Digital Skills Academy powers Bank of Ireland’s move into AR, VR and voice

1 May 20181.01k Views

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Tony Burns, head of web development and operations at Bank of Ireland; with Karen O’Grady, business development manager at the Digital Skills Academy. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

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Bank of Ireland is investigating future customer experiences through emerging technologies such as VR.

Bank of Ireland has revealed that it is working with Dublin’s Digital Skills Academy on customer services apps of the future that combine augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and voice interfaces.

In a recent industry partnership, the bank, which currently employs around 12,000 people in Ireland, leveraged the creativity and expertise of participants on Digital Skills Academy’s international BSc degree programmes to develop mobile banking apps.

‘The digital team at Bank of Ireland was able to assess several challenges surrounding the potential roles VR, AR and voice recognition might play in the future banking landscape’
– DANIEL GRIFFIN

“Bank of Ireland is always looking for new and innovative ways to provide our customers with a faster, simpler and more engaging banking experience,” explaned Tony Burns, head of web development and operations at Bank of Ireland.

“When assessing new technologies, however, there are always lessons to be learned. So, we were delighted to have this opportunity to partner with Digital Skills Academy and conduct a programme of research into the potential of VR and AR in the commercial banking space.

“We have implemented a number of consumer initiatives such as Skype mortgage advisers, facilitating a more convenient way of communicating with us. Our research with Digital Skills Academy allowed us to investigate the potential for other, more advanced technology.”

Understanding the challenges and opportunities of emerging technologies

Participants enrolled on Digital Skills Academy’s programmes address many varied digital projects for industry partners such as Bank of Ireland. These include website and app development, digital marketing campaigns, software development, and process digitisation.

“This research-based project was an ideal way for participants in our international programmes to gain valuable experience,” explained Paul Dunne, CEO of Digital Skills Academy.

Responding to questions from Siliconrepublic.com, coding and technology curriculum lead Daniel Griffin explained how Digital Skills Academy participants on the international BSc degree programmes work on industry partner projects as part of their learning experience.

Typically, a six-person team is assigned to each industry partner project, which includes project managers, developers and digital marketing/content/UX designers. This enables the industry partner to address digital innovation opportunities while playing a central role in expanding the digital talent pool.

“Based upon the research carried out, the digital team at Bank of Ireland was able to assess several challenges surrounding the potential roles VR, AR and voice recognition might play in the future banking landscape.

“Traditional web development skills are now an important skillset for developers in the creation of AR/VR technologies. With the prevalence of mobile devices, these skills are finding new, innovative uses in the development process. JavaScript, WebVR, React VR [and] A-Frame are specific skills that AR/VR developers are using in the creation of VR solutions. These libraries are new additions to the Digital Skills Academy curriculum.”

Griffin said this is only the start of the academy’s foray into emerging technologies.

“Digital Skills Academy is constantly updating content to address the latest developments in the digital sector, of which blockchain is an excellent example,” he said.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com