Spanish bank and Microsoft create innovation lab

IT staff at Spain’s CaixaBank will work on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and the metaverse to the finance sector at a laboratory set up in partnership with Microsoft.

The hub in Barcelona will house AI experts from CaixaBank’s IT subsidiary, CaixaBank Tech, and will collaborate with Microsoft developers, data scientists and experts in machine learning, based in the software giant’s Barcelona AI hub.

As well as working on projects to apply AI to the finance sector, the two organisations plan to create a hybrid work environment in the metaverse and other immersive virtual environments for interaction between CaixaBank employees and customers.

The lab teams will test concepts, prototypes and use cases to explore how AI can disrupt financial services, and will also work to incorporate AI into routine processes, known as AI at Scale.

“These initiatives will aim to improve efficiency, customer experience, cyber security and other areas,” said a CaixaBank statement.

For example, the lab will develop a “cyber assistant” that could help employees and back-office units to reduce low-value-added tasks. It will also explore how customers and employees could communicate with the bank’s technology using plain language.

As part of the project, the companies will create metaverses to improve customer and employee experience, as well as the implementation of hybrid work environments. “The metaverse offers multiple possibilities in the financial sector, from the creation of a new interaction channel enhancing customer experience, to the creation of internal collaboration models in virtual branches, the incorporation and development of talent, and much more,” the bank said.

Luis Javier Blas Agüeros, media director at CaixaBank, said: “Uniting forces with Microsoft in further researching AI will help us to accelerate product development and give us real solutions that rely on the most innovative technology in this field, making it available to our customers and employees.”

Alberto Granados, president of Microsoft Spain, said the combination of CaixaBank’s knowledge of financial markets with Microsoft’s experience technologies will support the development of technology to transform the customer experience of financial services.

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