Are UK banks abandoning investment in the metaverse?


The allure of the Metaverse seems to be waning among UK banks, according to a new report from Hexaware Mobiquity.

The company’s Emerging Technologies in Banking Report 2023 reveals that the number of UK banks investing in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for Metaverse ventures dropped significantly—by almost a third—over the past year. Previously, 56% of UK banks had shown an interest in these technologies, but the current number stands at just 38%.

Banks are now turning their attention to different aspects of the tech spectrum. Cybersecurity tops the list of priorities for nearly a quarter (23%) of the respondents, closely followed by cloud technologies (22%) and Open Banking APIs (21%). Moreover, the study points out that UK banks are lagging behind their global counterparts in Generative AI adoption, particularly engagement with ChatGPT. Only 13% of UK banks are actively engaging with this technology, compared to 19% globally.

Hexaware Mobiquity VP Global Digital Banking, Peter-Jan Van De Venn said, “Technology is evolving extremely quickly right now, and banks must embrace the change if they want to avoid missing out on some huge opportunities. The landscape is shifting constantly, underlined by the fact that while many UK banks were exploring the Metaverse last year, the urgency of these initiatives has been superseded by more pressing requirements that have evolved over the past 12 months.”

The survey also revealed UK banks are leveraging emerging technologies to advance their ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives. A notable 41% are developing data visualisation tools to better articulate ESG risks and opportunities to stakeholders. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are also being employed by 37% to scan through vast datasets to identify ESG opportunities and risks.

Peter-Jan Van De Venn added, “Technology is playing an increasingly central role in ESG, helping banks continue to work towards their environmental and social responsibility goals. This can put them on track to address global environmental challenges, unlocking a greener future for financial services.”

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