Projects: ABSA’s Bank Of The Future In Suburban Johannesburg

May 14, 2013 by Dave Haynes


A little pre-dinner wander around the Clearwater shopping mall in Johannesburg Monday (here on a gig) walked me up to a bank of the future digital install that was both impressive and dumb. I had no idea it was there.

First, the impressive …

The ABSA bank (part of the Barclay’s group) has installed a long and wide video wall that runs to the back of the branch and around a corner. There are 33 55-inch displays running a full 23 meters, or roughly 70 feet. Part of a bank of the future test, the branch’s video wall does an animation of the city landscape and familiar visuals like the Nelson Mandela Bridge, Gold Reef City, Soweto’s Cooling Towers, and Absa’s business campus. Some of the office complexes here are pretty amazing in terms of design.


Now the not so good …

There is a big 3 by 3 video wall that has laser scanning to make it interactive. So you walk up to it and navigate like you would a touch screen. Unfortunately, the resolution for the content doesn’t match up with the aggregate pixels of the 3 by 4 metre wall, so it is soft and a little hard to read. Then there’s the simple matter that walking up to a wall-sized screen to navigate something like a kiosk makes very little sense.

The branch also has a 55 inch portrait screen in the promotions area (there was a car there), 6 touch screen stations for customer-staff sessions, 6 46 inch touchscreens for product education, and 2 55’s behind the teller counter showing foreign exchange rates and, probably, rugby. There is always a rugby match on some nerby TV here.

Then there are two clusters, called forests, of staggered height tablets showing new product information, updates and “did you know” stuff.

The branch was closed when I was looking so I did not get a good luck at what all was inside. It was, however, impressive except for the video wall, which badly needed a rethink and better, tuned creative.

The project was done by a company called Global Access.

ABSA is the company that put up the world’s largest LED board in Johannesburg, so there is clearly someone up high who likes this sort of thing.


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