At 11:FS, we spend a lot of time looking at next-generation mobile trends and technology. Every now and again we come across a product or feature that just blows us away. It can be as simple as a smart integration with another product or as complicated as a whole app that’s powered by bleeding edge technology.

To kick off the 11:FS Pulse Research series, we thought we’d share a handful of our favourite ‘oh wow’ moments. You probably use a handful of these already, but we recommend checking each one out in detail. As always, our focus is on finding the most important and interesting trends in financial services, but we’ve also included some more general mobile trends that we feel will have an impact on the ecosystem as a whole.

1. Brolly’s Gmail search

London-based insurtech company Brolly sells itself as an AI-driven personal insurance concierge. And they’re not kidding. This is one clever piece of technology. During the signup process, after users have entered details of their existing insurance policies, Brolly offers to connect to Gmail and shovel through years of emails to find all of your old policies.

11:FS Pulse users can see it in action here. This is pure AI-driven magic of the kind we’re sure to see more of in the coming years.

2. Augmented Reality Tape Measures

With Google and Apple betting big on AR and VR, this space is might finally live up to the decades of hype around augmented reality. Case in point is this early demo of a tape measure built on top of Apple’s ARKit. Astonishingly accurate measurements based on image processing from a standard smartphone camera. It’s early days, but the sheer scale of the investment pouring into the sector means that this area is shaping up to have serious growth potential.

3. Monzo’s Magic Links

Authenticating email addresses and phone numbers during an onboarding process can be a fiddly business. It’s something that old fashioned banks haven’t exactly cracked. Enter Monzo and magic links! After inputting their email, users are automagically directed to their email app of choice.

From there, users receive an email from Monzo that includes a link which, when tapped, redirects the user back to the Monzo app. The whole process (which you can view on Pulse) takes a matter of seconds and when it’s done, the user’s email address is linked to the app. It’s a simple, smart way to onboard customers.

4. mBank’s BLIK payments

Poland’s banking system benefits from being comparatively young and competitive. Every now and again they team up on a collaboration and produce something fantastic. The BLIK code (which was developed by a startup of the same name) has been rolled out by many of the country’s banks. Within the mBank app, users can generate a six-digit code that can then be used to make payments in a number of places without requiring a card. 11:FS Pulse users can check this out here. Whether you’re looking to withdraw cash from an ATM or you’re making a purchase over the phone, BLIK offers a secure, personalised, and instant way to do that. We’ll admit, this is a delight for the more technically minded, but a delight nonetheless.

5. Deliveroo bill split with Monzo

Sometimes you don’t need impressive technology to delight. All it takes is a bit of teamwork between your favourite apps.

 

Customers who have both a Monzo and a Deliveroo account have recently noticed the food delivery company has begun offering anyone who holds an account with the London-based challenger bank the option to split the bill with friends. A great lesson in why integrations and partnerships are as important as innovation. 

You can view the process in 11:FS Pulse.

6. WhatsApp Mobile to Web QR Code

This feature has been around for a couple of years now, but every time we have to re-pair our WhatsApp mobile account with a desktop app it’s still as satisfying as it was the first time. Users navigate to the WhatsApp web app then open the mobile app to scan a QR code that appears there. QR codes might not have really broken into the West like they have in Asia, but the way the system instantly authenticates is immensely rewarding. Simple pleasures!

7. Bankin’ App’s PFM Budgeting

France’s leading financial account aggregation tool has some serious smarts. After integrating a bank account, Bankin’ goes off and analyses a user’s past spend in order to suggest budgets based on their history. Seems simple, but presenting more than just a blank slate makes all the difference to someone who’s trying to get on top of their finances. 11:FS Pulse users can check out the feature here.

8. Flux’s Receipt Capture

Is there anything more archaic than being handed a piece of paper telling you what you’ve just bought? The team behind Flux have made it their mission to end the use of receipts in shops and we honestly think they might be able to. While other fintechs have gone down the OCR route (using a camera to scan and read receipts), Flux goes well beyond that with simultaneous direct integrations with both the POS stations in shops and leading challenger bank apps Monzo and Starling. Rather than just showing the total of the transaction, the banking app also shows details of each item that was purchased. If you’re someone who has to claim expenses, this is going to make your life a whole lot easier.  

9. Spotify’s Discover Weekly

Although the music streaming giant’s playlist has been around for almost two years, we had to give it a shout out here as potentially the best example of powerful personalisation. By tapping into the collective intelligence of its 75 million+ users and some extremely smart algorithms, Spotify select about 30 tracks from the 5 billion songs on the system to produce an often scarily personalised weekly playlist that is highly customised to a user’s tastes. Now we just want to see other services get this personal.

10. Signal

In an age that is simultaneously characterised by oversharing of personal information on social media and invasive international intelligence agencies, there’s a growing demographic of privacy-conscious users. For many, secure messaging app Signal is the go-to means of communications in the age of Trump, Putin and North Korea. Designed by a clever donor-funded organisation that open sources all of its code, this app provides end-to-end encryption. Most importantly, no data is stored by the company. This means that even if they are approached by authorities with a subpoena, there’s nothing to hand over. Maybe this isn’t a delight for everyone but it certainly is for anyone who sees themselves as remotely security conscious.

11. Adobe Photoshop Express

Photoshop has been the industry standard for decades, but the Express app has won a place on this list as a reminder of the sheer power sitting in your pocket. Processing power, storage, and screen quality have exploded over the past ten years and the existence of a mobile version of Photoshop (a famously processor-heavy programme) is symptomatic of how much things have changed. It’s also a key example of how to scale a complicated process down to a mobile screen size; clever optimisation for touch screen gestures and careful selection of the most important tools means that one of the most complicated pieces of creative software feels completely usable even on a screen that’s a fraction of the normal size.

 

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