Technology: Going with and beyond the hype
People complain about hype, but it’s often incredibly useful. Often a “buzz” around something is a good way to find the best film, the best restaurants, or even the best fintech technologies.
What we’re really annoyed about is overhype, when the movie or meal turns out to be way blander than expected, or even just unavailable. Technologies are a little like the tentpole superhero blockbusters that set out their release schedules years in advance. Are we really supposed to get excited now for something that will be released in four years?
But there’s also underhype—if we’re stretching the cinema metaphor, this is the Sundance winner that never really gets the box office attention it deserves. It could have a profound impact… but it doesn’t as no one really pays it much attention.
"Fintech is not really a revolution and more of an ongoing process. For its continued success it needs to adapt and embrace new technologies, not just the ones that made the initial fintech decade possible."
We’re often warned about the dangers of hype, but our recent Fintech 5X5 Report shows that AI, APIs, blockchain, edge computing and low-code will change fintech over the next five years. And all have a unique story to tell about how different the popular narrative is from their reality.
APIs are here now but will continue to change the fintech sector through embedding services and integrations. AI is seen as a future technology but is part of many fintechs right now. Blockchain has found its place in many businesses, yet has a reputation as being a solution without a problem. Low-Code is at least part of the solution to the problem of a lack of developers, yet it doesn’t yet have the hype it deserves. And Edge Computing is perhaps too technical to have cut through, but its advantages will become better understood in time.
Fintech has been described as a revolution, which brings with it an idea of an instant change—an overnight coup that sees the old guard exiled (or worse) and the new upstarts in charge. But fintech is an ongoing change in the financial services industry. It means new ways of doing things and it means a different approach to technology.
Technological change is never done, and the fintech sector needs to keep this in mind with its approach to new technologies. “Looking beyond the hype” is more than a simple platitude. There is a need to look at the merits of technologies and their applications with an eye not just on today but on tomorrow. There needs to be an understanding of not only the technology but what it can enable. And there has to be an openness to change as technologies become cheaper, more practical and simply better.