Case Study: Jyske Bank Serves Espresso, Enterprise Video

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If you like your banking to come with a steaming cup of joe and streaming video, Jyske Bank may be the place for you. It is Denmark’s second-largest independent bank and has just completed an "Xtreme" design makeover that has converted all of its 119 branch offices into destinations more akin to futuristic Starbucks than to the boring banks of the past. Gone is the stuffy, hard-surfaced institutional atmosphere, replaced by an open design more like a shopping mall or an airport lounge, complete with comfy chairs, magazines, the all-important central CoffeeBar, and best of all, a dazzling visual experience, courtesy of streaming video emanating from multiple plasma video screens scattered throughout the bank.

And the technology making it all possible (aside from the espresso machines) is being provided by four American companies: Media Publisher Inc., Envivio, Stratacache, and IBM Services. Together they’ve assembled an enterprise video infrastructure so sophisticated that some people are already pointing to it as the quintessential "use case," and predicting it will be a harbinger of things to come for both the banking industry in particular and the streaming media industry in general.

It’s About Atmosphere
Jyske Bank branch offices are different from typical banks both inside and out. Instead of mausoleum-like stone facades, they offer big plate windows to the street for the purpose of window shopping. Pedestrian passersby can look into the huge windows and see people inside enjoying themselves while sipping coffee, and they can see the big plasma digital signage displays that continuously run videos of bank promotional messages.

As you enter a branch office through the front door, you encounter the smiling face of a Jyske "advisor" standing behind a PC monitor on a countertop. This area is not called something old-fashioned like the "information counter." No, this is the "AskBar." In a Jyske branch practically every thing is called a "Bar." Even the till has been renamed the "MoneyBar."

At the AskBar you can get an orientation either from the human bank advisor or from a short video. Or you can just proceed into the rest of the bank, at the center of which is the aforementioned and seemingly essential CoffeeBar. There, from the big plasma screen, you can watch the news (via RSS feeds from various prominent newspapers around the world), weather reports, and so on, while you help yourself to a coffee.

Another integral part of the new Jyske "bank of the future" is something called the Theme Island (Figure 1). This is where you pick up "packages" that describe the bank’s "products." Jyske Bank director of corporate communications Lars Aarup Jensen explains that Jyske has made an attempt to "make our products physical by putting them into boxes like software boxes or DVD boxes."

Figure 1 (below). Among the multiple video screens in each Jyske Bank branch is one above the Theme Island, which displays bank product information, and one above the CoffeeBar.

Figure 1

From shelves at the Theme Island customers can grab a box labeled, for instance, "My First Car Loan," and pull out the brochures inside (Figure 2). Or better yet, they can take their selected product box to the nearby TestBar counter and scan the barcode on the box, bringing up a video on the desktop PC and monitor. Then, instead of reading a boring brochure, they can watch a slick video presentation.

Figure 2 (below). Underneath the video screen at the Theme Island, Jyske Bank customers can pick up product boxes, which have bar codes they can scan at another island to watch video about that particular bank offering.

Figure 1

One of the key technology providers in this project has been Media Publisher. The company’s vice president of marketing and business development, Steve Pattison, is well acquainted with the particulars of the entire project. "Jyske has come up with the creative idea of taking banking products, whether they be student loan information or a home mortgage for a new family, and actually realizing them in the form of packages," says Pattison. "And in addition they are using video to make the message very targeted and very interactive, down to the particular zone within the bank where people happen to be interacting with these products. So it’s really, really innovative.""Our executive team had a vision to leverage technology to set the company apart and differentiate our services," says Jensen, "and video is a core part of this vision."

The bank has "about 40 products, and for each product there is a two-minute video telling the customer what this product will do for him," says Jensen. All told, Jyske Bank has installed a total of 1,500 screens in 119 branches, according to Jensen, who estimates that the average branch has 10 screens, though the number of employees runs the gamut from 5 or 6 up to 100.

The bank avoids a cacophony of sound by eliminating audio from all but the monitor in the coffee shop, and even there the bank is using special selectively directional sound technology. "It uses directional sound only, which covers an area of about one square meter. So you get sound only in an exact area," says Jensen.

As you might imagine, the conference rooms in Jyske Bank branches also feature huge wall-mounted plasma monitors. These are touch-screen controlled. Customers can stroll into a conference room with coffee in hand, and a bank "advisor" can show them video presentations or use the touch screen to help them calculate what their mortgage payments might be, for example.

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