The Infosys Labs research blog tracks trends in technology with a focus on applied research in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

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September 30, 2018

Rise of Digital banks!

Our computers have become windows through which we can gaze upon a world that is virtually without horizons or boundaries. 
                                                                                                                                                ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Ever complained about standing in queues and having to sign countless banking forms? Ever wondered why you need to walk into a branch of your bank to perform mundane tasks which can be easily done with a tap on your smartphone? If you have, then you are not alone. Welcome to the new world of banking where several startups and even some traditional banking giants are experimenting with all online and fully functional digital banks. These digital banks are industriously working towards addressing many of the consumer pain points in the business as usual banking world.

Digital-only banks are on the rise. And by digital-only banks, I am referring to truly digital banks who do not have any brick and mortar presence. They have an edge over traditional banks in terms of efficiency, speed, ROI and scale. Being fully automated, they are more efficient than their traditional counterparts where still a lot of processing is manual. Digital banks deliver services faster than a brick and mortar business while being efficient at the same time. 

Setting up a digital bank is again more pocket friendly when compared to a regular bank. Also, a digital bank can be scaled up to meet rising consumer demands much more easily. Another major advantage is in terms of readily available data. Digital banks can undertake AI/ML initiatives with much more ease to deliver faster insights and implement changes with reduced time to market. Data cleansing and curation process becomes seamless.

Digital banks are very much powered by technology and are at the forefront of experimenting with all the cutting-edge advances available. AI powered virtual assistants, digital only cash, peer-to-peer lending and payments and blockchain based banking transactions have all been tried out in digital banking arena. Touch ID serves as an efficient security tool which provides a safe way to login to banking accounts.

Digital banks come in all flavors. Some banks offer zero maintenance fees. Few others offer rewards based on your social media likes. Revoult, a digital-only bank, offers global payments and cryptocurrency exchange. Yet another section of banks cater to a very niche segment of consumers. For example, USAA is a member only bank serving US military members and their kin.

Banking is at the cusp of a digital revolution similar to what the retail industry witnessed few years ago. Amazon disrupted brick and mortal retail stores with an all-online market. Likewise, digital banks are all set to disrupt traditional banks. Agreed there are rigid regulations and compliance in place which digital banks will have to adhere to; yet they are flourishing at a super fast pace. Banking as a platform or banking as a service may become the norm in banking sooner than later.


September 26, 2018

Sports and Technology

Technology has made its way into aspect of our life. It has changed the way we work, travel and live. During this apparent transformation sports, an aspect of our lives enjoyed by all has been leveraging technology to enhance their performance and reach out to their loyal fans.

The introduction of television into our lives was a game changer for sports. TV's enables viewers to watch the game from the comfort of their homes and follow their favorite teams no matter where they played. It also enabled fans to access and learn the various sports played around the world. Whether it was sports like soccer or F1, television increased their fan base like no other technology had ever before. New revenue streams were created for the sports teams and associations through the sale of broadcasting rights.

Many sports have also embraced technologies for providing replays, to review umpire decisions and such predict the direction of the ball. The Hawk-Eye system used to predict the direction of the ball has already been embraced by various sports such as tennis and cricket.

But, a new wave of technology is promising to revolutionize the way we enjoy our sports. Startups are designing jerseys which the fan can wear to feel the intensity of the game through haptic feedback which is generated by the adrenaline and excitement of their favorite NFL team. The technology brings the feel of a stadium to fans watching the game from home. Another such application used the NFL is Be the Player, the application allows fans to watch the game from the point of view of their favorite player without having the player wear a camera.

Sports Associations are revolutionizing fan engagement by leveraging social media sites and virtual games. Fans can now get personalized feed of the NFL games enabling fans to select players they want to follow and watch off the field clips of the team in the locker room and post win parties. The NBA is engaging fans on the internet by counting votes through social media, google, etc. to select players for the All-Stars game. They even have a chatbot which can show clips of players or matches based on requests from fans.

Virtual reality is another aspect being embraced by technology. Games are now being telecast for fans to watch through VR in order to provide a more immersive experience for remotely viewing fans.

The emergence of new technology and the demand for higher levels of engagement from fans are forcing sports teams and associations to search and identify new channels of engagement. With the rapid rate of adoption of technology, it won't be long before we will be able to immerse ourselves in the excitement of the game and be closer to our favorite players than ever before.


Artificial Intelligence & Financial Services - The Applications

In my previous blog "Artificial Intelligence & Financial Services - The Business Case" we explored the business case for adoption of AI in the financial industry. In this blog we will look at the technology, its applications and its adoption by the industry.

The most mature use cases are in chatbots in the front office, antifraud and risk and KYC/AML in the middle office, and credit underwriting in the back office.

Front office operations have leveraged chatbots to revolutionize customer relationship management. Other than assisting customers with their transactions, chatbots enable banks to segment customers individually rather than general buckets by collecting data regarding their behavior and habits. Infact, Nina, Swedbank's AI chatbot was deployed to assist customers 2 years ago. Already, Nina has successfully demonstrated its ability to resolve 78% contact resolution and has a customer adoption rate of 30,000 conversations per month. By 2024, 42.82% of the estimated $1.25 billion market for chatbots is expected to be generated by the rising need for enhancing the customer services to retain existing customers and attracting potential customers.

Similarly, AI based anti-fraud and KYC/AML applications have been gaining traction in middle office operations thanks to the superior cognitive capabilities of AI. The digitization of banking products and services has led to an increased susceptibility to fraud. Using AI significantly reduces the time taken to review transaction, including all the factors and relevant data associated with it. Lloyds Banking Group is using AI models that detect when the person logged in is not the customer, but a fraudster or a bot. Similarly, Natwest has been using AI to reduce fraudulent transactions and reported that AI has prevented 7 million Pounds of false payments.

Back office operations too are undergoing a change. AI is used for applications such as credit and risk underwriting in the back office by creating a more complete and unbiased assessment of an applicant's credit worthiness. AI based underwriting provides a more comprehensive view of the assessee' s credit worthiness. Startup, Lenddo has already enabled their partners to assess 5 million applicants through the 12,000 variables collected from alternative sources.

AI has also been widely adopted by hedge funds for algorithmic trading, AI collects data from several sources to create a more accurate prediction. They are also being used by banks to discover investment opportunities by scouring the markets. CircleUp, a venture capital firm has created Classifier, a machine learning crowdfunding platform to determine which companies to fund. The Classifier has the capability to review 500 opportunities per month with a team of less than 10 analysts vs the 500 evaluations per year done by the average private equity firm.

While chatbots, anti-fraud, risk management, KYC/AML, credit underwriting and asset management are being adopted by the financial industry, the other applications are generating a lot of interest and it won't be long before they too go mainstream. With AI estimated to add more than 1 trillion in value to the financial industry it won't be long before robots cater to our financial needs while algorithms manage our daily finances.


Artificial Intelligence & Financial Services - The Business Case

Artificial Intelligence & Financial Services - The Business Case

The new wave of innovation and technology commonly referred to as "fintech" is reshaping the financial services industry and forcing the critical financial intermediaries to adopt emerging technologies. AI has been the focus of financial institutions due to the opportunities arising from the rise in volume of data, speed of access to it and the emergence of new and advanced algorithms able to analyse data in a more intelligent. Industries are leveraging the technology to gain a competitive advantage against their peers by improving speed, cost efficiency and accuracy of processes and meeting rising customer expectations.

The highest adoption rates of AI in financial services companies are in IT with 63.5%, finance and accounting with 40.4%, marketing with 31.4% and customer services with 30.8%. Challenges with the adoption of AI in the financial service industry has been the auditability and traceability of the applications. Financial institutions have to comply with regulations requiring them to explain their decisions to customers and report the same to regulators.


Cost savings is expected to be the primary driver of AI in the financial industry, analysts estimate that AI will save the banking Industry $1 trillion in savings by 2035 with most of the savings coming from the front office. Although the changes are predicted to be gradual until 2025, the adoption rate is expected to accelerate until 2030.


Reduction in the scale of retail branch networks and other distribution staff will generate most of the savings in the front office with $199 billion. Chatbots are expected to take over and handle upto 85% of the world's customer interaction. Chatbots are already being leveraged to help customers manage their personal finances, provide investment advice and suggest the best product for the customer while enabling the customer to perform simple transactions effortlessly.

The application of AI for compliance, KYC/AML and data processing is forecasted to save $217 billion in the middle office. One of the mature applications, KYC/AML uses pattern detection d unstructured text analysis to identify potential fraudulent activity in real time while identifying complex linkages between entities.

Back office operations are also expected to generate $200 billion in savings of which $31 billion will be generated through the application of AI for underwriting and collection systems. AI enables underwriters to collect data from alternative sources such as social media and geolocation data enabling to assess candidates with limited credit history and speed up the entire process.

Applications of AI range from customer service through AI assistants to process automation tools for eliminating time intensive work. Irrespective of whether its intelligent automation for repetitive manual tasks, the enhanced judgement and improved interactions provided by AI is the future of the industry and will drive enterprise growth and profitability in the years to come.

In my next blog "Artificial Intelligence & Financial Services - The Applications", we will dive deeper into the application of AI in financial services.


Deloitte: Ai and risk management - Innovation with Confidence

Journey towards Adaptive Care

Historically healthcare has been intermittent and reactive in nature. Even in today's world of digital, mobile, and technological breakthroughs (both medical sciences and ICT) when it comes to personal care people tends to follow a reactive to disease approach. That might be suitable for a sick care scenario but journey towards continuous and proactive healthcare will require a more connected environment, personalization, better patient experience, home care, and predictive medications. Rather than relying on intermittent data for diagnostics decision, patient should be at the center of care system which will give a complete view of the patient's biological, physical, mental status.

Technology Talk

We are living in an era of digital transformation where technological innovation is occurring at an exponential rate. Healthcare is not devoid of it, in last few years' adoptability and usage of wearable bands and devices, smart watches, biometric sensors, insidables, IoT sensors, smart mirrors, AR/VR technologies for healthcare related application has increased significantly. As per survey conducted by Accenture (consumer survey on digital health):

  • Between 2014-18, 33% rise in wearable usage and 48 % rise in mobile health
  • Over 60% of 60+ age group willing to use wearable monitoring devices
  • About 1 in 5 respondents approve health related AI
  • More and more people are willing to use technology for immediate and virtual care services. But, lack of interoperability, continuous data, and common platform makes the devices function in isolation. So today the calorie data by fitbit, and body temp by a biometric sensor gets captured, analyzed, and consumed separately. An integrated system seamlessly leveraging all the user devices would lay the foundation of adaptive care and enable us for next gen technologies around genomics, AI led decision support, nano-tech, brain computer interface, 3D printed tissues & organs, precision medicine etc.

    Adaptive care

    An adaptive care system would combine intelligent agents, smart devices, human actions with cognitive algorithms to optimally sense and respond to changes in parameters and suggest best course of action. It can be envisaged as a home or patient care facility equipped with wearable bands and devices, smart watches, biometric sensors, insideables, IoT sensors, smart mirrors, connected medical devices, AR/VR to create a network with seamless user interaction with surroundings. Broadly it would serve

  • Lifestyle care: Recommendation of Food, level of waters and liquids
  • Fitness care: Setting up workout routine, Tracking Calories
  • Personal Care: Maintenance of Hygiene, Remote monitoring
  • Medical Care: Alert on Spikes & Doctor Appointment, Virtual Care
  • The adaptive system will work on the principal of Sense, Analyze, and Response. Wherein the response would vary from person to person based on to the network inputs, current state of patient, and historical trends. As system learns more about the patient it will provide more and more personalized recommendation and suggestions. For example, normal body temperate varies for different persons, 99F can be normal for person A, whereas 97F for person B; so if morning body temp touches 100F, system's response would be different for person A and B. The adaptive care would lead way for the continuous and proactive healthcare from current sick care and reactive mode.

    Adaptive care will have multifaceted delivery modes which can be crafted into different service offering models.

      • Care a service (Smart homes & Hospitals)
      • Care as a system (Medical equipment manufacturers)
      • Care as a Network Data (Insurance companies & Doctors)

    Persona Journey

    Adaptive care will provide a continuous and effective cover around our daily lifestyle to enable us to avoid and better handle possible ailments and keep us at 100%. Illustration in Fig A shows a futuristic vision of Adaptive care; with adaptive care continuous and proactive tracking of health will be new normal.


    September 21, 2018

    V2X Next wave of transportation

    Advancement in the societal and new market trends leading to revolution in personal mobility and vehicular transport system. Societal trends such as rapid growth of urbanization putting pressure on current transportation setup, which is growing less compared to the demand, tough emission and energy related regulation are also impacting transportation systems. Apart from this, market trends as advancement of automated driving, real-time and open data accessibility, enabling more effective use of transport assets and also affecting the current transportation systems.

    Such trends are enabling a move near to sensitive and intellectual transport infrastructure, with properties of accident-free transportation, supporting higher traffic flow, higher vehicle utilization and more efficient/greener transport. Hence, communication technology such as Vehicle-to everything (V2X) communication, will play a major role to attend these properties.

    V2X, means 'vehicle to everything', and it is the part of car communication system. V2X enables autonomous driving with properties as low-latency and high-reliability links. It uses high bandwidth and data flow from sensors and other connected sources.

    V2X consists of various components such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P), and vehicle-to-network (V2N) communications. It is a multilayered ecosystem and enables cars to talk with other cars, infrastructure like traffic lights or parking spaces, and to datacenters via cellular networks.

    Various car makers and vendors are implementing and experimenting with V2X, V2I, V2V technologies, some of which are highlighted as below.

    Qualcomm Technologies collaborated with Panasonic and Ford Motor to launch cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technologies in Colorado, starting the only U.S. deployment of C-V2X technology.

    Audi mounted V2I (provides information based on traffic lights) in few of its Audi A4 models in 2017. It is a traffic management system observing traffic lights using 4G data connection and sending real- time signals to car.

    Cadillac CTS sedans launched V2V security technology in US during 2017. It comprises solution of NXP's DSRC and GPS for transmitting and receiving about 1000 messages per second from different vehicles, which are about 300 metres apart. V2X software contains 10 DSRC V2X solution comprising of junction's crash caution, dangerous location notice and emergency vehicle warning.

    In Aug, 2017, Hyundai, Kia Started V2X communication solution for a 14-kilometer section of road along with seven junctions in Hwaseong, located in Seoul, Korea for testing autonomous car.

    Volkswagen is working on model with IEEE 802.11p-based pWLAN to enable vehicles to communicates with each other. It can help to identify on road situations as, car making emergency stop after its sensors detects obstruction on road.

    According to the market research firm MarketsandMarkets, the V2X market is expected to attend CAGR of 17.61% from 2017 to 2025, total market size expected to reach $99.55 Bn by 2025 from $27.19 Bn in 2017. Increasing demand for real-time traffic control, event alerts for increasing public safety, rise in government funds for enhanced traffic management, and the advancement of connected vehicles are some of the leading factors driving the growth of V2X market. Also, growing environmental concerns and extreme competition between car manufacturer are few other factors impacting the growth of V2X.

    V2X technology consist of opportunity to transform automotive industry using autonomous cars and help in providing predictive maintenance using real -time monitoring. Though, it possesses challenges of dearth of standardization, lack of acceptance of V2X technology and security of data generated by vehicles.

    Upcoming 5G infrastructure expected to provide bandwidth for large amount of connections in a small area enabling individual vehicles to capture more data about their immediate surrounding. V2X technology provide enormous technical and economic advantages compared to other dedicated vehicle connectivity technologies for different stakeholders such as road operators, automakers and mobile operators. It can support wide range of use cases covering safety, navigation and integrated transport systems as compared to different alternatives. 5G cellular system provides advantage of handling all the V2X applications in end-to-end manner using single technology, which makes it scalable and future proof.

    Platformization, the new frontier for IT services

    It was another busy day at office for Mr. Nayak, at 6 PM it's time to start for home. But, he is not going home today, how can he forgot his anniversary; he specifically set a reminder for it, after the goof up of last year. Mr. Nayak searches for wine & dine restaurants in his smartphone, the app automatically suggests him options for buying flowers and chocolates around the searched location.

    The footfall at Malay's Kitchen has reduced to almost one quarter compared to six months ago, while the food rating and customer reviews doesn't show a picture of quality degradation. Couple of miles away from Malay's, few SEZ's started shifting the workforce to other part of city.

    The knowledge of location information, location intelligence and "where the customer is now?" is the question that has the potential to serve as a business opportunity in the above two cases. We are entering an era where location based service will gradually transform into platformization of location. The usage of mobile maps by individual users for navigating intra-city, inter-city, finding places, exploring locality etc. has become routine practice. The maturity of the users and appreciation of services has made willingness of majority users to share their location data.

    Google is aggressively marketing for Maps services via campaigns such as "LookBeforeYouLeave" or "BikeMode", while maps as a service doesn't generate any revenue, the future of location as platform has immense possibilities. Picture this; google already has profiles of the user having information like "Social-Economic-Personal-Professional" based on the mail, android, mobile usage. Add 24x7 location data of the user to it. Perfect recipe for a platform wherein third parties can leverage the insights for business opportunities. So, when Mr. Mayak searches for a location google already knows that it's his anniversary, and cognition is he might buy flowers, so suggest him best options for flower and chocolate near the searched location even before he looks for. Similarly, Malay's can leverage the location intelligence data to know that his core customers have shifted location. So, either a change in menu or order to delivery mode might be required to keep up the revenue.

    Building platforms which are sustainable and appealing to the generation Z users is the key for business to create channels which will be future revenue generators. For example, platformization of location information is evidently going to open-up many such business prospects, wherein third parties or open users can innovate new models for monetization. Platforms with open architecture, developer community, and API network will lead to innovations in product and service development. A healthy ecosystem can grow which will be agile and sustainable.

    There are huge opportunities for the IT services in this new wave of platformization. They can shift the role from system integrators to partners in the quest for building and maintaining the platforms. Incumbents should also board the bus of Platformization journey. There are broadly three areas where they could focus a) Developer community& API networks, b) Building Platforms for the clients, c) Product and Services on existing platforms. Tomorrows business needs to be where their customer is and in today's world of platform driven economy what could be better than that.

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