Inside CSC World
Download the Summer 2012 issue (PDF, 3.11 MB).
by Chris Sapardanis
In one of America’s most cash-strapped and crime-ridden cities, creative financing is funding the return of one famous policeman. An idea to build a monument to RoboCop, the part-man, part-machine sci-fi movie character, will soon become reality — and the effort behind the statue is indicative of changes sweeping across the financial services industry.
Today, a global community of consumers armed with mobile devices is redefining the relationship between customers and banks. The ensuing change is bringing about some very creative uses of money. It is enabling projects that never would have been possible before.
The idea to bring a statue of the crime-fighting icon to stand watch over the Detroit neighborhoods he patrolled in the movies began as a Tweeted suggestion to Detroit’s mayor, and then went viral in February 2011.
Some Detroiters decided to explore how far they could take the proposal by using a financing option called “crowd funding.” Crowd funding describes the process of people networking online and pooling money or other resources to support projects started by others. The RoboCop team chose Kickstarter, the largest crowd-funding platform, which boasts $200 million pledged to projects since April 2009.
But it isn’t just pop-culture sculpture that can benefit from this alternative financial service. Crowd funding helps technology innovators who otherwise lack enough capital to bring their ideas to market.
In May, the Pebble e-paper watch for iPhone and Android became the most-funded project in Kickstarter history, gaining more than $10 million in pledges, after asking for $100,000. It took the RoboCop crew in Detroit a few weeks to generate $67,436 to build the statue, after asking for $50,000, and building is under way.
Consumers everywhere are supplementing traditional financial services or bypassing them altogether. In our cover story, “The Connected Consumer,” CSC World speaks with Patrick Molineux, the researcher behind the Leading Edge Forum’s new report about the evolving financial services industry. The report examines changes driven by mobility, microfinance, media and mining.
Also in this issue, we hear how “The Constantly Connected Customer” is adding mobile devices to the retail shopping experience in stores without the shopkeepers’ blessing. These customers are using their own devices and apps to gather information about products, brands, pricing and availability.
In “The War for Your Digital Wallet,” we explore how companies are vying to meet the needs of these consumers. The battle extends beyond traditional financial services companies, since a wide range of companies are looking for a piece of this rapidly expanding pie.
The Connected Consumer is a global phenomenon. In “Mobile Money Can Deposit Great Change in Emerging Markets,” we see further implications. In developed countries, mobile phones are just another way to access traditional banking, but in emerging markets, the effect of “mobile money” is monumental.
Chris Sapardanis is editor of CSC World.