News Column

Credit Union to Use 3D Technology at Branches

June 20, 2013

New banking technology that's coming to a local credit union will allow customers to connect remotely with staff physically sitting in a different location. The technology projects to the customer a life-sized image of the credit union staff person in 3D.

Middletown-based credit union MidUSA is introducing the telepresence video communication system at its Middletown and Kettering branch offices in August, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Miles said.

It will be the first credit union in the U.S. to use the technology developed by Plano, Texas-based company TelePresence Technologies LLC. It gives the sense of sitting across the desk from a financial expert, who is actually projected in a 3D, theater-like setting.

MidUSA Credit union operates six branches offices in Butler, Montgomery and Warren counties with approximately 16,000 members. Credit unions are nonprofit financial cooperatives.

"We will be able to improve the level of service that we have to our members through the use of this technology," Miles said.

"People are so busy today," Miles said. If a member customer walks into an office on any given day "they want to conduct business now," rather than scheduling an appointment for later.

The 3D video communication technology lets customers in any branch talk to the MidUSA expert they need for a nonroutine transaction immediately. Compared to video conferencing online from a laptop, for example, the users of this new technology have eye contact.

MidUSA will start testing the technology with their investment advisor. That way, the investment advisor has less down time than they would if they were driving during the business day between the six offices to meet customers, Miles said.

MidUSA also plans to use the technology to communicate to employees between offices, Miles said.

Other possible uses include developing educational content to present via the technology, such as a mortgage workshop.

"Other technologies are good at showing you the person," said Jonathan Varrassi, director of operations for TelePresence Technologies, in an interview conducted remotely from Plano, Texas, using the device.

"A telepresence allows the person to physically be in the room," Varrassi said. Consumers "want the ability to connect to people now."

Source: (c)2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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