The Comarch beacon technology was at heart of the annual conference held last December by the Banque Populaire des Alpes for all its managers. Able to interact wirelessly with smartphones, these small devices allowed the bank to communicate in a customized way, individually, and simultaneously, with 240 guests taking part in the event. This is just one of numerous examples of the use of beacons in the banking industry.

The beacon is a small device that constantly emits a radio signal transmitted via Bluethooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy). This signal is received by a dedicated mobile application on a user’s smartphone allowing personal contact with the user within the reach of beacon transmitters. Unlike GPS, this technology works well indoors enabling not only direct, real time communication with the user but also navigation and geolocation. In connection with the bank's CRM system, beacons can identify a specific user and send them a message or an individually tailored offer depending on their profile.

‘Notifications sent during the conference were triggered by timing and location of the guests’, reports David Royer, Project Manager at Banque Populaire des Alpes. ‘The participants were pleasantly surprised to see their names in the greetings displayed on the monitor as they entered the conference hall. Following this, all day long, different notifications were sent to the guests depending on the time of the day, the place they were, and the beacon the were close to. During various presentations held that day, and in particular moments, the beacons supplied different notifications. Thus, the messages were triggered at specific moments of the conference, like e.g., sending a web link when the presenter mentioned to the audience that more information was available on the website. The event was concluded with a questionnaire sent to the conference guests’ phones , when they crossed the exit door.

‘Our objective during that day was to test appetency of our managers to the possibilities offered by this technology. As such, the personalized welcoming message, responsiveness, and the targeted communication were clearly acclaimed by our  branch directors – 80% of them would like to benefit from them ’, explains Nicolas Poughon, Marketing, Communication & Quality Director at Banque Populaire des Alpes.

Possible applications of beacons in banking go far beyond the demonstration made during this conference. Beacons placed in bank branches allow the bank to recognize VIP customers, inform the advisors about the presence of their customers in the branches or the presence of handicapped customers needing employee assistance, monitor and optimize the traffic in the facility, e.g. redirect customers to the appropriate advisors, etc. They can an also shorten and make the waiting time more pleasant by sending targeted information relevant to customer profiles, interests etc.

‘Beacons are also part of Comarch Virtual Marketplace’, underlines Sławomir Gierek, Director of Digital Banking Business Unit. ‘Comarch Virtual Marketplace is an application for banks,  which users can buy products and services from the bank’s business customers and the bank itself. The marketplace opens up a new sales and communication channel which aims to establish relationships with potential customers and increase loyalty of existing ones. Beacons placed at points of sales of the bank’s partners not only send information about promotions and commercial offers but also monitor traffic so complex analyses can be generated’.

Banque Populaire des Alpes, member of the BPCE Group, provides all banking and insurance services, focusing on close relation with its customers. With more than 400 000 customers (among which 143 000 shareholders) 168 agencies and 1 600 employees, Banque Populaire des Alpes places among the leaders on its territory, which extends to 8 departments, from the Alpine arc, through Savoie/Haute-Savoie to Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

Comarch is one of the leading international software houses and systems integrators of central Europe, based in Krakow, Poland. Comarch provides services in areas such as telecommunications, finance and banking, services & trade, public administration, and SMEs. Its services include, among others, billing systems, enterprise resource planning applications, IT security and architecture, management and outsourcing solutions, customer relationship management and sales support, electronic communication and business intelligence.