Low-Orbit Satellites May Improve Banking for Developing World

The next era of global digital transformation may offer cheaper, more accessible internet for all, improving banking for the developing world

Will residents of the developing world thank their lucky stars as low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites start to usher in the next era of global digital transformation?

Satellite internet service is just one of several off-world infrastructures currently in development. The most high-profile is probably SpaceX’s Starlink, closely followed by a competitive pack comprising Iridium, Boeing, Orbcomm, GlobalStar Amazon, OneWeb and Telesat, among others.

If the hype is to be believed, we're rapidly moving into the next era of global digital transformation offering even cheaper, more accessible internet for all. And this connectivity breakthrough could mean greater global access to banking, ecommerce and mobile-based services for millions who today simply have no internet access.

Right now, start-up fees and a monthly subscription are already being offered. But as more adopters sign up, it's being suggested that services may be rolled out free of charge to educational establishments, hospitals, and isolated regions.

Services could be the catalyst to bring the internet to everyone. It certainly seems perfectly feasible that it can deliver high speed internet to previously inaccessible places.

With great connectivity comes great responsibility - and great opportunity

Altruism and social responsibility ideals aside, Starlink and its peers are unlocking the gateway to reaching the unconnected, unbanked and those who have never had access to online services before.

It’s a given online access is now a mandatory requirement to help drive the developing world. But in the most practical terms, high-speed internet can bring life-saving medical insight and remote care to some of the world’s most inaccessible spots, along with communication, education, and improved access to a world of opportunities.

Access to finance at the heart of helping developing economies emerge

It's part of a global drive to offer education, the analytical tools and digital technology to those previously unable to take advantage of the internet and all it has to offer.

Satellite internet's commercial trajectory could arguably be compared to where Netflix was less than 10 years ago, given there’s already a willing consumer appetite for services. The potential number of subscribers is massive. But right now, it's unclear just how many will be eventually converted to monthly users or live in areas that satellite constellations will exclusively serve.

Services designed to reach anywhere on Earth

The only limitations are expected to hinge on the relative density of users in urban areas.  Whether governments and regulators can keep up with the pace of satellite internet’s development remains to be seen. But what it does do is offer even greater commercial reach for a slew of suitably placed strategic partners with critical expertise in predictive analytics, AI, machine learning, automation and cloud-hosted technology, many of which are already serving Tier 1 clients from the world of banking, healthcare, utilities, commerce and telco.

At FICO, we’re already helping out clients realise the art of the possible by plugging them into enabling them to differentiate customer experience with analytics, AI and machine learning techniques. All of which underpin emerging technologies like 5G, connected cities and the Internet of Things. This also includes enabling our clients to provide access and services to the unconnected, unbanked and those who have never had access to any online services. Because fundamentally, it's all about putting the customer at the centre of everything — irrespective of the sector or location — to ensure their online journey is optimised to maximise growth, retention and service. To find out more, simply click here.

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