November 23rd, 2017
Team @ Kerala IT

THE RISE OF COGNITIVE BANKING

Blockchain, Artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive technologies are creating new opportunities for the finance industry. In an industry where insight and information is crucial, the focus is now on investing in technology and resources that aid in complex problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity to meet customer expectations in a timely manner and provide tailored products and services. Banks are embracing the latest technologies—ranging from blockchain, cloud computing, cognitive computing, and the Internet of Things, to machine learning and more—to understand the needs of customers and service them.

For the banking sector, investing in cognitive technology is a given and a necessity to retain their competitiveness. Cognitive technology helps banks to make sense of data for providing a range of services that include customer experience and fulfilment, cyber security, risk management, and compliance. Therefore, the financial services business is now transforming into a cognitive business.

How do Cognitive Systems work?

In financial service companies, cognitive systems use the unstructured data present in industry reports, investment advisories, financial news, and other party sources to offer customised solutions based on individual needs and requirements of customers. In other words, financial service companies can target individuals to deliver the right product, thereby increasing the chances of sales conversion. Cognitive systems apply predictive analysis to determine an individual’s characteristic requirements from social media, messages, and other available content. Once the persona of an individual is shaped, data analysis helps to determine the customer type, and assists the advisor in making decisions.

Impact on Processes

Previously, only humans could perform certain tasks with some degree of autonomy; now, cognitive technologies are able to do that and more. Over the years, cognitive technologies have matured to perform the following tasks -

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  • Analysing Numbers: Cognitive technologies help analysing numbers in structured formats. Simple algorithmic methods help in creating variables and models that best fit to a data set. Complex cognitive methods can learn from labeled data to determine strategies that may come in handy during complex business situations; for instance, fraud detection and personalised marketing.

 

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  • Analysing Images & Words: This key aspect of cognition is no longer a realm of human intervention. A wide variety of tools analyse words and images, and do more: words are read, counted, classified, interpreted, and predicted. This has been possible through technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, neural networks, deep learning, and so forth.

 

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  • Performing Digital tasks: Automating administrative tasks and decisions often is best handled by cognitive technologies. As there are thousands of such tasks to perform in the financial sector, cognitive tools perform the required tasks to move a ‘case’ through a logical series of workflow steps. Banks and insurance companies use it for back-office customer service tasks such as replacing a lost ATM card, processing claims, and handling payments etc.

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  • Performing Physical tasks: Robots come with cognitive abilities for more intelligence and greater ability to make decisions. When loaded with deep learning software, robots can analyse processes, perform tasks within processes, and make learning predictions of what is most likely to satisfy a customer.

Customer demand is fundamentally changing traditional business models with technology-driven peer-to-peer lending services, online banking, and DIY portfolio management companies. Competition is fierce to deliver timely and tailored products to customers, and companies are embracing different financial technologies as new means to engage with customers.

November 16th, 2017
Team @ Kerala IT

IoT – Powering the Transformation of Business

While most smart buildings are managed by an integrated software application, usually known as the Building Management System (BMS), the Internet of Things (IoT) offers stakeholders the durable insight and control required for further value creation, customisation, and cost control. IoT has redefined the relationship between physical and digital environments. This results in buildings that can communicate, identify risks, and address inefficiencies—all automatically performed to our desired standards.
What is a ‘Smart’ building?

Today, smart building solutions connect devices and sensors to the cloud, use analytics and artificial intelligence for addressing risks or inefficiencies, and communicate with users. IoT performs all of these with a network of connections that automatically senses and responds to changes in physical environments—from lighting to biometrics. With insight into operations, resource management, space utilisation and productivity, stakeholders can take proactive actions, optimise usage, and rationalise processes.

Benefits of ‘Smart’ Buildings

1) Improved Use of Resources – IoT solutions provide you with valuable insights and patterns of resource usage. This helps businesses to become proactive and tackle unplanned downtime. Prioritisation of tasks is easier with these solutions.

2) Reduced Consumption of Energy – Energy consumption can be checked and optimised to requirement. With real-time visibility into usage of resources, these solutions help in controlling consumption and optimising usage. Through the use of automation and Artificial Intelligence, we can ensure that our devices operate only when necessary, thereby reducing wastage.

3) Efficient Utilisation of Space – IoT solutions leverage sensors and devices to improve space usage, through the use of heat maps and other sensors. Smart building solutions are capable of using intelligence and automation capabilities to learn behaviours and preferences. This greatly helps businesses to provide a supportive environment that caters to the needs of employees and other personnel present.

4) Effective Personalisation of Environments – As IoT connects people, devices and locations, smart buildings have more flexibility in determining the nature and quantum of value served to users. A major aspect of value addition includes personalised assistance based on user preferences and activities, going way beyond proximity-based automation that most BMS’ offer.

With IoT connectivity, users have the ability to interact with a device or sensor from a remote location. IoT presents numerous opportunities and allows users the flexibility to experiment and iterate at a smaller level. Once a solution is tested, it can be scaled up and even globally distributed.

Marching towards Smart Cities

Kerala’s initiative to earmark its commercial capital, Kochi, as a hub for IoT has set in motion a vibrant ecosystem for early adoption of the technology in sectors such as governance, infrastructure, transport, welfare and civic services, etc. Multiple sectors collaborate and work in tandem for sustainable outcomes. Based on the sectors involved, IoT undertakes the analysis of both contextual and real-time information, and streamlines operational technology systems.

Figure 1: Innovative services in IoT will drive the development of allied ecosystems within a city. (Source: https://iotweek.blob.core.windows.net)

This multi-sector adoption of IoT enables smart cities to interact and engage with citizens, providing value and personalised assistance. For instance, sensors in bus bays can help in identifying people with special needs, alert the bus driver, and communicate to the passenger about the approximate time of the vehicle’s arrival. Apart from personalised attention and value creation, IoT can help reduce the cost of energy, resources, and maintenance by up to 30 percent. In about a year’s time, large commercial sones, industrial parks, and gated communities will turn to IoT services for meeting all their requirements.

For businesses, IoT presents both disruptive and transformational potential. They have no choice about whether to embrace IoT or not. The coming days will witness increased Smart Digitalisation across sectors—healthcare, transportation, agriculture, etc. as IoT adoption is the only way forward for society.


November 6th, 2017
Team @ Kerala IT

5 BENEFITS OF TELECOMMUTING

Smartphones and connectivity have not only made mobile workspaces possible but also ensured increased levels of productivity even outside office. Mobile working is no longer a trend practiced by the cash-strapped startups or global conglomerates: it is now a necessity and an asset in enterprises of all sizes across industries. By adopting mobile strategies, businesses are able to extend their operations, reach to potential new clients, improve response rates, and gather real-time insight and reports.

Thanks to its rapid strides in infrastructure development and connectivity, Kerala is looking forward to tapping these businesses to invest in the state. By stressing on its human capital, infrastructure and locational advantages, Kerala highlights its potential for offering a more harmonised work environment. With changing work patterns and business requirements, companies have a strong desire for providing a real quality of life in office environment, especially because the thin red line between professional and personal lives continues to slim. Let’s take a look at how telecommuting and mobility creates opportunities for business -

1.Improvement in Communication & Collaboration

As telecommuting and hot desk programs are becoming the norm, many companies are offering employees more flexibility at work. This has not blunted any communication ability; instead, it has spurred global collaboration with associates, contacts and affiliates. In any given company today, the frequency of online conference calls is far higher than that of physical meetings at the workplace. Various online conferencing tools have only added to the ease and lure of collaborating from remote locations. Advancements in technology have led to a rethinking of office environments and behaviours for teamwork, including the well-being of employees.

2.Flexibility in Working Environment

By 2020, a large chuck of workforce across industries will be mobile, and this will have a positive impact on productivity. This impact will be in part due to the transparency and flexibility of telecommuting. Mobile devices allow for interaction between different stakeholders, storing and sharing information in real-time. Such levels of flexibility help in creating a more engaged workplace.

3.Reduction in Communication Overheads

The benefits of mobility in the workplace go beyond increased productivity and enhanced communication to create a reduction in overhead costs, as reports state that mobility helps companies save up to 25% in voice and data costs. With the help of one mobile device, staff can access company data, send emails, reserve meeting spaces and do a lot more than our older, bulky PCs, desk phones, and hardware could.

4.IoT-enabled Personalisation in Environment

With IoT, companies are able to meet the requirements of both the customers and workforce with a high-level of personalisation. Ignoring this trend will cost organisations not only in productivity but also in the loss of the industry’s best and brightest talents. In fact, it is becoming more commonplace for staff to consider mobile policies, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, when choosing which company to work for.

5.Increased in Revenue Potential

Mobility fosters interactions among all stakeholders, thus giving the required impetus for employee empowerment and customer engagement. It also helps in resolving customer issues in near real-time, helping organisations to reach higher levels of success and growth.

For ensuring the success of their mobility strategies, organisations must consider including mobile devices, applications, cloud-enabled services, and software in their workflow. Mobility will help in addressing operational issues, managing organisational challenges, automating routine processes, and ensuring real-time reporting.

October 30th, 2017
Team @ Kerala IT

Self-Driving Cars, Heading Our Way

What are self-driving vehicles?

Self-driving cars are robotic vehicles capable of navigating to a destination without human assistance. Although most of these cars do well under controlled environment, they do require a human in the driver’s seat to take control at any time. These vehicles use a variety of advanced control systems to identify the environment and interpret information.

How do self-driving cars work?

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The driver sets a destination on the car’s system, which then calculates the best possible routes and seeks your sign-off.

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High-precision sensors do a 60-meter range scan of the current environment and relay the information to the car. This creates a dynamic 3D map.

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Sensors on the wheels detect the car’s position and other objects relative to the 3D map. Radar systems on the anterior and posterior sides continuously calculate distances of vehicles, pedestrians, etc.

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The car’s system controls the speed and navigation based on dynamic inputs from the sensors and radars.

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Fully automatic braking system is integrated within the car’s intelligence unit.

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A manual override function helps the driver to take control of the vehicle when circumstances demand.

Benefits of Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving vehicles are defining the future of mobility in many developed societies. The advantages offered by this vehicle technology are so critical that they are influencing the future of transport.

  • These vehicles can be programmed to follow traffic rules and help in reducing accidents.
  • Programmable driving makes traffic conditions are more predictable; in other words, you can reach your destination at the scheduled time due to smoother traffic and less congestion.
  • This technology helps in creating a cleaner, safer and more efficient system of transportation.

Although self-driven cars have long been shown in sci-fi movies, major developments have taken place in this technology that some nations have passed legislation to allow such vehicles to operate legally on public roads. This technology, now embraced by all major corporations, has the backing of governments as well, a factor that will make self-driving cars more commonplace.

October 19th, 2017
Team @ Kerala IT

Smart Homes For Smarter Living

It is not uncommon these days to find ‘fully connected’ homes. From Smart TVs to IoT-enabled refrigerators that automatically communicate with you or the grocery store, the range of gadgets that simplify life is continuously growing. For instance, a large number of retailers are embracing the use of IoT to bring consumers and brands together. Homeowners have learnt that a simple click is all they need to switch off the TV, open the garage door, start the car, order a pizza and do a lot more; remote-control living at its best! However, the future of smart-home technology is in the process of a silent revolution where the focus is no longer on newer gadgets or appliances, but on building homes fitted with integrated smart products instead.

 Integrated Smart Homes

The world is abuzz about personal assistant devices connecting homes to a virtual assistant. Within the next year or so, residents can wirelessly control all home devices that are connected to a central bridge. Users can already monitor home security, climate, and lights, and do a lot more. The potential of this revolutionary technology continues to grow as the world turns towards an automated future.

 Benefits of Smart Homes

1. Convenience

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The primary incentive behind investing in Smart Homes is the added convenience offered by it. Equipped with a simply remote control, users gain access to a wide variety of systems, including temperature control, communication devices, or multimedia devices, located throughout the home. With the help of integrated hard drives, homeowners can enjoy full connectivity with the rest of the home, streamlining daily tasks and making things easier.

2. Security

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Smart Homes provide users with a sophisticated security systems, fully equipped with cameras, motion sensors, and the additional feature of notifying local authorities or private security companies of threats. Smart Homes make use of biometrics or electronic key cards instead of conventional locks, making it more difficult for break-ins to occur.

3. Accessibility

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For elderly or disabled users, Smart Homes provide increased accessibility by using Voice-command technology. These Voice-command Systems are capable of controlling lighting, locking and unlocking doors, and using other devices. Home automation provides individuals with the ability to set a schedule for routine chores like watering the lawn, saving them the effort of having to perform these laborious tasks on a daily basis.

4. Efficiency

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Smart Homes are capable of improving energy-efficiency through careful, measured usage of appliances. Motion sensors help conserve energy by shutting off the lights in vacated rooms, while temperature regulation can adjust according to outdoor temperatures and user preferences. These automated tasks, combined with advanced, energy-efficient appliances of today, help preserve the environment by reducing the amount of electricity, water and natural gas used.

5. Resale

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 At the point of resale, Smart Homes are considerably more valuable as they are already fitted with the latest in modern technology. Users can share their personal experience with these Smart Home technologies, and can explain them to potential buyers. If interested in future resale of a property, Home Automation should be considered as a worthwhile investment into an already valuable asset.