Strands, the recommendation and lifestreaming service we've written about here before, announced a much anticipated deal this morning that will put it in the driver's seat for financial recommendations served up to millions of online banking customers around the world. The company's recommendation test-case in music is no longer all they will be known for around the world.
Customers of Spanish bank BBVA will now be offered recommended products and services, individual and anonymized aggregate analytics and personalized goal setting and alert services, all based on their banking activities.
BBVA sees more than 1.3 billion online transactions from 40 countries annually. Will their customers appreciate these services? We think they probably will.
What's Interesting About This Deal?
Using the Strands Social Recommender technology, BBVA will be able to offer intelligent observations and suggestions for personal finance. A demo of the product shows, for example, that users of the system might be given interesting statistics about the financial activities of people in a particular demographic group, then asked whether they belong to that group. It's like having a private, personal, math-powered financial adviser available for your use on demand.
With interfaces for the iPhone, BlackBerry and Nokia phones - analytics and recommendations will also be available outside of the desktop web browser. This is the kind of heavyweight application to see coming from online recommendation services.
How will bank customers feel about having their personal and financial details thrown into the collective pot for analysis of recommendations to other customers? We think it may take some getting used to, but that kind of information is undoubtedly being aggregated inside of banks already. The prospect of allowing users to benefit directly from their collective data is an appealing one.
Will the recommendations offered all point crudely toward buying more services from the bank? Given the huge war chest that Strands commands and the caliber of hires they've made over the last year, we hope that the company's banking recommendations and observations will prove truly useful and engaging for customers and not just for the bank's bottom line.
Only time will tell, but we've said for some time that in a world drowning in data - powerful recommendation technologies that help point towards personally meaningful information have huge potential. Financial services are the next frontier for these experimental technologies and we hope that Strands will disclose statistics in time demonstrating the impact their service had on the financial lives of users around Europe.
Disclosure: Strands is a RWW sponsor.