“Nothing distracts the public of a countless string of market-fixing scandals than a great marketing scheme.” This must have been what British multinational banking and financial services firm Barclays idea when they created plans to commence 20 high-tech labs at their banking branches this year. Equipped with laser cutters and 3D printing equipment, Barclays Eagle Labs are being pitched as a means of assisting local businesses and encouraging entrepreneurship in universities and schools.
The program can see these various types of labs installed throughout Barclays branches with each unit created to suit the local community, meaning which each one can be various. Trained staff at each location, dubbed “digital eagles”, can tutorial users in the use of the innovation there. With laser cutters and 3D printing equipment, the labs and their staff can aid businesses and entrepreneurs in designing and prototyping ideas, without the require to outsource the work otherwise. Ashok Vaswani, chief executive at the Barclays UK retail division, elaborates, “All businesses are, at a few level, struggling with the digital revolution. We’re providing space where they can come in and free their thinking.”
The Eagle Labs program is in fact not new, it turns out. In 2014, the banking giant installed its initially lab in their old branches in Brighton, after successful pilot testing in Bournemouth and Cambridge. According to John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, the pilot did indeed assist the local community. “The early take-up has been encouraging and our aim is for most local individuals, businesses and entrepreneurs to use this new facility,” Beesley says.
How a company which has, year after year, been discovered guilty of rigging various types of markets and financial instruments (Libor in 2012, the US electricity market in 2013, and the price of gold and foreign exchange rates in 2014) is yet in business is beyond me, but they are. And for the reason they are, you can now head to your local branch for the same firm which inadequately supervised mutual fund transactions to supervise you while you handle a laser cutter.