Highlights from FinTech South 2018
On May 7th and 8th, Urjanet attended FinTech South at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. This year’s conference brought the region’s leading experts together to explore the trends fueling tomorrow’s financial tech industry. Unable to make it this year? We’ve summed up our top three takeaways from the conference to catch you up to speed:
Digital Identity Stands at a Crossroads
Any lender or financial tech provider knows this, but digital identity solutions must balance the need for security with the need for a frictionless user experience. Our recent discussion with ID Analytics touched on this very issue.
As Matt Kuo, Urjanet’s VP of Product Management, explained: “On the one end of the spectrum, there’s really heavy-handed fraud deterrence, but it sacrifices the convenience of the user experience. I think we’ve all had experiences where we wanted to do something, but there were too many steps, so we gave up and decided to come back later.”
“Security is not the death of user experience. Embrace it.”
However, according to Wally Mlynarski, Chief Product Officer at Elavon, this crossroads isn’t as daunting as it may seem. In his breakout session, he said that as long as product designers have security in mind from the outset, incorporating it into a seamless user experience will naturally follow. “Security is not the death of user experience,” said Mlynarski. “Embrace it.” By bringing security concerns forward in the design thinking process instead of after the fact, fintech products can effectively serve both security and user experience.
IoT and Blockchain Are Here to Stay
Among other trending topics at FinTech South were IoT and blockchain technology. Over and over, experts at the conference stressed that these aren’t just buzzwords; these technologies will change the way we do business for years to come. Neal Beggan, principal at Cherry Bekaert, cut straight to the point. “The time has come to educate yourself about blockchain. Even if your organization doesn’t use it, your suppliers do,” he said.
“The time has come to educate yourself about blockchain. Even if your organization doesn’t use it, your suppliers do.”
IoT’s potential is likewise only going to grow. Deva Annamalai, director of innovation and payments strategy at FiServ, predicted that as the IoT matures, even the smallest devices will be capable of machine learning. That doesn’t mean that IoT technology won’t have its own growing pains, though. A useful analogy we heard at FinTech South compares IoT to the battle between VHS and Betamax in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The industry needs standards that will enable different types of hardware to talk to each other — in other words, it needs a common language to move forward.
Collaboration Beats Competition
It’s true what they say about Southern hospitality. Presenters at FinTech South agreed that working together with others in the industry is infinitely more effective than competing against each other. Between big banks and small fintech providers, accelerators and incubators, collaboration leads to positive results for the consumer as well as for the business. “Being in the Southeast, we collaborate a lot better than we compete,” said Dan Roselli, managing director of Queen City FinTech.
Sometimes, these collaborations can come in unexpected forms. On a panel on insider perspectives from fintech VCs, Urjanet investor Patricia Kemp talked about how utility data has become a dark horse in enabling various enhancements in financial services, from bill pay to identity verification and credit risk modeling. As fintech providers look to expand and diversify their market approaches, lucrative partners — even those not traditionally associated with financial services — may reveal themselves in time.
If you did get the chance to attend FinTech South 2018, let us know what you were most surprised or excited to learn! Find us on Twitter to join the conversation with #FinTechSouth.
You might also be interested in:
- SPARK 2017 Recap: The Infinite Possibilities of Alternative Data
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- Out of Wallet or Out of Touch?
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About Amy Hou
Amy Hou is a Marketing Manager at Urjanet, overseeing content and communications. She enjoys writing about the latest industry updates in sustainability, energy efficiency, and data innovation.