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Smart cities, Maximum potentials

United Nations expects world’s population residing in cities will rise to 68 percent by 2050. And such a transformation will introduce some key changes in the structure of the cities to ensure the continuation of their citizens to remain habitable and sustainable. “Projections show that urbanization, the gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050, with close to 90 percent of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa,” the UN found in 2018.

As the unrelenting urbanization continues to raise concerns over the sustainability of municipalities all over the world , the leadership of the fore of the global thoughts has come to rise. Even though not having a standard for being called a smart city, it mostly involves the use of technology to improve various aspects of day to day life.  That will mostly be information and communications technology (ICT) with which a city can harness to become more connected and boost its efficiency or even improve the quality of services offered and enhance its stability to become a sustainable economic development and this being few among many goals a city has. These cities are not failing in proving themselves to be tantalizing concepts: smarter, greener areas that can improve the efficiency of not only the cities but also the lives of their residents. While the urban zones continue to receive all the attention and investments , the exciting solutions are now being applied in smaller towns and rural areas too.

5G offers the most promising of the technologies that are tipped to be very crucial for driving the development of smart city. The potential of the 5th generation in delivering the telecommunication technology to transform the operational models are much higher compared to these 4G. The data delivery speed in 5G is 100 times faster than 4G. Services traffic-management systems that utilize sensors to provide authorities with real-time data on traffic flow, telemedicine services that make healthcare services such as patient visits more efficient or 5G that lies at the heart of such innovations, ensuring high-speed connectivity, minimal latency and support for a vastly greater volume of activity is paramount.

With that being said , even without the adoption of 5G a massive improvement can be seen making in smart cities already using the existing technology. With the internet of things ( IoT ) being used by almost all now is being leveraged from smart devices to improve operational efficiency. The smart waste management system of Seoul , South Korea is a perfect example of utilization of the technology to improve its city. They utilize sensors in public bins to notify workers when they are ready to be emptied instead of scheduling daily fixed cleaning. “Unlike the traditional way of collecting general waste and recycling materials, the new way of managing our bins…not only reduced our collection costs by 83 percent but also eliminated waste overflow as well,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government confirmed in 2017. Miami leads the way in this field, with more than half a million connected streetlights now operating in the city. And IoT Analytics, a provider of market insights for the Internet of things, estimates that global expenditure on connected streetlights will top $3.6 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 percent between 2018 and 2023. This gives a sustainable smart city. And this how the city officials and stake holders seem to be working on improving smart cities and its service usage as well as identifying their specific preferences to device strategies to future develop the cities. 

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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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