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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WIG - SMS and User Interface Combined

On Monday I wrote a post for Mobile Money & Banking titled “Deciphering Mobile Banking Terminology.” If you have not had a chance to read it, or the other posts that I’ve written for that site, you can access them here.

The next day I received an email from Christo Vrey, General Manager – Digital Channels, for ABSA. In the email, Christo mentioned that I had overlooked a term that is frequently used for SMS technology in South Africa – WIG.

The unfortunate part of the story is that I didn’t accidentally overlook the term. The truth is that I didn’t even know it existed. So, I picked up the phone and started making calls to see who could fill me in, but it didn’t take long to figure out that I wasn’t alone - no one else had heard of WIG either.

Now, typically it’s not a big deal to discover an obscure technology used half way around the world, but WIG is different. It’s an intriguing concept, because it seems to marry together two different channels to create a very unique offering. On the front-end you have a client-friendly interface, which some will argue is the missing component of traditional SMS mobile banking. Then, on the back-end you have the ubiquity of SMS, which some will argue is the missing component of Rich UX applications.

So I kept searching for information but I couldn’t help but wonder, “why haven’t I heard of this solution before now?”

Then, one of my contacts came through. He had made some calls to his engineers overseas and learned that the offering implemented at ABSA is actually not offered by a mobile banking vendor. In fact, it’s not even offered in the United States. It turns out that the solution that has been developed and launched by a carrier in South Africa!

I promise that’s not the end of the story, but that’s all the information that I have been able to gather to this point. I’ve sent an email to our new friend in South Africa with the hope of learning more, but currently it’s 2:00 a.m. tomorrow morning (Wednesday) in Johannesburg, Africa.

Stay tuned for more…

Click here to read more about WIG Cell Phone Banking at ABSA

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