Pioneering a New Financial Service Model with Intelligent Connected Things

Inside Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.

By Pan Weidong, Vice Chairman and President, SPD Bank

To scale up the digital innovation ecosystem and give new momentum to fintech, financial professionals must figure out how to integrate technology with finance. SPD Bank's journey to a digital world is a great example of this.

SPD bank

SPD Bank's digital transformation practices

SPD Bank is a national joint-stock commercial bank headquartered in Shanghai, China. Over the years, Huawei has referenced the world's top banks in terms of their digital transformation and explored cutting-edge technologies to help SPD Bank achieve full-stack digitalization, from basic technologies to the entire service ecosystem.

SPD Bank believes that technology is the primary force behind productivity and that innovation is the main driver of development. With this in mind, the bank has transformed its business models through technology, so as to realize its strategic goal of building a leading joint-stock commercial bank with international competitiveness. SPD Bank hopes to become a pacesetter and pioneer of high-quality development in the financial sector in the new era. Driven by a better customer experience and digital technology, SPD Bank promotes open banking and innovative connectivity through technology.

In 2018, SPD Bank launched the industry's first API Bank, leading to a wave of open banking in China that brings banking services into customers' lives.

The following year, SPD Bank teamed up with Huawei and China Mobile to launch China's first 5G+ smart branch in Shanghai. The first bank account was opened over a 5G network in the smart branch, which offered HD remote customer services with mixed reality, and an innovative customer experience.

That same year, SPD Bank unveiled its first digital assistant Xiaopu to provide customers with smart, personalized services based on humanized user interfaces (HUIs). Xiaopu has created a new financial service model by redefining how the physical world connects and interacts with the digital world.

From the API Bank and 5G+ smart branch to virtual assistants, SPD Bank has continuously invested in new technology to create new service models and find new touch points, channels, and ways for banks to interact with customers and partners. 

Fully connected, intelligent banking

New technologies like 5G, cloud, big data, and AI are leading humanity into a new era – from connecting people to connecting things to building a fully connected, intelligent world. Intelligent vehicles, smart homes, and delivery robots are just a few examples of how intelligent things with intelligent computing and automation capabilities have become a new component of the new era.

Huawei Global Industry Vision (GIV) predicts that by 2025, there will be 100 billion connections in domains like personal devices, public utilities, manufacturing, healthcare, and agriculture. All intelligent things will be connected to become Intelligent Twins, which will make up smart cities, intelligent transportation systems, and more. This intelligent space will create huge network value and unleash unlimited potential for innovation. To make this a reality, banks will embrace a fully connected, intelligent world, and move from connecting intelligence and service scenarios to connecting the ecosystem.

Connecting intelligence: Unleashing productivity through digitalization

In the future, the volume of data and AI capabilities will become a new factor of production, especially for enterprises. Therefore, strong intelligent connectivity is vital for banks to build core competitiveness and take the lead again.

Intelligent networks can connect computing nodes and data centers and fully unleash the computing power of the cloud. They can also seamlessly connect cloud, edge, and device for smoother data flows and power closed-loop intelligent service flows from sensing, analysis, and decision-making to response. With intelligent networks, banks can overhaul customer experience and services, while enhancing operating efficiency and lean management.

Connecting scenarios: Creating a new service model

SPD Bank is customer-centric and strives to integrate financial services into its customers' lives. Intelligent things emerging in banking scenarios have brought new opportunities for SPD Bank's innovation in services, technologies, and business models. And intelligent things have changed the way banks engage customers and provided new ways to interact with the digital world, so that banks can get closer to customers and offer services whenever they're needed. Intelligent things can build an intelligent space around people based on the situations and provide integrated services.

A lack of connection and coordination of intelligent things means that scenario-based finance cannot connect all customer touch points and only offer limited service models. By contrast, integrated services provide an intelligent service experience for customers based on time, space, and context. For example, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) networks make interactions easier by connecting people to roads, navigation systems, service areas, and charging stations through intelligent vehicles.

Connecting the ecosystem: Driving cross-industry collaboration

Intelligent space is a thriving ecosystem. V2X enables intelligent vehicles, roads, traffic lights, and parking lots to be supported by various companies, regulators, and intelligent technology platforms. All of these make up a diverse ecosystem of people, things, and enterprises.

Technologies, such as IoT, blockchain, big data, and AI, will build a bottom-up technology stack for an intelligent, open, and coordinated ecosystem platform. Financial services should focus on customers and rely on the ecosystem to interlink businesses, consumers, and governments based on service scenarios – with the ultimate goal of serving the physical economy.

On the platform, all stakeholders can share information about the industry and ecosystem, customers and service scenarios, and technology and finance. This helps address information asymmetries, reduce the cost of trust, and provide comprehensive services for all enterprises across the industry ecosystem to achieve shared success.

Moving towards a fully connected, intelligent world, SPD Bank proposed the concept of "the bank of things", extending the focus of banks from people to intelligent things to create new financial service infrastructure for the digital world. This marks the bank's cutting-edge exploration into digital innovation, as well as a new financial service model that's borderless, touchless, and seamless.

SPD Bank has collaborated with leading global tech companies on future-oriented research to give new momentum to fintech. In 2018, SPD Bank and Huawei had many positive outcomes from their innovation lab, and in August 2020, they strengthened their ties through a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement.

As a result of their partnership, SPD Bank and Huawei jointly released the Bank of Things White Paper. This white paper represents the beginning of a new financial service model focusing on intelligent things and innovations for integrating financial services into retail, transportation, healthcare, and other industries.