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More returns from investment – Eagle Alpha!

GoPro , the popular action camera company ‘s findings were determined by mostly using web scraping techniques. Alternative data company Eagle Alpha in the reports they published in 2015 had mentioned that “The data from US electronics websites pointed to potential weakness in GoPro revenue for the third quarter of that year.”

The data showed a reduced demand for GoPro products with a negative mix shift to lower end products impacting average selling prices. The reports also suggested that there was a weakness in ranking of the bestselling cameras which included the session product that had recently been released. Even though 68 per cent of the total recommendations at the time suggested that GoPro was a ‘buy’ , Eagle Alpha had correctly determined that the company would underperform and miss the targets for the quarter and so it happened! They also said that the demand for GoPro was weakening and that the average selling price remained under pressure.

Nicholas Woodman, the Chief executive officer of GoPro addressed the issues saying “While we experienced strong year-over-year growth, this quarter marks the first time as a public traded company that we delivered results below the expectations that we outlined in our guidance.” The web scrapping method paved the way for the company to analyze and identify the underperformance well ahead of the traditional technology.

What is web scraping? Web scraping refers to the process of harvesting data from public websites and identifying what might be the deemed valuable to the user, such as hedge fund. It is carried out typically by using a high-powered software.

The typical process of web scraping works in two distinct steps : A web crawler or a ‘spider’ leads the process. This is done by using artificial intelligence (AI) to browse the internet and the relevant websites. The content is then passed on to the web scraper , called as a specialized tool to designed to extract a quick and accurate data from a web page. And Eagle Alpha is one of the biggest proponent of web scraping. The company was founded in 2012 , largest company in the alternative data space. According to the firm’s director of data insights, Ronan Crosson, who spoke to Forbes in December 2019, the firm has compiled a taxonomy of 24 different types of alternative data, with the most commonly deployed alternative datasets being “web scraped data, credit card data and consumer sentiment data”.

The highly monitored platforms are social media sites, to identify the changes in the expressions regarding the purchases. Especially when the companies are now increasingly announcing the developments of likes in the social media handles like Facebook and Twitter. The data from these platforms acts a crucial part for their information-driven trading strategies, helping them uncover early trends and changes in sentiment. Twitters event driven feeds project help most of the companies’ quantitative traders to capitalize on the influence of social media on markets through constant evolution curating technology. It also includes Natural Language Processing ( NPL ) modelling , coupled with the company’s reputation for data quality.

“Ultimately the bottom line is scraping data is big business, and it’s only going to get bigger as hedge funds begin to establish it as an industry-standard tool,” says Daniel Ni , the founder of web scraping tool Scraper API. Having access to online activity of the consumers is a massive tool for someone whose job itself is to predict where the consumer’s money is going to move. We are only at the beginning of realization of how powerful a tool can web scraping be and what value it can generate.

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AI role in customer experience in banking

The concept of banking first sprung up around 8000 BC. Then, there came various drastic changes to expand their services and innovate their business models. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are applied to help banks and financial institutions nowadays. A survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) showed that 77% of banking executives believe that the use of AI will ultimately differentiate between winning and losing banks.

This pandemic has triggered a sudden socioeconomic shift from physical to digital. There is a rapid switch to digital channels. Recent research by YouGov was conducted in June 2021. And that revealed that digital services have become the de facto way of conducting business and access services during the pandemic. EIU’s survey showed that enhancing the user experience through better personalisation ranked first in the most valuable uses of AI.

Customer propositions are no longer fit-for-all. It involves both banking and non-banking products and services. To identify the customers’ needs the banks must take an entirely new approach to innovation. They should adopt a customer-centric view. This starts with understanding the customer needs. AI makes it much easier to analyse customer preferences. The redesigning of customer loyalty program gives banks an accurate understanding of customer. Effective personalization offers customers not only better leads but also a more unique experience. The customer experience can be improved by applying AI. Banks must also build out their capabilities to strike new partnerships.

Businesses across all industries are working hard to retain their customers, including banks. AI can become a banking institutions’ superpower. This can take the customer experience to new heights, resulting in happier and more loyal customers. It will also reduce a bank’s operating costs and enable increased revenue per customer. To become AI First, banks must focus on streamlining their technology layer. They also require a strategy to engage customers through channels owned by them and their non-banking partners. Business and technology must work hand in hand, with cross-functional teams breaking up organisational silos.

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Amazon to offer insurance to UK businesses

The technology giant’s first foray into business insurance in the country, broker Superscript said that Amazon is going to start offering insurance to small and medium-sized UK business customers. Members of Amazon’s Business Prime program will be able to buy cover from superscript such as contents insurance, cyber insurance and professional indemnity insurance. Superscript spokesperson said that those would be underwritten by major UK insurers. A discount of 20% will be offered to current rates. This is to entice the businesses over to them.

50% of customers are prepared to buy insurance from non-traditional players. A recent survey of 12,000 people globally by consultants Capgemini showed this. Cameron Shearer, co-founder and CEO of Superscript, said in a statement that the insurance industry needs to bridge the divide between insurers and customers. Amazon’s move into UK business insurance comes after U.S. insurtech Next Insurance said that it was offering cover to U.S. small businesses. And that too via Amazon Business Prime. Molly Dobson, Country Manager for Amazon Business UK & Ireland, said in the statement that as the businesses come out of the pandemic, they want customers to have the best-in-class tools to run their business.

Financial institutions are worried that tech firms will steal their business. But industry sources said that the insurers and tech firms are more likely to forge partnerships. Because of the given difficulties and expense for outsiders in entering the highly regulated finance sector. Amazon also offers warranty insurance and “buy now, pay later” services in Britain.

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In NFT fantasy soccer game, SoftBank leads funding

Blockchain-based fantasy soccer game Sorare has raised $680 million. This is through a funding round, which is led by SoftBank. According to the company, it includes players such as ex-England international Rio Ferdinand and Spain’s Gerard Pique. Paris-based Sorare said that the investment valued the company at $4.3 billion. Sorare is an online game, since 2018. Here players buy officially licensed cards that represents soccer players. They can build teams and play against each other. This is based on the players’ performance in real-life games.

The cards are traded in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The market for NFTs has seen major growth in 2021. Michel Combes, president of SoftBank Group International, said that they think NFTs represent a new paradigm in the collectability, usability, and engagement with assets. This evolution from physical assets to digital assets is very powerful. This also creates a lot of exciting potential business models. NonFungible.com is a website that tracks NFT market data. According to them, Sorare is the largest sports-based NFT platform by sales volume. They are planning to open an office in the United States. So that they can expand into other games out of Sorare.

Nicolas Julia, CEO and co-founder of Sorare said that they saw the immense potential that blockchain and NFTs brought to unlock a new way for football clubs, footballers, and their fans to experience a deeper connection with each other. They believe that this is a huge opportunity to create the next sports entertainment giant. Since January 2021, there have been $150 million of sales on Sorare. The fundraising round was SoftBank’s first time investing in Sorare. SoftBank’s Latin America fund also contributed. Other investors in Sorare’s raise are such as venture capital firms Accel and Bessemer Ventures, Pique, Ferdinand, Antoine Griezmann and Spain’s Cesar Azpilicueta.

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