Financial Times

Sri Lanka's banking technology leads region

By Jagdish Harthiramani

Sri Lankan banking is at the forefront of banking technology in the region, according to Rajkumar Natarajan, Vice President of Cisco Systems India. Mr. Natarajan, who oversees Cisco's operations in Chennai and Sri Lanka, was speaking exclusively to the Sunday Times FT on the sidelines of a recent Cisco event showcasing the next generation of Financial Services Industry products for the local market.

Highlighting Cisco's track record to date in Sri Lanka, he further stated that "deployments done here are world class", especially those in the banking, financial services and small and medium enterprise sectors, and gave examples of his company's work with Dialog on their Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) network as well as on Sri Lanka Telecom’s Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network.

Meanwhile, Mr. Natarajan, who says he visits Sri Lanka monthly, also indicated that his most recent visit was all about talking up the benefits of next generation banking to local chief executives as well as others responsible for asset and liability management in the Retail Banking sphere.

This is because of trends by the industry which now emphasize customer experience more, according to Mr. Natarajan; a factor that has changed the face of today's banking industry. As such, Cisco products currently highlighted include the company's 'innovative branch' solutions, which offers features like ‘self-service terminals’ at branches using the Cisco Internet Protocol (IP) phone's video facilities, ‘personalized multimedia marketing’ and premium services based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology as well as remote consultations with the investment advisers, etc. using Cisco's telepresence facilities, etc.

Also, there were a host of other products showcased, including Meetingplace Express, Video Telephony, Softphone client, IPCC Express, DMS, 7921 wireless phone and IP Surveillance. All intended to improving customer experience by providing greater bandwidth, a more personalized service and faster transaction processing for greater user convenience.

Discussing Cisco's plans for the future, Mr. Natarajan highlighted the companies increasing focus on providing advisory services, especially since product differentiations were getting 'thinner' all the time. He further championed Cisco's new products geared towards the connected real estate field, such as building management systems and green building products, an area of great potential in the future.
Explaining that proposals put forward to the government of India's Karnataka state and others for connected real estate projects had yet to be approved, Mr. Natarajan indicated that Cisco had to date completed a successful connected building project for Malaysia's YTL group.

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