When Banks Develop Snapchat Envy, This Firm Is Ready to Help

TokBox wants to move the financial services industry into the future with a cloud platform that integrates live video, voice and messaging capabilities into lenders' mobile apps and websites. 

As Facebook (FB) Live video, Apple's (AAPL) FaceTime interactions and Snap's (SNAP) app, SnapChat, have gained popularity, more traditional financial institutions have fallen behind the curve in connecting with tech-savvy customers.

At this week's FinDEVr 2017 conference, where companies focus on financial technology innovations, TokBox explained how the industry can use social media and video to interact with customers. 

"You have to look at how you can engage these new generation customers and workers in an environment that is familiar to them and to send financial data in a more visually engaging manner," Puneet Shetty, TokBox product manager, said during the presentation. "Your customers' behavior and expectations are changing as we speak." 

The San Francisco-based Telefonica company offers an application program interface, an API called OpenTok, that allows interactive real-time broadcasting, live video, messaging, video archiving, annotation, and computer-screen sharing. These services can be embedded or wrapped into company's websites or mobile apps.

"Platforms like TokBox have made this jump, or leap of faith, so much easier for financial companies because now they have a platform which is reliable," Shetty said in an interview. "We are an end-to-end platform which support any and every kind of video use case."

Examples of how the technology could be used include speaking to a bank teller via ATM or contacting a financial advisor with live video chat to discuss a portfolio, whose data is disclosed via shared computer screen.

One area of concern for financial service companies has been securing video communications. However, TokBox said that it provides an end-to-end encryption, while meeting different compliance and regulatory needs.

"We tick all those boxes for them," Shetty said. 

TokBox works with the education, health care, customer and field services, and e-commerce industries along with other areas, while helping with workforce management within companies. 

The platform is currently being utilized by London-based Coutts, a private bank and wealth manager, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) , and Esurance. Many other financial service companies have integrated the technology into their interfaces as well, Shetty said.

"As a financial services provider you need to start looking beyond just the bricks and mortar," he said. "So your competition is probably going to come from, not just the incumbents, like technology-savvy incumbents or fintech startups, it's probably going to come from unexpected corners like social media platforms."

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Editors' pick: Originally published March 22.

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