Here discussing the increased adoption of connected devices and sensors in banking and how IoT enables banks to respond in real-time to customer needs, is Neil Bramley, B2B Client Solutions Business Unit Director at Toshiba Northern Europe.

Internet of Things (IoT) technology is on the rise both at home and in the workplace, and will soon significantly impact and empower the way we live and work. To date, such solutions have arguably made a bigger splash in the consumer landscape than B2B, with connected fridges, cars and thermostats all resonating with the public. As consumers awareness of IoT grows, so too does their expectation that it will blend into their everyday consumer experience. No business is seeing this effect more than those in the financial industry as more IoT technology incorporates payment capabilities.

The case for financial organisations to introduce IoT into their internal infrastructure and consumer facing technology capabilities is gaining in strength, with solutions providers continuing to innovate and push the boundaries of what such technologies can achieve. The whole concept of IoT is that it can be anything organisations want and need it to be – all it takes is the right app or piece of code to be built around it. At this stage in its adoption, many IT managers in financial organisations don’t necessarily understand the potential of IoT. Given the personal, and often sensitive, nature of the data these organisations manage a fear of data and network security persists, particularly in the wake of recent global cyber-attacks. However, such concerns aren’t projected to hold the market back for long, with IDC research predicting that global spending on IoT technologies is forecast to reach nearly $1.4 trillion by 2021.

The scope of IoT solutions is evolving to fuel this demand. Whereas stationary M2M (machine to machine) solutions, such as sensors, kick-started the connected device market and remain popular, mobile IoT solutions provide vast opportunities across numerous sectors – helping to improve workflows, enhance interactions with staff and customers, and even improve the safety of workers. Key to this development is the introduction of peripherals to the workplace, which can be partnered with mobile gateway solutions to ensure cross-machine collaboration.

One natural example lies within banking. The increased adoption of connected devices and sensors will bring increasingly rich data to banks about their customers, allowing them to provide more personalised products and services, even enabling them to respond in real-time to customer needs. As connected technology becomes imbedded in our environments, and the connected home and smart city market matures, banks could provide real-time spending advice. For example if you have overspent on your budget that month your bank might suggest you avoid your usual Friday lunchtime treat.

Elsewhere, peripherals like smart glasses (wearable display technology) can ensure a hands-free solution to workers across a range of roles. Augmented Reality could give insurance sales teams a in-depth view of customers homes geographical locations and provide them with a better analysis of potential risks in order to give them a better deal, or provide a hands free look at a customers financial history enabling the creation of bespoke products and services.

Beyond devices themselves, operating systems will also play a crucial role in the progression of IoT in the financial services world. Currently the focus is very much on writing software for iOS and Android – a smartphone-onus which again signifies the advanced stage of the consumer market. Yet the natural progression is for solutions providers to expand their focus to incorporate Windows 10 – this will serve as a catalyst in creating a greater number of solutions designed for professional use, which in turn will inspire more financial organisations to turn their attention to developing IoT coding and apps to address different business needs.

It is only a matter of time until IoT becomes a major enabler for organisations across the finance industry – with such game-changing potential, it’s important for IT managers to get ahead of the curve to understand how these technologies can empower their business.