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Code Halos: How the Digital Lives of People, Things, and Organizations are Changing the Rules of Business by Ben Pring, Paul Roehrig, Malcolm Frank

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Chapter TwoThe Personal Code Halo: Press “1” for the Real You

It’s a strange and wonderful phenomenon: you’re sitting at home, or perhaps at work, and you turn to your dazzling personal computing device. Within seconds, you’re transported to a virtual yet incredibly real online world—one that’s global, yet intimate. And although the device is driven by silicon and fiber, the experience feels remarkably human. Here you find friends, share ideas, conduct commerce, and delight in moments of genuine engagement.

As more of us spend more time online, we are increasingly integrating this highly personalized virtual world into our “real” world, often greatly enhancing the experience in both environments. As this happens, we’re coming to recognize that the technologies making such an engagement possible—broadband networks, mobility, and social computing—are transforming our lives by allowing us to blend the virtual and real worlds. They alter and enhance how we connect with friends, ask for directions, collaborate with colleagues, consume media—even exercise. Personal technology has enhanced so many aspects of our personal lives.

But not how we get our cash.

You make your way to your local bank branch where you’ve been a customer for 15 years and, upon inserting your bank card in the ATM, the first thing you see is Press 1 for English. Press 2 for Spanish.

Really? This sophisticated financial services institution, with billions in assets and branches around the world, this behemoth that ...

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