In the heart of Silicon Valley which booms with innovation, Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank has announced the developing and testing of a new mobile application for conversational commerce - Sberbank Messenger.

Increasing consumer engagement

Sberbank has developed Sberbank Messenger which represents a multifunctional platform for communications and financial transactions.  The platform allows seamless interaction between several categories of users, including personal communication and business - all under one roof and available as an app for mobile devices.

Cointelegraph spoke with a team of developers who worked on the application and emphasized its multifunctionality.  The app allows users not only interact, but also make financial transactions with each other without the need for a separate application. Developing an application Sberbank considered both the time and energy which are usually spent searching for information about certain service or a product online. Thus, Sberbank Messenger saves users’ time by granting an access to thousands of products and services, as well as information about them, which is available directly from providers, manufacturers and other users.

Smart search

Among several functions Sberbank Messenger offers its users  to run a smart search. The function is grounded on two types of technologies.  The first one recognizes the interest area of the user’s request by asking a few additional questions in a natural language, while another technology selects the most relevant service providers, based on the information about the user, mainly data about previous transactions.

For both of these technologies, solutions created by Rubbles are being tested.

Multi-layered security

Developing mobile applications Sberbank prioritises safety and data security, thus Sberbank’s crew of developers has introduced the first online banking mobile application with a built-in strong  antivirus component.

Security checkpoints incorporated in Sberbank Messenger range from a thorough moderation process and careful feedback and rankings, to integration of blockchain technology, which secures the platform from any risks of scamming or fraud.

Sberbank Messenger was designed to leverage the fast growing area of conversational commerce, creating a space where consumers can interact with friends, family members, colleagues and business partners, as well as local service providers in one platform.

Participants and visitors of Finovate Spring which took place on 10-11 May were among the first to see the presentation of the app.

Finovate showcases technology side of fintech

Finovate is a conference series which focuses on financial technology. Topics covered at the events range from bit rewards, alternative payments, P2P lending, security solutions, mobile apps, and next-generation online banking platforms.

Finovate showcases the best among new financial and banking technologies.  Competition among applicants is rather high. Therefore, novelty of the product, its originality and potential are put at the core in the selection process of the participants. Sberbank Messenger was chosen from 800 global banks and fintech companies offering their product applications to be presented at the Conference.

Vladimir Stasevich, the mobile products lead of Sberbank’s Bank XXI, says to Cointelegraph:

“Sberbank has been actively working on the development of conversational commerce technologies before, however, we have not presented a completed product anywhere yet”.

The audience at Finovate conferences consists of high-impact senior financial and banking executives, venture capitalists, press, industry analysts, bloggers, regulators, and entrepreneurs.

Vladimir Stasevich says:

“Finovate is a number 1 financial innovations platform. Unfortunately, at the moment no similar events take place in Russia, therefore it did not take long to make a decision about showcasing Sberbank Messenger at Finovate. We would like to get feedback from other fintech experts as it would allow us to re-evaluate and moderate our approach. We would not be able to get feedback from top-level fintech experts anywhere else.”

Sberbank intends to test new modes of interaction with customers through Sberbank Messenger.

It is planning to explore more thoroughly people’s behavioral patterns in messengers and chats, and apply these findings for the development of other Sberbank’s products and services.

Vladimir Stasevich, Mobile products lead of Sberbank’s Bank XXI

Future of blockchain in Russia

In Russia, blockchain technology has lately demonstrated a high potential for its development. At the moment many banks, including The Central Bank of the Russian Federation, as well as government financial agencies and departments, are focusing their attention on development of real-life applications of this technology. Certain priorities in directions of its development and application are visible - from scenarios applied in secured data exchange to the exchange of assets, including digital assets.

Katerina Frolovicheva, Managing Director for Technology Innovation, says to Cointelegraph:

"Sberbank has made a few experiments with Blockchain and applied the technology to a business case with powers of attorney for bank accounts. Other financial institutions in Russia implemented shareholder e-voting scenario using Blockchain".

Frolovicheva says that at the moment, development of blockchain technologies in Russia goes on a rather bumpy road. She emphasizes an obvious disconnection between businesses, financial institutions, state authorities and regulatory organisations as one of the main obstacles in this process, expressing her strong belief for the need of an establishment of a partnership or a consortium.

Introduction of a universal road map would certainly unite interested parties and generally make a huge contribution into the development of blockchain technology in Russia.

Svyatoslav Ostrovskiy, Head of Sberbank’s Bank XXI Department, believes Blockchain technology will make a huge impact on the further development of the industry:

“We have put technology and innovation at the cornerstone of Sberbank strategy and are committed in using our extensive experience in digital technologies to create new products which simplify our clients’ daily experiences. We believe that in the next five years, financial technology will swing towards multifunctional trusted platforms, offering communication tools and access to a range of services. Sberbank Messenger is the pioneer and leader in this trend”.