Enter the HTML5 private utility application. Private utility apps provide users with information or the means to accomplish a task, as opposed to entertainment apps, which help us waste time (thanks, Angry Birds). They also differ from entertainment apps in that they are generally designed for a specific audience, while an entertainment app needs the widest possible audience. Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play do not best suit the needs of the companies that create, release and support utility applications like mobile banking and content providers (newspapers, magazines, etc.).
Although the HTML5 specification is not yet complete, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe and The Economist have all released HTML5-based private utility apps. The Financial Times launched its site in June 2011 and had one million subscribers by November! Here are some more statistics to chew on:
HTML5 offers some really cool benefits, all of which are important to financial institutions as they point to an improved end user experience regardless of the type of device that is used.
As previously mentioned, the specification is not yet complete. In the consortium’s rush to release the specification, it sacrificed some truly critical pieces. Critical for mobile banking, that is. For instance, HTML5 does not support Location Based Services (ATM finder). Neither does it support NFC (near field communications), meaning no bump or hover payments support. And, HTML5 is not truly browser agnostic, as was the original intent. Pages still vary from browser to browser. Anyone remember the phrase “best viewed in Internet Explorer”?
Companies like The Financial Times and The Boston Globe that have made the move to an HTML5 private utility app did so with these goals in mind:
It’s not a big leap to envision how these goals could translate to financial institutions. Think of these possibilities:
Even in its incomplete state, HTML5 is challenging the app store paradigm with the development of the private utility application. Embrace your inner propeller head, Gonzo bankers, and run do not walk to your Web developers and discuss the opportunities.
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Cornerstone’s highly experienced technology team, unmatched knowledge of industry vendors and integrated business and technology approach can help your institution define a technology vision that closely aligns with the institution’s strategic business initiatives.