Apartment of the Future

We were invited to the 2018 SingularityU South Africa Summit by Liberty Group held at the Kyalami International Convention Centre between 15 and 16 October 2018. Liberty’s main objective at the Summit was to get people thinking about the future through the company’s Apartment of the Future installation. We had the opportunity to have a conversation with Liberty Divisional Director: Group & Marketing – Killy Bacela about the future.

GG: How is Liberty accommodating the young people and what the youth want financially and in their living spaces? What will the future look like?

Killy Bacela: Firstly, the Singularity agenda; to future proof, Africa resonates with Liberty and that’s why we are strategic partners. Secondly, we put the customer at heart of what we do and we consider customer needs whether current or future. Which gives us a good sense of how we can develop products that will future proof Africa. We also consider individuals at every moment of their journey, as people we are constantly evolving, due to influences such as digitalization.

GG: I’m from Alex and the prevalent trend seems to be many people moving into the neighbourhood because the area is surrounded by suburbs. Since there are more people coming, people are building up. We are starting to see areas looking like a Brazilian Favela. Does Liberty consider people from those areas as part of their target market or are you more focused on the affluent areas?

Killy Bacela: In terms of our products, insurance, and investment, we look at the consumers, it doesn’t matter where you are from. Your needs for yourself and your family inform the Liberty product offering. Liberty’s presence at Singularity indicates our commitment to gain insights, and inspiration to utilise tech tools that will facilitate for better living in the future.

Our intention with the Liberty Apartment of the Future is to get people thinking about what their spaces might look like in 2035. More people are moving into urban areas, which means that people will likely have space constraints. We want people to know that you can have a vertical garden that can help give you fresh air, grow vegetables/plant your food even in your confined space. Recent studies indicate that people are going to live longer, which will force people to think about how they will prepare for the future. As Liberty, we are developing future proof products and solutions for our consumers that will assist them to realise their goals.

GG: Regarding financial stability, do you have solutions for the mass market such as stokvels and how this kind of solutions will look like in the future?

Killy Bacela: That’s exactly why we are here, to find out what will impact consumers. We can’t look at our consumers in isolation, we need a holistic view that will inform our financial solution approach for our market. At Liberty, we strive to consider the consumer: who they are and what their needs are, what are their desires for themselves and their families.

GG: We’ve seen consumers at Marvin, they evolve and their needs change over time. Do you have ways to accommodate life changes, the shift from being a corporate employee to an entrepreneur? And with the current economic climate do you consider when individuals need to downscale on costs?

Killy Bacela: This is an important question, at Liberty we consider every moment of our customer’s journey and we know that our customers are different. We take into account the various phases that our customers experience throughout their journeys.

GG: How are you educating consumers regarding the options that are in place with the various changes consumers go through?

Killy Bacela: Education is an important aspect of our business. We have financial advisors that help consumers, understand individuals and recommend solutions that best suit their needs.

GG: Is Liberty aware of the current and future generation, are you hearing what is happening on the ground in terms what the different demographics want?

Killy Bacela: Research is at the heart of what we do, our business was founded on insights which have permeated through the years in offering financial freedom to our customers. Through Singularity, we will be able to draw the best in thought leadership to plough back into our business. We will be able to assess emerging concepts so that we will be able to implement these into our product offerings and give our customers what they need.

People don’t usually view financial services in a favourable manner purely because they don’t know. A lot is in place, the information is there. People can connect about products and solutions, facilities are available and the best person to speak to is a financial advisor about the best solution for you.