Check out the pitch video!


Over the weekend of 17th-19th June, IBMers from across the business came together to hack a disruptive banking solution for the Royal Bank of Scotland at their campus location in Edinburgh. Team LightHouse, consisting of Maxine Mackie, Christopher Hay, Ellie Lee, Daniel Cunnington and 4 days into his IBM placement Nader Issa met for the first time on Friday. We were challenged to create a solution that disrupts financial services whilst providing a benefit to both the customer and the bank.


We won first place!! Team LightHouse made it through the heats to the final presentations, where we presented to RBS Executives, including the CEO of Personal and Business Banking Les Matheson. We've shown the world that IBM have fresh ideas and that there is a bright, enthusiastic generation working at IBM.

Story and Ideation

Starting from a broad brief, Team LightHouse applied IBM Design Thinking to create a solution that provides independence, control and security for vulnerable members of society. Take Agnes, one of our user personas; Agnes is 81 years old, lives alone and has dementia. She often shops in the same stores, but she is worried that she is vulnerable to fraud and embezzlement. Mary, Agnes’ daughter worries about her mum every day and wants to help Agnes secure her finances without taking away her independence.

As a result of IBM Design Thinking, Team LightHouse created a solution that allows Mary to specify a geo location or geo fence in which Agnes can spend her money. Mary uses the map to identify a specific store or high street and can also enter a specific amount.

How it works

Once Agnes enters the specified location, detected by a simple wearable device, smartphone or NFC chip embedded in a debit card, the money is transferred from Mary’s account into Agnes’ account. Agnes then has the independence to spend the money on whatever she likes within the store. Once Agnes leaves the store or the geo fenced area, the money is transferred from Agnes’ account back to Mary’s. This means that when Agnes is walking in public outside of the specified area, she can be confident and safe in the knowledge that if someone steals her debit card, there will be no money in her account.

To implement and demonstrate our solution we created a dashboard running on IBM Bluemix. Agnes’ location is detected through the use of a wearable device or smartphone as described earlier and pushed to the cloud using the IBM Watson IoT Platform. This allows the IBM Bluemix application to determine if Agnes is inside or outside of the specified geo fence. We also demonstrated a payment being made with a contactless debit card and an NFC reader. We used the BlueBank API’s provided by RBS to transfer money between the accounts in real time.

Extensions and horizons

The concept of restricting payments to a specified location has many potential opportunities. For example, parents could use a similar technique to control the spending of their children (ensuring they really do buy a cinema ticket instead of cigarettes or alcohol) or the solution could even be extended to less economically developed countries where occurrences of fraud and embezzlement is more common. The data generated by this application would allow for powerful machine learning angles, utilising IBM Watson to provide greater business intelligence. Imagine the possibilities of the data generated from LightHouse- from understanding long term behaviour differences to immediate notifications if Agnes doesn’t go to the store for her daily newspaper or cafe for her morning tea. We believe we can provide piece of mind to carers living away from their elderly parents and infer incremental behavioural changes to suggest when Agnes might want to see a Doctor for a check up.

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