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May 30, 2017

The New Challenge For Retailers: Delivering Online Convenience With In-Store Personalization

Posted by Aniket Maindarkar (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:20 AM

The New Challenge For Retailers: Delivering Online Convenience With In-Store Personalization

I recently caught up with Anna, a regional manager of a leading retail brand. Over coffee, our conversation steered towards the mounting pressure on retailers to focus on extracting insights to improve in-store experiences for customers. Today's shoppers - the millennials, aging baby boomers and the general affluent population - seek personalization, convenience, accessibility as well as 'shareable' experiences'. It is common knowledge that retailers need to know their customers as individuals, not by segments or even by micro-segments, to provide truly personalized service. One example is Under Armour, the popular fitness and sportswear brand. They created a host of apps, MapMyFitness to track every run, walk, hike, and gym session of a user. Endomondo motivates a user and enables them to reach their goals. And to back this up they also have MyFitnessPal, a food diary and nutrition tracker. With thousands of fitness-conscious users of these apps, Under Armour gathers huge quantities of data on their users habits and wellness lifecycle to personalize their offerings to each apparel customer.

Anna had a question: 'How do we focus on customers while addressing operational challenges?' Let me share what I told her.

While brick-and-mortar stores still account for a lion's share of the industry revenue, more shopping is happening online than ever before. In this scenario, it is imperative for customers to have a superior and personalized in-store experience, which complements their on-line experience. Retailers need to enhance their omni-channel shopping experience. We need to create a digital environment that enhances the in-store experience. It may be the reason why Amazon, the flag bearer of e-Commerce, is investing in Amazon Go, its convenience sans checkout queues and cashier.

Anna wanted to know, 'How does Amazon predict their customers will visit the store?' and 'What will drive Amazon Go?'

The crucial link between a customer's needs and experience is data. We need to accept that a shopping trip begins much before footfalls. Your shopper may have 'liked' a jacket or read reviews about the new protein supplement before walking into the store. And perhaps, has ordered the jacket online and is visiting the store to pick it up. A data-driven store with insights into lifestyle and preferences can enhance the in-store experience by presenting a real-time offer for accessories. Virtual agents can help with the customer's selection, which the shopper may double check with a friend before making the purchase.

Several retail brands are refurbishing their stores with technology since it enables them to engage with millennials while rationalizing costs. Fitting rooms and 'magic' mirrors for virtual trials allow retailers to engage shoppers, with interactive digital technology. Burberry and Sport Chek outlets provide an immersive shopping environment. Crate & Barrel's 'Mobile Tote' blends the in-store and mobile experiences by letting customers use tablets at the store to learn about products and create a wish list of items. Target is in the process of creating several new 'flex format' stores - with a unique store design and relevant, curated merchandise. These flex format stores enable shoppers to order online and pick up the items at the Target store near them, they will be able to access a larger assortment of products, self-checkout and even relax at the in-store café.

The key ingredient to making an omni-channel strategy more relevant and an in-store experience more meaningful is customer data. The best retailers spend a lot of effort understanding their customer demographics and micro-merchandising. Some grocery retailers even change their assortment of products every 3 miles. The 'right' data delivers the right product at the right price to each customer. Costco and Trader Joes have an aggressive pricing strategy and a few stock keeping units but their sales are high volume and it is the right pricing and that element of surprise that keeps them competitive, growing and loved by their customers.

In-store personalization encourages impulse buying. However, to convert an opportunity into actual sale, you should identify the persona of customers, understand their requirements in real time, and offer contextual recommendations while they are still in the store. Advanced analytical platforms with machine learning and artificial intelligence enable hyper personalization. In this case, data is stored on every product purchased by an individual shopper on every trip to the store. This would amount to a huge quantity of data at the product and category level, location where it was purchased, and frequency at which it was bought. It would also require a fair bit of computing power to calculate a brand loyalty score and discount propensity score, but would give retailers invaluable intelligence on each shopper so that offers can be timed and personalized to the day. In turn, retailers can plan sales and project returns.

TJX, Costco and Trader Joes thrive on an element of surprise. Customers don't know what they will find at the store and how long a product is going to be there. This effort of the retailer to stay relevant keeps shoppers returning to their brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers should also integrate the seamlessness of digital commerce with the in-store shopping experience. Physical spaces should deliver tangible value. A counter for return and exchange of products bought online is an opportunity for on-premise personalization, upsell and cross sell. Dedicated space for in-store pick up of online orders is a must until the Amazon Go (no) checkout model becomes a success.

I told Anna that the key to staying relevant would be to combine the convenience of online shopping with the amenities and experiences associated with the brick and mortar retail formats - food for thought until we meet again.

May 23, 2017

Role of Empathetic Problem Finding in the Digital Age

Posted by Rajesh K. Murthy (View Profile | View All Posts) at 2:49 PM

Role of Empathetic Problem Finding in the Digital Age

When I read about all the fantastic innovations being developed across the world, I sometimes wonder if someday we will run out of relevant problems to solve. However, what if we shift our perspective a bit and instead start looking for more relevant, deeper problems to solve - rather than creating solutions to apparent problems? If we consider the scale of digitization and disintermediation today, this is likely to play an important role in our brave new world. For instance, millions of jobs in industries like retail, banking, financial services, logistics, transportation and public services will be automated over the next decade. Should our concern be to locate other industries that will require this surplus manpower, or should we consider how to redefine our concept of 'remunerable work'?

Uber is known the world over as a taxi-hailing app. And while offering us great service, the company also reshaped the logistics industry as they found a larger requirement it could help address. This led them to launch services using which parents could book a ride to have their children picked up and dropped to a destination. Or, shoppers could have their groceries dropped to their homes. Uber has tied up with mega event organizers in cities to simplify travel for attendees, and more recently, it has ventured into the food delivery industry. Uber discovered problem finding as a means to expand its services.

Design Thinking as a technique of problem finding

One method that can effectively help organizations and individuals prise out core problems worth solving is Design Thinking. At Infosys we have been leveraging this technique of creative problem finding and solving for a couple of years now. We have trained over 1, 35,000 employees in it. So what are the aspects of Design Thinking that facilitate problem finding?

Design Thinking has five steps: empathy for the person facing the problem, defining the problem, ideating on possible solutions, prototyping the solutions, and finally testing to determine the best solution. The first two steps are critical and can help to locate real problems worth solving. At this stage, we need to ask questions unconstrained by any exiting notions. The third step is a natural progression of the first two. Prototyping should be low-cost and designed to 'fail fast' so that the best solution wins faster than later, and can be tested sooner.

A Design Thinking workshop facilitates group interaction, and should ideally challenge the 'business as usual' perspective and break associated assumptions.

Identifying problems that allow for expanding business models

The most common, tried-and-tested method of launching a business is to identify a small problem and solve it. For example, someone at some point asked the question, "How can I get food to my home when I am too busy, or want to take it easy, or because I suddenly have guests over?" And food delivery as-a-service was born. Taking the same example, if you were led by Design Thinking, you would have synthesized all the information you have on food. Your definition of the problem would more likely have been, "How can I ensure that food is accessible to any household in a particular region, especially during emergency situations." In today's digital age, viable business models are those that have the potential to grow the problem statement and offer an expanding solution, as in the case of Uber.

Understanding your audience

Finding the right problem is backed by extensive research and a deep understanding of one's audience - who they are and what they need. For instance, when a low-cost incubator (a simple and scientifically designed sleeping bag like warmer) widely used in developing countries was being designed, the product had a temperature indicator to display 37 degrees Celsius - the point to which the waxy substance in the wrap needed to be heated. After a while, it was found that the incubator was not delivering the expected results. This led the innovators back to the field for investigation. They found that many of the users were not heating the warming substance to the stipulated 37 degrees Celsius because the users felt this temperature may be too hot for the newborns. So the designers replaced the temperature indicator with a color indicator[2]. Users now know that when the color is green, they have heated the warming substance adequately. This tiny change alone has probably saved thousands of infant lives. Similar instances of effective problem finding are aplenty.

As technology begins playing a bigger role in our lives, I foresee a new age of problem finding which offers exciting possibilities. I see us as being able to take on large, complex problems and concerns that once seemed daunting. I see us pushing the frontiers of our imagination and creativity in finding some of the biggest problems, and subsequently their solutions.

I feel fortunate to be part of a technology company that has already taken initiatives to effect an organizational change in this direction of problem finding, involving not only our employees but our clients and other stakeholders. Discussions, debates, and experiences in our thought leadership summit, Infosys Confluence, will dwell on the bigger concerns of our times, among other related topics. These are amazing times when competitors are also collaborators, organizational and industrial boundaries are becoming fluid, and the future is being built with bits and atoms. Infosys Confluence, which starts today, will be in many ways a microcosm of these times, and I am looking forward to all the excitement and the learning.

Skills of the Future - Asking Us to Be More

Posted by Ravi Kumar S. (View Profile | View All Posts) at 3:02 AM

Skills of the Future - Asking Us to Be More

Recent discussions in the media and business circles on automation − robotics and artificial intelligence − have again turned the spotlight on the future of work and employable skills. And while there is widespread apprehension about skills obsolescence, I believe these concerns can be addressed. One of the biggest and often overlooked benefits of automation is that it almost compels us to awaken our sense of curiosity and inquiry, pushes us to reskill, and adopt a path of lifelong learning − to whatever extent we can.

A report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) titled 'Future of Jobs', points to the need of the hour. It notes that by 2020 there will be a change in the kind of skills required in the digitally enabled services economy. Skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity will be most in demand.

When we, at Infosys, analyzed our business mix, we noted that the 'run and maintain' part of our commodity business was expected to embrace extreme automation, and this portfolio was slowing down. Our growth portfolio, however, was growing by double digits and there was a significant need for talent with niche and emerging skills. I strongly believe the future of our services industry is bright, but we also need to continue refactoring our talent and build skills for the future.

Along with skills development, another important aspect is the cultural transformation we started a couple of years ago with Design Thinking and Zero Distance (a grassroots innovation movement across the company). These are the foundational layers that enable us to nurture a mindset of 'problem finding' and continuous learning, as well as allow us to meet the future needs of our clients.

Looking back at the progress made in the past two years, we believe there are a few behavioral changes that will help address the skill needs of the future, and we will continue to nurture them:

  • Becoming a lifelong learner
People are naturally curious and wired to explore the new, the unknown and therefore, to be lifelong learners. In the time of automation and AI, we must simply be more mindful of who we are and indulge our natural selves, which will differentiate us from AI. And organizations will do well to nurture and reward such behavior. Lifelong learning enables people to be flexible, adaptable, and learn on the job. It gives them an opportunity to focus on things they love to do. With new work scenarios shaping up, jobs with skills that synergize with emerging technologies will always be relevant. While learning may slow down as physical age advances, it is vital to keep one's faculties sharp, adaptable, and receptive to change.

  • Reskilling in adjacent areas
The availability of key skills is a growing concern in our industry, and this talent scarcity is more about finding the right people with the right skills rather than lack of resources. As we move forward, new services and skills will be needed to future-proof and grow our business. Consequently, certain traditional skills will become redundant as parts of our business will embrace extreme automation. Against this backdrop, we need to seize this opportunity to fundamentally transform the way we build skills for the future by refactoring talent. One of the key interventions is to up-skill and reskill in adjacent areas. Acquiring these adjacent skills would mean building new skills and reinforcing skills that are already being used.

  • Being an 'expert-generalist'
A term coined by Orit Gadiesh, Chairman of Bain & Co, 'expert-generalist' is someone who nurtures deep knowledge in many different disciplines and fields of study. This involves investing thousands of hours of study and then engaging in 'learning transfer' − which is applying the knowledge or theories of one discipline to another to create something new. An expert-generalist is immersed in continuous learning and this ensures his/her skills are always relevant. An expert-generalist has a T-shaped skill set, where the horizontal bar indicates the collaboration across disciplines and areas of expertise, while the vertical bar is the deep knowledge developed in a particular set of disciplines.

You can expect to see us at Infosys continue on our journey of learning. More than 135,000 of our 200,000 employees have been trained in Design Thinking, and this learning is implemented across client projects, on an ongoing basis.

I firmly believe this is the larger journey for all organizations. A journey where corporations, governments, and other stakeholders have to collaboratively evolve a wider perspective on how we humans can amplify our potential in this time of automation and AI - a time of unseen and undiscovered opportunities. I am looking forward to building on my perspective at Infosys Confluence, our upcoming thought leadership summit that brings together clients, prospects, and market influencers. With 'Unlimit' as the theme and some of the best minds across industries in attendance, stimulating discussions will be aplenty, such as the session on 'Training for Jobs that Don't Yet Exist'.

May 19, 2017

Unlimit - Why this Word May Hold the Answer to Perplexing Digital Questions

Posted by Sandeep Dadlani (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:00 AM

Unlimit - Why this Word May Hold the Answer to Perplexing Digital Questions

Following a whirlwind phase of annual and quarterly results, clients meetings, and setting up new operations, I cannot wait to be at Infosys Confluence, our thought leadership summit for clients, prospects, and market influencers. Like every year, this gathering pushes the pause button on my hectic schedule - offering a Zen-like stillness, if you will, to ideate, introspect and envision with some of the best minds across industries. This time the theme, 'Unlimit', will add a new dimension to this pause. Exchanging thoughts on unlimiting our innate human potential, empowered by technology; unlimiting traditional boundaries of industries; unlimiting from that past that is baggage.

Pondering on the theme, I realize how 'Unlimit' is actually the core force driving successful digital-native organizations today. Here's an example. A Swedish startup, Mapillary, built their database of 130 million images through crowdsourcing. Mapillary Vistas Dataset calls itself "the largest and most diverse database for object recognition on street-level imagery" and offers its data to organizations that need to train their AI systems. Its creators want to represent the whole world (not only streets) with photos sourced through crowdsourcing.

While today's startups are digital natives, many large and older enterprises are still grappling with vastly different and changing technologies, consumer preferences, regulations and intense competition from unlikely areas. In my view, digital adoption for an enterprise involves two fundamental tracks - business and technology. The latter of course is about leveraging a wide array of technologies to full potential - from mobile, cloud, SaaS, open source platforms, to big data analytics, social media platforms, and now AI. The business aspect of digital adoption is about infusing the digital philosophy into workings of an existing business and changing if required - thereby, unlimiting itself from trappings of the past. Although very crucial for an organization's transformation, it is often not given due focus, or is expected to happen on its own.

Here are a few pointers that I believe can help larger and older enterprises to truly integrate digital into their business.

  • Creating a culture of innovation: Before an enterprise goes innovative on the outside − through its products or services − it needs to inculcate a culture of curiosity, learning, and experimentation within itself. A truly digital organization empowers its employees with tools and methods, such as Design Thinking, to be innovative; trains them to be open to frequent changes; and teaches them to live with relatively unpredictable outcomes. To give you an example, when a telecom company approached Infosys to automate the creation of analytical datasets to understand unified customer behavior across social, digital, and offline channels (every touch-point) and gather insights, we not only delivered on this requirement but did more. Trained in empathetic problem finding through Design Thinking, our team was able to identify the real need of the client. We used our Telco Customer Genome solution to create prefabricated pool of behavioral attributes for every customer, enabling personalized insights and accelerating the process of realizing business outcomes. Another method that can help foster a digital culture is 'working out loud'. Conceptualized by Bryce Williams in 2010, it is about observable work that can be expressed not just in text but in mediums such as music, painting, picture, audio, video, or a 3D model. 'Working out loud' creates spaces and provide tools for employees to share ideas and incentivizes creativity. This open, free-flowing environment can facilitate collaboration, approaching a problem with child-like curiosity, and identifying relevant problems worth solving.
  • 'Disagree and commit' style of leadership: Leaders in digital organizations are open and participatory, relax control, and engage in rapidly delegated decision-making. Thereby, instilling confidence in employees to make influential decisions - such as whether to include a particular feature into a product or not, or whether a particular method could be pursued in developing a product, and so on. These leaders respect decisions of their employees even if sometimes these are made with inadequate information. As Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos puts it, in digital organizations, leadership has to 'disagree and commit' for long-term rewards.
  • Breaking the mold: Whether it be open collaboration with other organizations, foraying into uncharted waters, or reimagining an existing offering - large and older enterprises will have to break their existing molds. Here's another example of a digital native: Imagine experiencing the sights and sounds of your holiday much before it actually begins. The adventure, the novelty - everything. Navitaire, a technology services subsidiary of Amadeus IT Group, has brought the travel experience closer home. One can now plan and book a holiday in VR and 3D. Justin Wilde, the Navitaire UX developer who came up with the idea, says: "I see a future in which the Internet will be a 3D experience, and everyone will have their own portable 3D headsets". How far do you think your organization, if of the traditional order, would have reimagined an existing offering in travel and hospitality? What vision would have driven this?

I'm looking forward to delving deeper, at Infosys Confluence, into how traditional organizations can leapfrog into this digital age by reworking their business strategies. I hope to come back to you with my thoughts, learning, and aha-moments after the event.

May 18, 2017

Why These Times Are Calling For 'Coopetition'

Posted by Mohit Joshi (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:01 AM

'Why These Times Are Calling For 'Coopetition'
Collaboration and symbiotic relationships are common in nature, such as the one between clown fish and sea anemone.

Recently, a friend told me about an interesting paper in Scientometrics, a journal on science, communication in science, and science policy. This paper by Caroline Wagner, Travis Whetsell and Loet Leydesdorff on collaboration in the scientific community states that cross-national collaborative research papers have doubled from 1990 to 2015. This increasing collaboration has been caused by the need to exchange and share information for scientific progress. One can well understand the reasons for collaboration, say in astrophysics, where expensive and specialized equipment are used, or in virology as viruses know no national boundaries. The paper notes that there is high level of collaboration in other sciences too, such as in social sciences and mathematics.

Collaboration, however, does not elicit the same response in the corporate sector. Rather, it makes many cautious and wary. Here we thrive on competition - for market share, mind share, wallet share. Yet I feel this sentiment is changing and the days of competition as we know it are numbered.

In order to compete successfully, massive investments are required - in people, training, R&D, technology, and infrastructure. On the other hand, production cycles are shrinking, technologies are rapidly improving, consumers are demanding more, and profit margins are thinning. Conventional competition is becoming increasingly unviable. Could collaboration then, be an effective approach to succeed in the new market dynamics?

Collaboration in telecom, consumer goods and other companies

One competitive industry that has understood the need for collaboration and developed a fine balance between competition and collaboration is telecom. Being big on infrastructure and investments, as well as being restricted to specific geographies, a telecom company is compelled to collaborate with its counterparts in other regions. Such collaborations have resulted in better services to consumers, and stronger, deeper partnerships among erstwhile competitors.

In other industries, General Motors and Toyota have joined forces to assemble automobiles, Siemens and Philips have partnered to develop semiconductors, and Canon supplies photocopiers to Kodak. Collaboration with a competitor, when based on trust, is a great way of engaging. The driving force is the desire to learn and bridge the gap - in skills, investments, technology, infrastructure and access to certain customer segments. While collaborating externally, an enterprise needs to encourage healthy competition within itself, in order to elevate its quality of offerings.

Why IT industry needs to replace competition with 'coopetition'

Today, consumers are demanding a segued product experience from the very first touch point, across channels, and this journey may be owned by different entities. Hence, competition will not help so much as collaboration and 'coopetition' (act of cooperation between competing companies).

Often, a software product is developed using a number of technologies, on multiple platforms, and once ready, it may be used across industries. Cloud and mobile technologies offer increasing possibilities for software developers. With Agile and DevOps, large products can be broken down into sub-sections and developed iteratively yet independently. Companies are also turning to open source and sharing their APIs in order to collaborate. A single enterprise may be unable to develop the entire product and it would need to collaborate with others, as in the case of blockchain. Technologies such as blockchain require shared investment to access relevant skills, work faster and cost effectively. In banking and financial services, consortiums are being established to harness the power of blockchain. And similar consortiums would likely work for large industries as well, such as, logistics, supply chain, and retail.

Competing with oneself, collaborating with peers

We are social beings and collaboration comes naturally to us. Rather than stoking competitiveness between individuals, I think these times call for stimulating the competitive spirit within and encouraging collaboration as a method of working with others. This will raise the benchmark on both personal performance and enterprise-level innovation. Today, the kind of problems we are ready to address are so massive and complex that no person can solve any problem single-handedly. There must be a collaborative, peer-to-peer engagement, which comes quite easily to millennials. This is why hackathons and bootcamps are attracting colossal attendance.

Due to pervasive interconnectedness and interdependencies, global problems and concerns are increasing in scale and dimension. Collaboration across skills, industries and organizations is necessary to develop new ideas and different perspectives. For instance, Schneider Electric and Blue Chilli, a startup accelerator, recently organized a hackathon in Sydney to address the problem of congestion in the city's trains. The trains are overcrowded, and this situation will only deteriorate as the city continues to expand. The winning idea was both simple and easy to implement: Cameras would detect the occupancy in each coach and relay this information to the station ahead. Commuters waiting to board the train would then be able to get into coaches that are less crowded. Making travel slightly better.

I hope to drill down on this topic of collaboration and coopetition at our upcoming thought leadership summit, Infosys Confluence, which brings together clients, prospects and market influencers - some of the sharpest and brightest minds. The theme, 'Unlimit', will naturally facilitate some very relevant discussions, and I am especially keen to hear what some of them, who may be conventionally competing with each other, have to say about 'coopetition'. I will be also moderating a panel on 'Automate. Innovate. Grow' with panelists from some of the world's most inventive tech firms where they will talk about how businesses can bring to life the next new ideas that will fuel growth.

May 11, 2017

Protecting Patient Health Information - A Hard Look

Posted by Sanjay Dalwani (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:05 AM

Protecting Patient Health Information with the 'Zero Trust Model'

In the recent past, information systems in healthcare organizations have become vulnerable to hacking. This in turn is making patient data susceptible to misuse. A study in 2016, pegged the cost of data breaches in the healthcare industry at $6.2Bn . While some of these were small, the major ones affected millions of people. As in the case of Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the US, which suffered a data breach in 2016 that compromised the details of 3.7 million patients. Hackers gained access to the organization's data through the point of sale (PoS) system.

A reason why healthcare organizations have become soft targets for hackers is because they store a large amount of sensitive customer data. Usually this data is stored in a single database. So when hackers gain access, they access the entire cache. This personally identifiable and health-related information is also valuable to organizations in a number of other industries. In this blog post, I highlight areas that make healthcare organizations vulnerable to hackers and discuss possible ways to address the problem.

Locating vulnerabilities that lead to security breaches

Just as in other industries, data and technology are coming together as key drivers of the healthcare industry. Organizations are still firming up on strategies to collect, store and analyze their data. They are also trying to formulate AI-driven solutions that they can leverage to personalize patient engagement. The lowering of security to facilitate integration with apps and software is also contributing to vulnerabilities in the healthcare ecosystem.

  • Connected devices and open networks: Healthcare organizations, with their complex network of connected devices such as medical devices, HVAC systems, patient portal, wearables, and even Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, provide a potential entry for hackers. Add to this, open Wi-Fi networks and an increasing number of third-party apps and you can guess why this connected existence becomes even more hack-prone.
  • Business landscape is complex and fluid - Healthcare organizations collect data on individual health, socioeconomic factors, genetic factors, as well as resource use, outcomes, financing, and expenditures. This data is accessed by multiple stakeholders among payers, providers and compliance authority . As patient requirements and organizational complexity expand, mapping the flow of sensitive data within the enterprise becomes difficult. Adding to this difficulty are the changes that this data undergoes as business and network configurations change. In case of an attack, it becomes almost impossible to secure this sensitive and highly dispersed data.
  • Limited budgets - Healthcare security budgets continue to lag behind those of other industries. According to Forrester, healthcare organizations spend 23 percent of their IT budget on security; other critical infrastructure industries such as utilities and telecom spend 35 percent.
  • Regulations alone don't suffice - Data is becoming a new currency. And while the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act of 1996 and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 set a minimum standard for data security, they alone are not adequate. Healthcare organization need to consider policies that allow for continuous monitoring of this data and put in place robust technology that facilitates encryption.

In my opinion, one way to limit the risk associated with a breach is to change the approach to security. Business leaders move away from network-driven to data-driven security and view security through a holistic lens including business risk.

Developing a security-first culture

For security systems and practices to keep hackers at bay, organizations need to adopt a 'security first' culture. Security needs to be reviewed not just from an application or a node perspective, but from a business perspective as well - that is, loss of brand equity, reduced customer trust, financial loss and regulatory penalties. Mobile devices have especially put healthcare organization at a security risk. IT infrastructure needs to be constantly checked to ensure it can withstand an attack. Additionally, other systems need to be put in place to quickly analyze business impacts so that remedial action can be taken. These systems need to deliver immediate visibility, analysis and facilitate a faster response to contain the intrusion.

It is important for healthcare organizations to identify behavioral indicators of an intrusion. This is difficult if done through monitoring tools alone. People are usually the weakest link in the security system. Healthcare players need to create, communicate and enforce security policies that continuously engage people, helping and enabling them to make security a priority.

May 9, 2017

Stadium Technology: Lets Fans 'Be More' Than Just Fans

Posted by Krishnananda R Shenoy (View Profile | View All Posts) at 12:41 PM

Stadium Technology: Lets Fans 'Be More' Than Just Fans
Stadium Technology: Lets Fans 'Be More' Than Just Fans

Technology has become so integrated with sports, that there is hardly any sport with an international audience devoid of technology. For a while now, coaches, team managers and players have accessed technology to monitor performance at both the individual and team level, gain feedback, plan strategies before and during matches, and continuously improvise their game so as to get that winning edge. Not surprisingly, technology is making its way to fans as well, and I don't mean to those watching the match remotely- on their television or streaming it on the internet- but rather those of us who throng sporting arenas to take in the energy and action as it happens, live.

Digital native fans crave an interactive and engaging experience

To get a glimpse of how technology is making its way into stadiums, take a look at the Amsterdam Arena in Holland - home of the Ajax Football Club. Technology here is so comprehensive, it can be imagined as a digital layer over the sports venue. This layer is what brings everyone - players, coaches, team owners, merchants, food vendors, parking lot attendants, security guards, and yes, thousands of screaming fans - together for a seamless, immersive experience. So fans can use their smartphone and learn the fastest route to the stadium, see a vacant parking spot as they drive in, access high quality Wi-Fi to view real-time data on players, live stream the match even while at the food counter and stay active on their social media sites. For advertisers, there is face recognition technology for targeted advertising. Stadium owners have the opportunity to offer tighter security and better management of energy and other utilities. Technology at Amsterdam Arena, effectively converges to offer all stakeholders a markedly enhanced sporting experience.

Another example of technology making its way into stadiums and closer to home is the Levi's Stadium where fans can use their smartphone and connect to a wireless beacon from their seat, order food or even check the line at the restroom.

The stadium of the New York Yankees made big news last year. After only seven years of operation, the Yankees organization is paying for a $20 million renovation. It is removing bleachers in the outfield in favor of a family-friendly multiplex. Besides having an 'engaging children's play area,' the new complex will allow 'all guests to enjoy the game from multiple vantage points while having unique food and drink options available.' The Yankee stadium could also go a step further and leverage technology to knit the physical and virtual space, and thus to redefine their fans experience.

Following the trend of mega stadiums are Universities like Southern Alabama, which is partnering with Infosys to implement smart-stadium technology at their basketball pavilion, Mitchell Center.

Technology in sporting arenas has come a long way since the Jumbotron, which gave fans in the higher up seats a quick glimpse of outstanding play on the field as though they were sitting in the front row. Now, technology companies have progressed to offering full-scale, stadium-wide platforms that allow management and fans to connect, engage and enjoy a personalized experience, no matter where they are at the venue.

Today's best sports technology platforms are an acknowledgment that no two fans are the same - so everyone deserves his or her own experience. That includes cutting through advertising clutter and

customizing promotions to each and every fan at the stadium.

Converting the physical venue into a digital platform

Imagine you are sitting in the stands and just saw one of your favorite football players intercept a pass and run the length of the field for a touchdown. You can watch the replay as many times as you'd like because of the in-stadium streaming replays available to you on your mobile device. The neatest thing about fans is that they love to converse with each other. They argue about which team is better, which player is having a good or bad day, and whether a touchdown was scored as they watch the instant replays on their digital devices. How could such widespread digital engagement occur? Through stadium connectivity infrastructure that meets today's needs. Or rather todays 'giga-needs'.

Which leads us to the fact that through digitization comes monetization. The transformation of sports through precision marketing translates into the creation of sponsorship value. That's because modern sports technology platforms leverage fan profiling and analytics. They know what their fans like to eat, so that digital devices empowered by robust, in-stadium Wi-Fi, direct them to the right food and beverage stand. Organizers know what team and players the fan follows, so that they are directed to on-site or online stores where they can buy t-shirts and other team/player merchandise. Such an improved customer relationship means heightened fan loyalty. Fan engagement can continue well after the game is over, and go on throughout the season and off the season through digital media, social and customized content.

Because these platforms are multi-tenant, Cloud-based, and highly scalable, they work just as seamlessly at any event that involves a large arena. Contextualized ads and promotions are just as lucrative for an arena or sponsor and allow for monetization. This is especially true where large numbers of people gather, such as at shopping malls, industry trade shows, convention centers, and cinemas.

My favorite part of these new venue technology platforms? Beacons that let you know that a friend is in the arena. You can text him to meet up for a drink after the event. Not surprisingly, smart venue technology would allow users to engage with it much after the event as well, say to access game analysis, watch videos in action replay mode and continue celebrating with one's favorite team.

May 5, 2017

How Technology Can Make Healthcare Widely Accessible In Latin America

Posted by Claudio Elsas (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:41 AM

How Technology Can Make Healthcare Accessible To All In Latin America
How Technology Can Make Healthcare Accessible To All In Latin America

Access to healthcare in Latin America has been increasing since the 1990s. However, day-to-day delivery of medical services still needs improvement. 30 percent of the population does not have access to healthcare and not many countries in the region meet international indicators on doctor-to-patient ratio. On an average, the region spends only 6.7 percent of its GDP on healthcare.

More recently, the Zika virus has taken a heavy toll on Latin America. The World Health Organization expects the virus to infect anywhere from 3 to 4 million people by 2017. An impact assessment by the United Nations Development Programme estimates the socio-economic costs of this mosquito-borne disease to be between US$7-18 billion from 2015 and 2017.

Healthcare in Latin America was at the centre of major attention during the World Economic Forum on Latin America. With technology playing a prominent role in almost every industry, those at the event including me, were mulling over whether it could become the central axis for equitable healthcare in South America? Almost 40 percent of the region's population use smartphones. Could this be the ubiquitous tool to deliver healthcare to economically disadvantaged and rural populations?

There is much that technology like mHealth can do to introduce and manage diagnostic services, treatment routines, provide data for R&D, simplify predictive medicine and more. For instance, Dr. Consulta, a startup in Brazil, uses data analysis and online technology to offer low cost, high quality primary healthcare services to the 100 million without health insurance in the country. Similarly, Memed is an e-prescription platform that maintains an online catalogue of medicines. Through Memed, doctors can browse through a list of medicines and write out the correct prescription. It enables doctors to prescribe accurately, faster and efficiently. This is especially helpful as it was found that medical prescriptions in Brazil had a 75 percent chance of error.

Latin America had approximately 156 million smartphone users in 2015. This number is set to grow at the rate of 12 percent year-on-year through 2019. Brazilian organization, Plataforma Saúde is preparing to capitalize on smartphone technology to provide easy access to healthcare to those who do not have it yet. Services of Plataforma Saúde include medical examinations to identify a person's susceptibility to chronic lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart ailments.

Going a step further, apps, wearable devices and wirelessly connected devices have the potential to shift healthcare delivery away from periodic medical checkups to data-driven, 'as needed' appointments. Wirelessly connected devices such as blood pressure monitors or glucose monitors, infusion pumps and other devices, which were once embedded with sensors can collect data, present it to patients and transmit it to physicians. Data from these devices enable users to assume greater responsibility for their health, harness automation to monitor different parameter of wellness and make educated decisions when needed. This type of care paves the way for leaner, connected and personalized health through cost-effective systems.

Since Latin America is a vast region. A standardized care path supported by data and automation can be a robust method to ensure predictable outcomes, and improve quality, accuracy and application of human and financial resources. The collection of data in a structured way, along with AI and robotic process automation, allows health providers to continually learn, improve processes, reduce cost of healthcare delivery and enhance effectiveness of services.

The United States has made great strides in ensuring healthcare accessibility through technology. There, the approach is patient centric. Technology plays out through electronic health records, apps, telemedicine, robotics, wearables, AI and more. It enables doctors to reach more patients, and besides offering healthcare, focus on preventive healthcare and wellness. An approach like this would enable Latin America to move away from a reactive approach to a proactive one - a direction embraced by all developed regions.

May 2, 2017

Boosting American Innovation

Posted by Ravi Kumar S. (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:50 AM

Boosting American Innovation [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i1LxnqhDko]

Once again today, I have this deep sense that we are all standing on the brink of a great revolution. A revolution unlike anything humanity has known before. A revolution driven by computing and digital technologies - fundamentally changing the way we go about our work and lives. And I am glad to have this opportunity - even if in a small way - to guide its development, and grasp the opportunity to direct it to create a future where tens and thousands of people will have a better chance to build for themselves the lives that they aspire to live. While it's certainly not the first time my thoughts have taken this turn, today it's triggered by the announcement we just made to hire 10,000 American workers, and set up four Technology and Innovation Hubs with integrated training infrastructure, in the U.S., to help nurture the next generation of American innovators.

When we think about the context in which we must nurture young talent in our workplaces, we clearly see that automation technologies are already doing much of our problem solving. In fact, solutions to most known, well-defined problems - the challenges that we've cracked before - can now be executed by software. Which means the jobs that were performed by earlier generations are all now ripe for automation, and in many cases, already automated. Then, what's the basis on which today's budding careers must be nurtured? The answer clearly lies in our humanity. In learning to cultivate and put to practical use all that makes us human - our curiosity, our creativity and our hunger to learn and grow. Because, while automated systems may surpass humans in performing well-defined cognitive tasks (problem-solving), spotting new problems worth solving, and new opportunities to build something that does not yet exist (problem-finding) is still an innately human endeavor that no machine has mastered.

This then leads us to an important insight: our youngsters need to embrace, on the one hand, a problem-finding mindset to complement creative problem-solving, and on the other to evolve beyond simply consuming technology to making with technology. And these can be learned. We can all learn to find the right problems to solve, and to re-skill ourselves to make with technology the solutions that solve these problems effectively. Training our talent pools in the Design Thinking approach to dealing with challenges, can help internalize the ways of problem-finding, as repeatable and practical methods to explore new avenues of value-creation and bringing innovation to life. The other focus area must be to work to give everyone access to fundamental knowledge and computing skills relevant in these times, remove the elitism around technology and enable us all to play a part in a future that promises to be increasingly digital. One of the challenges today is that technologies are evolving so rapidly that it is no mean task for large pools of talent to build deep expertise in these emerging technologies. One way to address this is to ensure that talent with closely adjacent skills are continuously reskilled for these new competencies. And this learning must continue throughout our lives -- well beyond the traditional classroom -- furthered at workplaces by enterprises and employers who invest in creating and nurturing creators. This way, new ideas won't be isolated within 'innovation departments' and labs. Instead, a collective creative model in which junior staff work alongside business leaders to develop and implement new ideas and concepts, will thrive. In such an enterprise, breakthrough innovation might happen sporadically, but bite-sized, on-the-job, grassroots innovations-at-scale will always be in the making.

These notions, and the things we need to achieve them have been an integral part of who we are, our priorities, and our culture of education and learning for 35 long years. In fact, our announcement today simply reflects the latest expression of one of our oldest commitments. As traditional industries like banking, healthcare, manufacturing and even farming continue to be disrupted by software and computing technologies, we want to do our bit to make sure that our own colleagues and our talent pool - especially young and local talent - are not stranded on the wrong side of this disruption. The only way out is through rapid re-skilling and education. And our journey continues onward on that long road full of adventure, full of knowledge, enriching us in new ways every day.

Boosting American Innovation: Hiring American Workers And Shrinking The IT Skills Gap

Posted by Becky Lowe (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:49 AM

Bridging the Digital Divide [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVXj6O6pvtA]

This is an interesting time to be a young American. You are beginning your career in the midst of a massive digital revolution, that in part, you helped accelerate by adapting so easily to the connected world we've now created for ourselves. Advancing digital technologies, like Artificial Intelligence, continue to drive this revolution, and reshape the space human beings will occupy in it - including what and how our jobs will be.

I often hear questions about how these advances might take away our jobs. And the debates are polarized between those who foresee limitless new opportunities and those that predict massive displacement of jobs. But our most likely tomorrow lies somewhere in between.

As entire industries adjust to digitization, most occupations are indeed undergoing a fundamental transformation. And some of those tried and tested jobs that were performed by earlier generations of Americans will no longer be available to you. But, in exchange, you'll find a new vista of exciting roles - many of which are still unfolding and will continue to evolve in the future - testing your uniquely human abilities, such as creative thinking, problem finding and innovation. In fact, it's estimated that some 65 percent of children entering primary schools today will likely work in roles that don't yet exist!

Now that isn't something new. It's just history repeating itself once again. Every technology revolution in the past has mechanized a large number of jobs - jobs that were repetitive, predictable, often requiring little curiosity or the ability to 'problem-find', and were therefore easily done by machines. But that didn't put people out of their jobs, because the new technologies created new roles more suited to be performed by humans than machines, and in many cases, generated additional employment. Think of the ATM or cash machine as an example; it relieved tellers of dispensing cash at bank counters, allowing them to focus on expanding the scope of their roles, and serve bigger customer needs. At the same time, it also created new jobs for technicians building and maintaining these machines, data analysts who must work to predict the usage patterns of these ATMs, security experts who must ensure these ATMs are safe to transact with and even engineers who work to predict and prevent ATMs breakdowns.

In the current digital revolution, Machine Learning, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence technologies will inevitably take on more and more roles previously performed only by humans. But that's only half the story told. The bigger picture is that these technologies will amplify human ability and achievement by performing tasks that people would rather leave to machines. (Think of the time it takes for you to read a report and the few seconds it takes Google to 'read' millions of pages to whip out answers in less than a second.) The opportunity is to then create new roles and careers for people in the adoption, management, and future innovation of AI and intelligent automation - things that no machine can do. When you step into these exciting new roles, you must be prepared to be part of an augmented workforce where collaboration between man and machine is the new order of the day.

And yet we must be watchful. Not so much of technological change - because we know we have the power and innovation to harness and direct its use as we deem fit. But we must be heedful of how equitable and accessible the opportunities it brings are. What will be absolutely pivotal is how we equip our youngsters and our colleagues to harness the power of these technologies to transform our world for the better, and move us all forward. A huge part of that preparation comes from having the right technical skills and experience in the latest, greatest digital technologies surrounding you.

Unfortunately, our educational system is not quite geared to help young Americans slip readily into a career in technology. Against the 120,000 jobs requiring a computer science degree, which are added to the job pool each year, the U.S. educational system graduates only 49,000, inflating the overall tech skills shortage by 71,000 positions every 12 months. Although the education system is doing what it can, proactive companies are pulling their weight by running intensive training programs of their own. In fact, research studies including one that Infosys commissioned recently show that about 80 percent of organizations deploying AI technologies plan to retrain and redeploy the employees who are impacted.

Which then brings us to what you can do as young professionals to make your choice of workplace mindfully. Here are some things to carefully consider: Is the company a thriving hub of activity and a rich ecosystem for new joiners? Is the firm thinking about which jobs to automate and how to augment their people potential while doing so? Do they have a demonstrated record in employee training - not just in functional and digital skills but also in personal effectiveness? Here, the infrastructure, duration, intensity and quality of training are useful indicators. Equally important is their willingness to commit resources to employee skilling, not just today, but as a lifelong investment in learning. And, is their work environment structured for openness, collaboration and innovation opportunities? Answers to some of these will serve as the compass you need to point you to the future you aspire to create for yourself.

I wish you good luck as you start to bring that future to life!

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