Consumers and companies are taking an active interest in cryptocurrencies, but there is clearly a long way to go before their eventual role in personal and business finance is fully realised. To some degree, a lack of broader awareness of what cryptocurrencies have to offer is holding the industry back. But so too is a lack of joined up thinking within some projects.
“Very few of the 2,000 or so cryptocurrencies operating have a truly business-like operational structure and a hierarchy that ensures they make good strategic decisions,” says Rowan Stone, director of business development for cryptocurrency ZenCash. “All these digital currencies are still in the phase of the geeks – too complicated and clunky for many to use. People are starting to realise that by fixing this we can make traditional finance efficient.”
A revolution in data is enabling insurers to predict risk precisely, empowered by businesses’ digital footprint gathered from property and operational monitoring systems. Insurers can also use the technology to identify trends and help clients prevent accident “events”, reducing the frequency and severity of claims.
Sensors linked to the internet of things enable information to be drawn from within organisations and workplaces, then fed into businesses’ and insurers’ risk management systems. The technology works by sensing everything from air conditioning, heat, water and electricity, to movement of workers and the operation of lorries, planes and ships. Underwriters can then analyse risk continuously, predict events and understand the cause of claims.
The use of stolen identity data is on the increase. In the first quarter of 2018, more fraud attacks were noted than in the same period for each of the last three years, with a particularly large volume of automated attacks, according to the latest ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report.
As breaches increase, Europe and the United States are no longer the only especially large cybercrime zones. South America has become a hub for new account origination fraud and Southeast Asia is witnessing large amounts of identity spoofing. In addition, the proliferation of mobile usage has led to an expanding weak security point in new account creations via mobile phones.
Saudi Arabia is using data-driven technology to improve the transparency of its government bodies, drawing from masses of publicly available information to assess their performance.
Fresh from Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to the UK, in which the leader met British prime minister Theresa May, the Queen, and blue chip business chiefs, his country is taking tech-enabled steps to transform transparency and efficiency. It is also offering the methodologies to other nations by making its tech tools open access.
The cloud creates immediate operational benefits and enables longer-term strategic development, especially among organizations with more than half of their infrastructure and apps in the cloud
Businesses heading to the cloud recognise the huge opportunity for monetising data, increasing operational efficiency and business collaboration, and fostering innovation. Businesses with the highest cloud provision now say they in research that they are experiencing much deeper transformative value — including increased customer satisfaction.
Four megatrends shaping societal evolution are rapid urbanisation, shifting demographics, hyper-globalisation and accelerated innovation.
The United Nations expects that by mid-century close to 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities and by 2030 more than 1.4 billion people could be aged over 60. Within eight years, there will be ten times more data generated worldwide, according to IDC.
Many businesses are focused on digital transformation and improving processes to step up how they predict and serve customer needs. They are counting on the cloud to help them achieve this, already confident of its flexible and affordable benefits in their organisation.
But that achievement is still threatened by lingering, information-based challenges. In 2018, organisations want to dig more deeply into their information to improve their decision-making, but they still struggle with data silos, so they have a wealth of information trapped within departments.
The National Health Service faces the severe counter forces of a quickly growing and ageing population, and tightly restricted funds for treatment. Trusts across the country are subsequently going through extensive change to meet efficiency targets and evolve the NHS into an organisation that prevents ill-health rather than reactively treats diseases.
During this time, there is a strong push to improve care from GP surgeries to hospitals and community facilities. “A key element of health organisations’ success is supplying clinical and administrative staff with the right information at the right time, enabled by technology,” explains Shane Tickell, chief executive at technology firm IMS MAXIMS.
A banking revolution is coming in January. “Open banking” will allow customers to share their financial data between banks, allowing the creation of new types of smart banking services. Big banks initially thought they would lose customers to start-ups better able to adapt to the new age - but increasingly they see it as a unique digital opportunity.
HSBC is positioning itself at the forefront of the change. In October, it announced a move into open banking with HSBC Beta, a trial that will allow 10,000 UK customers to see accounts from different banks on a single screen, before a broader rollout.
This year is a critical time for sales managers and their teams, and several key factors are combining to make it so. New use of data, personalisation and scientific skillsets are playing an increasingly important role; in a few years’ time selling may even be more about science than art.
In the near future, there will be significant change, starting with sales reps being automatically monitored and having their activities analysed.
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