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Westpac Group opens $4m Sydney innovation centre

Westpac Group opens $4m Sydney innovation centre

The Hive centre will be used for mobile development and other customer services

Westpac Group has unveiled an innovation centre dubbed The Hive in Kogarah, Sydney today to develop more services for its 10 million customers in Australia.

The $4 million 800-metre centre will be used by Westpac Group staff to work on a number of projects including mobile development. For example, it launched a St George mobile banking app on the Samsung Gear 2 wearable device at The Hive. If the St George app is successful, a Westpac version may be rolled out in 2015.

Other projects planned include cloud services development and 3D printing of prototypes. Westpac Group staff and industry partners, such as Telstra and IBM, will collaborate on some of these projects.

A wireless demilitarised zone, which is isolated from Westpac’s corporate network, will allow bank staff and industry partners with Internet access.

Westpac Group CEO Gail Kelly said in a statement that staff will be able to quickly test and develop ideas for new products that “set us apart from our competitors".

According to Kelly, it was the first Australian bank to introduce ATMs in 1980 and online banking in 2003.

Westpac Group COO John Arthur said The Hive would help it “constantly improve services” and respond to customer’s changing needs.

“Our customers live in a 24/7 digital world, with everything at their fingertips. They are always looking for innovative banking services. A more agile mindset will help us respond to, and anticipate, changing market needs,” he said.

Westpac Group has been contacted for more details about the Samsung Gear launch.

Read more: Westpac NZ and Samsung collaborate on digital banking innovations

In February 2014, Westpac Group general manager Harry Wendt said it was trialling a version of the St George MoneyMeter app for Google Glass and smart watches.

The iPhone version of MoneyMeter app lets users check bank balances multiple times on their iPhones without having to log onto its mobile banking service. It was launched in December 2012.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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