Do you remember Second Life? It was in hype during the late 2000s, and the buzz was such that mega-brands such as Coca-Cola, Adidas, Nissan, and BBC ventured into the virtual world. And today, Metaverse is such a bandwagon on which every other brand is hopping on. Be it sports or a fashion brand, almost everyone is having a metaverse initiative in progress. And there’s no stopping either for banks and fintech companies to explore the avenues in the metaverse. Imagine your avatar walking into a virtual bank setup in the metaverse, and doing the regular banking procedures such as customer signup and documentation without having to visit the bank in person. This is not a futuristic movie scene, but something that will be a reality soon. And the company enabling this is an Indian fintech startup – Signzy Technologies.
We had the opportunity to interact with Arpit Ratan, Co-founder and Business Head of Signzy Technologies, who discussed their US patent grant and how it can bring disruptive innovations for banking in the metaverse. Here’s an excerpt from the interaction:
Tell us about your recent US Patent grant, and how it will open new avenues for banking and financial institutions to explore in the Metaverse?
The US Patent number 11270509 was granted to Signzy in March’22 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patent describes our innovative solution for enabling new customer signup and onboarding using Virtual and Augmented Reality for all banks and financial services providers in the metaverse. We believe that banks and financial institutions will find it hard to ignore the metaverse and the impact it would have on their business in the near future. It is exciting to us how metaverse will offer unprecedented opportunities to attract young customers, and also will lead to the creation of new product lines and eventually add newer business models. The US patent granted to Signzy is a big step forward in this direction.
Signzy’s technology enables banking customers to interact with their bank in a virtual reality (VR) model that perfectly reproduces a physical bank branch or office. These VR models can be richly detailed with support for describing a bank’s own environment including wall units, wall finishing, roofing, basic building, electrical connections, electronic components, flooring, doors, service counters, furniture, paints, sanitary fittings, physical items, decorative and hardware.
Further, the patent also supports enabling individual users with access to various banking services in the VR mode, including general enquiry services, the opening of new savings or current account, car or home loan services, education loan services, net banking services, commercial banking services and a variety of insurance products, including health or personal accident insurance.
With banking and customer data handling in a virtual world, it is very prone to security and privacy risks. How are you addressing this for the banks and the end customers of the bank?
Our solution is designed from the ground up for enabling industry-leading levels of data security and privacy for all users. Further, our digital KYC process for the metaverse is not only fast and hassle-free, but it is also remarkably secure and accurate to prevent any misuse of identity, or identity theft. The use of AI and computer vision enables a much superior KYC or identity verification process for banks and financial providers. Finally, our solution is ready to be deployed in a highly-demanding real banking environment with full security assurance for the individuals’ private or financial data.
Beyond banking, where do you see the applications of your patented tech in the realm of metaverse? Which type of businesses or industries can leverage and benefit from it?
In addition to conventional banking services, our patented technology also supports metaverse currencies, including cryptocurrencies. Further, any business organization in the metaverse can use our solution to digitally verify and onboard new customers in a virtual reality environment and offer them services or transactions; opening up unlimited possibilities for all companies to innovate and create whole new products and services designed for the metaverse.
What trends in AR/VR technology do you see becoming mainstream in 2022 (or even in 2023)?
We believe that both AR and VR are maturing rapidly as technologies and are on the cusp of an explosion in adoption over the next 12-24 months. Several factors are driving this evolution forward, including the advancements in hardware that are today capable of using advanced machine and neural learning models to enable ever more realistic depictions of our real world in the virtual world. From this year onwards, we are likely to see the emergence of new headsets from several large consumer technology companies that will open up the VR and AR ecosystem for the masses for the first time ever.
We are also likely to see the umbrella term Extended Reality (ER), covering all of the Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR), find greater favor in 2022 and beyond. Extended Reality could also emerge as the bedrock of all our social interactions in the metaverse – allowing people to seamlessly transition from the real world to the virtual world and vice versa for work, socializing, shopping and entertainment.
Enterprises are now focusing on no-code platforms for faster time to market. How is your no-code AI platform positioned to cater to this demand, and what are its benefits to an enterprise?
Indeed, the biggest benefit of using no-code AI platforms is the much faster development and rollout of AI apps; as they can be developed even by a business or operational manager with no coding skills.
Today, the biggest challenge for most enterprises, including banks and financial institutions, is to transform their decision-making from a human-led and siloed process to an automated and AI-led decision process, similar to those of consumer technology companies. To do this, these enterprises also need to undergo a major transformation in their internal processes and workflows. Signzy’s no-code AI platform allows them to integrate AI capabilities in their workflows without having to involve an IT vendor or undergo a six-to-twelve-month development cycle that typical IT projects need. Further, this AI-enablement is possible in a matter of days or weeks, not months.
Signzy’s award-winning no-code GO platform delivers seamless, end-to-end, and multi-channel onboarding journeys while offering totally customizable workflows. Our no-code platform is further able to completely automate the operational decision-making process into a real-time API. This is possible due to a combination of Nebula – our no-code AI model builder – and our Fintech API Marketplace of over 200+ APIs. These proprietary APIs are capable of enhanced functions like extraction, forgery detection, background verification against government databases, etc. Further, these APIs follow a plug-n-play approach, requiring minimum hassle for integrating with existing workflows. Ultimately, the platform delivers an almost 75% reduction in overall operational expenditure.
What we are also seeing is that no-code platforms have grown both in popularity and maturity in recent months on account of a severe shortage of tech talent, including developers and engineers, in the market. Most organizations today are smart enough to realize that they don’t need to invest heavily in either building well-qualified in-house tech teams or outsourcing their development work when they can perfectly utilize no-code platforms available from companies like Signzy to design, develop, and roll out their own IT projects.
Share some memorable experiences or milestones from your entrepreneurial journey. What advice will you give to budding entrepreneurs who are building innovative solutions using emerging technologies?
Early on in our journey, we knew we were heading in the right direction when we won an award from RBI. In 2016, the five-member Signzy team presented a video onboarding solution at an RBI-sponsored competition among large banks like SBI and HDFC. To everyone’s surprise, we won that competition for our seamless onboarding using Artificial Intelligence. In 2020, RBI finally notified rules for V-CIP, paving the way for wider adoption of video-KYC by a host of banks and now even insurance providers. Our success with video-KYC validates the vision and belief with which we have been building products for years that do not always seem relevant in the present but are designed to innovate for the future.
Signzy is today a market-leading digital banking infrastructure provider that is enabling 10 million+ new customer onboardings every month – both individuals and businesses – with a success rate of 99%. We are a global partner of MasterCard and Microsoft, while our clients include over 250 financial institutions globally, including the four largest banks in India.
We have also won numerous awards along our journey, including from Singapore’s central bank ‘Monetary Authority of Singapore’ (MAS), and other reputed organizations like IAMAI, ASSOCHAM India, and International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).
My advice to all budding entrepreneurs is to invest enough time and effort into imagining a clear vision of the future and identify future technology gaps before they start writing the first line of code. There are too many companies and startups building solutions for the present-day problems, whereas there is much less competition for those who can foresee future opportunities and can align their development efforts towards maximizing those opportunities.