data, and the data is held securely on Microsoft’s trusted cloud platform to be erased following the experiment. The information will be used only for the purpose of authenticating the customer and for no other purpose. Participants in the concept will not have any of their banking information connected to the system. The concept was developed in approximately two months by a small team from NAB’s in-house innovation lab, NAB Labs, and technology division.

NAB chief technology and operations officer, Patrick Wright, said banks need to be simpler and faster for customers.

“We want to deliver great connected customer experiences. Cloud technology allows us to take advantage of features and capabilities that are world-leading and enable us to deliver at pace for our customers,” he said.

“Working with companies like Microsoft allows us to develop concepts like this. It’s a look into what the future might hold for the way our customers access banking products and services.”

Steven Worrall, managing director of Microsoft Australia, said cloud computing and artificial intelligence present the opportunity for a new generation of secure, streamlined financial services to be developed and rapidly deployed at scale.

“NAB’s innovation focus is concentrated on meeting the changing needs of the customer; this concept ATM that NAB and Microsoft are working on together provides an important glimpse into the future,” he said.

“We believe AI will profoundly impact financial services and the sorts of solutions that banks will be able to deliver in the future.

“For a consumer-facing application such as the AI-powered ATM we’ve developed with NAB, this sort of continuous AI innovation is important. With its cloud-led approach to information systems, NAB is also guaranteed access to every Microsoft cloud-based cognitive service advance as it becomes available.”

NAB appointed its first chief customer experience officer last month, and rebranded its customer products and services division, in an executive leadership restructure it says will help put customers first.

As part of the realignment, the ASX-listed banking giant rebadged its customer products and services division to Customer Experience, and promoted former EGM of deposits and transaction services, Rachel Slade, to become its first chief customer experience officer. The division, which was first created two years as part of another executive restructure, encompasses customer experience, marketing, digital, products, NAB Labs and NAB Ventures.

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