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Date and Time : 22nd March, 05:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Date and Time : 22nd March, 05:00 PM - 08:00 PM
So hope to see you this 22nd March, Wednesday at the lovely Rise Mumbai, 5pm onwards.
Also you will notice something new this event, we are providing Early bird tickets and also a new exclusive opportunity to startup founders to have a 1 on 1 private conversation with our star speaker. Purchase the Startup Exclusive ticket and we will get in touch with you to request your details to breif James about what you do.
Transforming spaces transforming lives
Getting the community together.
Mintigo raises $10 million to help B2B firms target their most likely customers:
Mintigo, an enterprise-focused predictive market and sales platform, has sealed $10 million in a round of funding led by Glilot Capital partners, with participation from Sequoia Capital IL, Adams Street Partners, Giza Venture Capital, Maverick Ventures, and Vintage Investment Partners.
Founded in 2009, San Mateo-headquartered Mintigo targets B2B companies with a platform that helps them identify prospects that are most likely to buy their products. It does this by collecting thousands of data points from across more than 50 million companies around the world, garnering data that includes financials, staff, hiring trends, technologies used, and purchase intent. These marketing indicators are then merged with data from a business own marketing platforms and are used to create predictive models to identify the highest value customers.
Up until now, Mintigo had raised around $34 million in equity funding, and with its latest cash influx the company will push forward with plans to grow its platform globally.
Our new partnership with Glilot Capital Partners will help us accelerate our growth and widen our penetration into the enterprise market, noted Mintigo CEO and cofounder Jacob Shama, in a press release. Weve seen amazing results in the past year and well use this investment to move our business forward full throttle.
Mintigo already claims a number of notable clients, including Oracle, Equinix, Time Warner Cable, Getty Images, and Red Hat.
All this and much more Rise Mumbai Page.
PandaDoc Announces Partnership with Zoho CRM:
PandaDoc, the leading digital transaction management solution, today announced that it is now available on Zoho Marketplace. Zoho CRM customers can close more deals with better quotes, proposals, and contract management processes by purchasing and installing the PandaDoc extension through Zoho Marketplace.
Zoho has been an amazing ally over the last year, and we are very excited about this new partnership with them, stated PandaDoc CEO, Mikita Mikado. As we have integrated PandaDoc's complete platform with Zoho CRM and made it available on Zoho Marketplace, customers will now be able to use PandaDoc more easily and seamlessly.
PandaDoc helps accelerate the way organizations transact. It integrates with the worlds leading CRMs, as well as ERP, payment, cloud storage, and other systems. PandaDoc has powerful features that enable businesses to easily generate, track, and execute documents. Companies that run on PandaDoc are consistently reporting higher close rates, bigger deals, shorter sales cycles, full compliance, and other improvements that relate to the final stages of the buying cycle.
"We want our customers to get the most out of Zoho. For this, we offer a wide range of powerful extensions on Zoho Marketplace that increase the capability of Zoho products, like Zoho CRM, and help businesses be more efficient and productive," said Raju Vegesna, Chief Evangelist of Zoho. "We are delighted that PandaDoc has joined Zoho Marketplace. Our customers will now have complete access to their robust document automation platform. PandaDoc, in turn, can sell their solution to Zoho's vast user base."
On Zoho Marketplace, users can explore a repository of third-party applications geared toward enhancing the capabilities of Zoho products by adding features, automating processes, and much more. Users can purchase and install these applications, such as PandaDoc, without leaving the Zoho platform.
Seclore Launches New Data Security Solution :
Seclore, the enterprise security specialist, has announced yet another innovationa completely agent-less and data-centred Enterprise Digital Rights Management (EDRM) solution. This means that enterprises will now be able to secure data-centric security without having to download plug-ins or install specific agents. It is highly data-centric, which implies that customers will be able to carry out rights management effectively by protecting, using, and auditing data in a better manner. This will definitely up the cybersecurity game for enterprises that are increasingly turning to data.
Agent-less rights management is the most important feature of this new security offering. The new launch offers full cycle rights management via a browser, thereby reducing security management hassles significantly. It will greatly enhance the collaborative approach toward security, across a range of users such as customers, their vendors, and their customers. Seclores new collaborative solution makes this possible by allowing security information to travel seamlessly, and making it available for security-related decisions, in a jiffy. This is possible since the browser will take over as the universal tool to manage security tasks, such as viewing, editing, copy/pasting and printing, without losing any security in the process. Document sharing will be more protected, and certain designated users will be provided full audit capabilities.
Seclore has been a leading enterprises security solution provider, and is living up to its stature with this innovation. The company has effectively blended automation with security features to deliver the best security experience. For example, its permission requests are automated, i.e., they are automatically created when a user forwards an email, eliminating the need for manual user management. Over and above, users can define granular permissions as per their requirements, for example, on specific attachments. A highly intuitive interface with an enhanced dashboard and search capabilities provides the necessary data visibility to make data work well for the desired results. Of course, standalone software is no use in todays collaborative times, and the power to integrate with Microsoft SharePoint 2016 provides the required flexibility. A new user is easily on-boarded through the facility of one-time authentication and auto-onboarding feature. These are just some of the add-on features that make the experience an enterprise-friendly and modern one, in line with todays cybersecurity needs.
Seclore is known for its innovative approach to security. The company featured in Gartners rankings as a Cool Vendor recently and has also been recognized by Deloitte as amongst the "50 Fastest Growing Technology Companies." The company currently operates in 29 countries and has 6000+ clients.
Lyft Collaborates with Google to Develop Connected Car:
In a big blow to Uber, US ride-hailing company Lyft has teamed up with Googles driverless car business unit to develop connected and driverless car technologies. The two technology players will come together in a bid to make driverless cars a mainstream phenomenon. This is not good news for Uber, considering that Uber and Google are already neck-deep in a lawsuit concerning the systems that drive their autonomous cars.
Google is propelling research and practical pilots in the self-driving arena with its dedicated business unit, Waymo. The company is already test trialling a driverless minivan in Phoenix. The association seems to be a natural alliance with a common goal of improving city mobility. Waymo was seen commenting that Lyfts commitment to helping cities move about better will help Waymo reach a larger people base across more locations. Lyft is definitely a powerful ally for Waymo in the driverless car segment, with it owning a large amount of data related to mobility on the road. Lyft in turn stands to benefit by being backed by one of the best self-driving technology creators in the industryWaymo. In a statement, Lyft mentioned that this association would accelerate their shared vision of improving peoples lives by creating the best transport mechanisms.
This is not good news for Uber, which has been trying to explore the self-driving business segment but has been bogged down by many roadblocks. The first involved Google suing Uber for stealing its self-driving technology. The episode resulted in a series of exits from Uber. The accused, former Google employee named Anthony Levandowski, who had subsequently joined Uber as the head of the self-driving division, has stepped down. Another high-key resignation was that of vice president of global vehicle programs, Sherif Marakby. Not only this, Uber is under investigation by the US government for allegedly evading regulatory mandates through the use of Greyball technology. The latest jab does not come in good light for a company that is already reeling under lawsuits. Lyft is surely set to gain, as it partners with one of the leading industry innovators, and that too for a promising technology like self-driving cars.
The self-driving car market shows great potential, and many car manufacturers are getting their hands dirty in their attempts to gain an edge. Some of the key players with self-driving technology are Google, Daimler, Ford, Tesla, Volvo and Apple. Google claims that they have been working on the technology since 2009, and by 2015 they had their pilot self-driving vehicle nicknamed Firefly, complete with custom sensors, computers, steering and braking, but no steering wheel or pedals. It was in 2016 that they decided to focus exclusively on the technology by establishing a separate unit, Waymo.
Mentor Hours are interactive 'one-on-one' sessions where an expert mentor guides entrepreneurs with various issues and challenges they are facing.
Anisha is a Co-Founder at Lexstart- a platform that provides legal and compliance services exclusively to startups. She comes with over a decade of corporate law experience.
Anisha has transactional experience spanning across a broad range of industries/sectors, including automotive, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, information technology, manufacturing and services.
She is good with advising on legal aspects of starting up, angel and VC funding & negotiations, commercial contracts and ESOP structuring and implementation.
Areas of Expertise
Mergers & Acquisitions
Private Equity / Venture Capital Investments
Mentor Profile: https://goo.gl/C0c0RV
RSVP Link: https://goo.gl/rlXhyw
Date and Time: 26th May 2017 | 4 pm- 6 pm
Date and Time: 26th May 2017 | 4 pm- 6 pm
3 reasons AI isnt ready to replace human sales reps just yet:
According to a study by Oracle, almost 80 percent of businesses have already implemented or are planning to adopt AI as a customer service solution by 2020, and a recent report by Deloitte and Oxford University suggests telesales could be the next to go.
Other experts are ambivalent about whether AI is really advanced enough to take over the role of a talented sales representative. AI is already being used in the sales field to respond to basic email or chat inquiries, organize sales interactions, and follow up with leads. However, recent studies show that even the most advanced uses of AI bots still struggle when faced with complex user queries, and experts argue that if rolled out too early, bots may frustrate users and create more problems than solutions.
Heres why its too early for AI to take over the role of sales representative just yet.
1. People can read between the lines
As motivation for his controversial robot tax, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates proposed taxing automated enterprises partly to provide more funding for human roles such as caretakers, teachers, or nurses, who require compassion, tact, and sensitivity to interact with those in their care.
And while sales might not be as compassionate a role as nursing, as the famous business mantra goes, people do business with people they know, trust, and like. While AI has been successfully been rolled out for a number of customer service and sales tasks, the technology still cannot truly develop relationships with clients in the same ways human sales reps do.
Great sales reps have emotional intelligence that is nearly impossible for AI to replicate right now. Being a sales A-player means knowing how to interact with customers, listening and asking the right questions to show the client that this product or service could make their lives easier. Thanks to advances in machine learning, the technology has moved past programmed responses. But in the fast-paced world of sales, sometimes what isnt said is just as important as what is said.
Experienced sales reps need to read between the lines to understand if a sales lead has any reservations they arent making readily apparent on the call. Sometimes a potential client will seem extremely interested on first appearances, but then go dark post-call. This is especially important when dealing with potential clients from different cultures. In China, for example, it is seen as improper to refuse an offer or say no immediately, with Chinese business people preferring indirect rejections.
Seasoned sales reps detect hesitation and reservation, even when a client may be nodding their head, and then offer up the right information to get them back on their side. However, AI in its current form would most likely be tricked by this type of human behavior.
2. Human sales teams are more accurate and agile
In a recent Gartner survey, customers say interactions with salespeople are the most important factor in influencing their buying decisions. Sales reps have a limited amount of time to woo a potential client, and first impressions count for everything. Clients want to know the person on the other end of the line is listening to them, and that their time is being well spent. There is nothing more frustrating than being asked the same question twice or being forced to repeat yourself due to a misunderstanding, and these small slip-ups could lose a potential client for good.
Microsoft reported 93.9 percent accuracy for conversational speech recognition on an assigned topic, which is on par with human capabilities. However, it would be hard to reproduce this level of accuracy in a real-world sales environment. Microsofts impressive results were based on offline speech recognition from recorded transcripts, which are not as challenging as online, real-time conversations, which can shift direction and be affected by external influences from one second to the next.
Sales calls are predominantly made via phone, conference call, or communication tools like Skype, and reps need to deal with background noise and overlapping speech when speaking with more than one person, which increase the risk of error for AI sales tools.
3. Human sales teams can look at the bigger picture
Especially when dealing with large B2B contracts, sales conversations can involve multiple calls, emails, and pitches to various people due to the rigid hierarchies of large corporations. As such, it is essential that sales teams piece together all of the information from various interactions to provide a fluid conversation that is moving in the right direction: toward making the big sale.
A salesperson may need to speak to stakeholders in different roles and responsibilities at a company, and needs to understand their distinct needs and how their product or service can solve their unique problems. One missing piece of the puzzle could blow a deal out of the water.
During complex sales, representatives need to stay on top of multiple conversations, and be able to refer back to comments made on other calls which may be relevant in the current call. As it stands, there is no evidence to show that AI has the capacity to fully piece together separate multi-threaded conversations in a complex sale to get a whole overview of the solution a company needs, and sell the right parts of a product or service to the right people.
However, while it appears that AI is simply not advanced enough to entirely take over the role of human sales representatives just yet, there are plenty of ways the technology can improve efficiency and productivity for human teams. For example, by using big data and machine learning technology, AI could help human sales reps by triangulating data from sales calls to offer real-time prompts for the best wording for questions, to obtain the best results.
AI could also be used to train new sales reps who dont have complete product knowledge by offering up the right information to deal with detail-orientated questions and by linking a products benefits to a clients pain points. To date, AI trumps humans in its ability to present exact data, figures, and financials in response to a question, which a human salesperson may not have at their fingertips or remember immediately.
Like yin and yang, humans and AI both bring something to the table. While AI can provide real-time information on technical aspects of the product so that sales reps dont get tripped up, sales teams can build rapport and focus on the emotional aspects driving the buyer to buy or not buy.
It seems that at least for the time being, rather than replacing human sales teams, the power of AI should be harnessed to empower them.
How to design for the userand the bot:
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to drive changes in how enterprises innovate and communicate their business. But for the humans and consumers interfacing with products affected by this technology, what will an AI-empowered future look like? What will it feel like? Empowered by rapidly advancing machine intelligence, product designers are rethinking the fundamental principles that guide the way they work.
Faced with an evolving and exciting set of problems, product designers are asking a new set of questions to reinvent the model of human-computer interaction. How do we empower people rather than overwhelming or terrifying them? How do we help people grapple with intelligences that will inevitably exceed their own? How do we think about user experience (UX) design when it is no longer aimed at helping people understand machines, but rather at machines that will understand human beings and communicate accordingly?
Here are five considerations Ive discovered thus far.
1. Design for two
We are no longer designing for just the user. Weve traditionally designed interfaces solely through the lens of the users needs centered deeply on understanding the users goals, journeys, or stories. While those needs will remain core to the process, we have to consider AI as the second agent.
Were in the nascent era of designing for interactive conversations between two intelligent agents. While some of these designs are voice-based, we are still focused on creating windows, not screens, for relationships across interactions. Successfully designing for these interactive relationships requires an additional consideration of the machines goals, the machines journey, and the machines needs in any given context.
2. Understand the stakes
Fruitful conversations rely on trust and respect. A human users comfort or discomfort relying on AI will be directly impacted by how well they understand what the machine is up to (complexity) and how much it will impact their lives (importance). To put it plainly, you might be less concerned about taking product recommendations directly from an AI system than you would be about taking medical advice. The more complex and important a set of interactions is, the more the user has to both respect the machines competence at coming to a solution and trust that it has the users best interests in its (digital) heart.
Designers can approach these problems in a host of ways. For example, a designer can focus on explanations in human terms, provide constant transparency in information gaps, or they can completely reimagine an approach to error messaging and guidance (my team has taken to calling this error-driven design). Most importantly, a designer should first assess an interaction by how well each agent understands the other and how much of an impact the interaction will have.
3. Design like you talk
A key part of winning trust and respect, and facilitating a productive conversation, is rooted in a slight riff on the old adage about good writing: Write like you talk. Since the advent of the PC, designers have been tasked with helping humans think like machines first at the command line, and later through spreadsheets, database inputs, and form fields. AI-empowered interactions change our goal. We are now designing to help machines meet people where they are. In other words, we get to let people be people again.
Consider Facebook. Recall the sites simplicity in 2004 versus its ecosystem in 2017. In the early years, the UX was entirely centered around influencing people to organize their lives in SQL-friendly chunks and graphable tags. Fast forward a decade and Facebook is hard at work on Messenger integrations that learn about you just by absorbing your chat threads. Facebooks designers are saying, You be you, well figure it out.
4. Leverage active listening (in moderation)
Facebooks latest moves highlight another important technological advancement for designers: AI can listen. Computers used to wait for input, but today machines collect information through our online exchanges, interactions, and communications (and, thanks to the rise of mobile and IoT devices, the online component of our daily lives is nearing ubiquity). Through each new app, new device, and new interface, the collective machine is capable of learning more about us. As designers, we have both a huge opportunity and an immense responsibility.
On the opportunity side, AI can now be an active listener in any given interaction. For example, it can gather traffic data by tracking your motion during use of a map app, optimize a coaching app by getting a sense of your activity habits through tracking your heart rate, or prioritize possible matches in a dating queue based not on what you say you like but on whose profiles you view and interact with most this is helpful active listening. On the responsibility side, we have to find the line between helpful listening and nefarious eavesdropping that violates privacy rights (anyone remember the Samsung Smart TV episode?).
5. Convince is the new convert
Despite the machines ability to listen and generate information passively in some contexts, the user is still called on to take action during many interactions. Depending on the stakes, that required action might be stressful or go against gut instinct (say, decisions about medical treatment or financial planning). As AI becomes part of high-stakes interactions, designers can look to a cousin of the age-old conversion flow for a framework; in other words, convince is the new convert. In a wide variety of realms ripe for AI involvement, machines (and their designers) will find themselves in the position of persuading the user to accept a logical conclusion. Its a process that will require systems to be imbued with an understanding of human emotion, bias, and logical fallacies. After all, human conversation isnt just about knowledge transfer. Its about context, mutual understanding, nuance, and trust. Machines will need to understand us if were to understand and believe in them.
Designers have their work cut out for them at the edge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but the work has amazing and powerful implications. Take a moment and think about this: As humans, our senses define our understanding of the world our reality is what we see, smell, feel, hear, and touch. If designed successfully, interactions with AI can augment human perception and knowledge, widening the window into a universe of information that humans have yet to fathom. But, of course, windows are two-way. As we find ourselves the creators of an increasingly rich digital primordial soup through which Unix time counts back to a second big bang we have a related consideration. We are beginning to create the senses by which intelligent machines will know us and are defining how a nascent intelligence will come to understand our universe in the future.
In 2016, Facebook took the bot world by storm when it opened up its Messenger platform to developers. Then came Amazons voice-controlled Alexa, and the hype shifted towards all things voice. So noticeable was the shift that New York-based startup studio Betaworks rebranded its popular Botcamp event from last year to Voicecamp this year.
The integration of bots into our daily lives is really just getting started, so for brands and marketers joining the journey, the hyperdynamic, often polarizing views on which type of bot is best can be confusing. Should you build a voice bot or a text bot? On which platform should your brand invest to deploy its first conversational experience?
Like the bots themselves, the answer is both elegantly simple and complex.
Whats your placeona?
Derived from the concept of persona, Canadian computer scientist and researcher Bill Buxton introduced the idea of a placeona (place-ona) to capture how location can influence which types of interactive technology it makes sense for people to use. Borrowing from Des Traynors brilliant post on the topic, lets look at these three scenarios:
On a bicycle: Your placeona is hands busy, eyes busy, ears free, voice free.
In the classroom: Your placeona is hands free, eyes and ears free, voice restricted.
At home with friends: Your placeona is hands free, eyes and ears free, voice free.
In the first scenario, the platform of choice would be voice. In the second scenario, text would be more appropriate. In the third scenario, either voice or text would work. Thats a key point to make: Bots should not compete against each other, but work together to create a unified, seamless, delightful user experience that creates value for whichever context a user might be in.
What kind of friend is your brand?
The nature of your brand also dictates which platform you should invest in.
A chatbot from Kotex aimed at girls in need of advice on handling their first period, for example, would be better received with the privacy of a text bot. Plus, maybe that interaction happens on Kik instead of Messenger, since thats where most American teens spend their time. On the other hand, cooking tips sponsored by Campbells might be better suited to a voice bot, which can deliver the preparation directives when your hands are dirty. Its all about putting the user first and adapting or placing your offering appropriately, for maximum effectiveness.
In the end, you shouldnt try to change customers behavior, but rather leverage existing behavior, adapting your approach to suit the context. Thats how your brand will thrive in the messaging age.
When in the comfort of their homes or their cars, people tend to feel at ease with voice-activated interfaces. When in public, people would rather enjoy the privacy of their phone, where they can text each other or send messages to brands in a bidirectional, asynchronous, and silent way. As the Kotex example illustrates, the private nature of some conversations is key to unlocking the kind of utility and value that customers are looking for. Thats also how you can bond and foster deep, meaningful relationships with your audience over time.
Respecting the pace of play of customers is the golden rule for brand marketers who want to design stellar virtual assistants. Choosing the right platform is the first critical step in joining the conversation.
Googles new Street View Ready cameras will open up a new world of VR
Google Earth might make for one of the most exciting PC VR apps, but the companys Street View app for Daydream is no slouch either, allowing you to step into 360 degree images of the world around you. The platform already offers plenty of content, but Googles new Street View Ready cameras are set to introduce much more.
The search engine giant announced this new concept earlier this week. A total of 20 new 360 degree camera releasing this will will be branded with the Street View Ready certification that will allow for quick, painless uploading of images to Googles world-spanning service. Why send out specialized cars to capture the world when you can get ordinary people to do it for you?
The Ready certification is split into different standards. Mobile Ready lets you publish content direct from the app, while Auto Ready devices capture frames from cameras mounted to vehicles. Workflow Ready, meanwhile, features a set of publishing tools to allow you to upload to Street View accounts.
The one were most interested in, obviously, is Street View VR ready, which collect geometry in addition to generating sets of connected 360 photos. You can see the specs for what makes a camera VR Ready here.
Matterport, InsideMaps, and NCTech will all be releasing cameras under the VR Ready certification. In fact, the latter company has already revealed its device at the Google Street View summit in Japan this week. Aptly named the Virtual Reality Camera (VRC), the device is designed to be a low-cost consumer camera that offers 3D capture of interior spaces. A price and release date for the kit has not been confirmed, though weve reached out to the company to ask.
NCTech also has entries in auto and mobile strands of the certification.
Blockchain fundings are trendy, but were still in the Wild West days :
Many startups are currently testing out one of the most exciting new investment trends: blockchain-based initial coin offerings (ICOs). Still unregulated and open for anyone to invest in, not just VCs, these token crowdsales are like Kickstarter campaigns for the crypto world.
For those unfamiliar with the idea, startups wanting to build blockchain-based apps (called decentralized apps or dApps) can forge a new blockchain to build them on top of or can build them on established public blockchains such as Ethereum, which is currently seeing most of these projects. These startups pull in funding by selling off tokens of their own cryptocurrency. With the rising interest in blockchain-based services, it has become trendy to invest in these initial coin offerings.
Currently these investments are based largely on speculation and fear of missing out, so most people throwing money at these projects are taking a big risk.
Theres usually only one round of fundraising in an ICO, and this happens before the startup has even launched its solution. If the company has something concrete to showcase, its usually just a proof of concept or in alpha stage although there are a few exceptions, like Storj, that have come out of beta before starting their token sale. So most investors dont have access to the information they need to make informed decisions; they know very little about how the solution is going to work in the real world. The startups and projects running these ICOs usually put up a website (they all tend to look and feel the same, by the way) presenting their solution in a white paper. And often this is the scope of hobbyist investors due diligence, when they really should know the team and the product theyre building in detail, for example by reviewing their source code.
There are sites like ICOrating that analyze and assess startups with an upcoming ICO. Still, millions of dollars are being sunk into these projects without a proper appreciation of the risk. Naivety could be one reason. Its easy to get blinded by the massive successes of the Bitcoin and Ether currencies. As long as a new project is being built on a blockchain and has a token, it must be the next big thing, right? With so many new projects launching (19 ongoing ICOs and 35 upcoming listed at the time of this writing), there are probably many that never should receive funding, like the OneCoin scam.
Potential investors should also keep in mind that public blockchains, such as Ethereum, are currently platforms for experimental ideas. App makers are trying out all types of new things, and no one knows how this dApp landscape is going to look in a year or two. Although its getting there, the tech stack isnt quite ready yet either, something Fred Ehrsam illustrated nicely in this Medium post.
Its hard to believe that all of the new blockchains being built will have real world value and see adoption beyond a handful of crypto enthusiasts. And they need to go mainstream to build a strong enough community of people willing to help and promote them. But this means that the startup has no idea whos investing in the crowdsale. The average random investor is likely placing bets on several projects due to hype and FOMO and the chance of a quick profit. He or she usually has a day job to take care of and isnt the idealist or evangelist who takes that active role that the company needs to succeed.
Some of these developer teams will probably get acqui-hired by larger incumbents, and their concepts incorporated as features of existing products down the road similar to what Spotify did with its recent acquisition of blockchain startup Mediachain. Many others, of course, will fail.
There is unlimited potential for ecosystems running on blockchains, and I cant wait to see where this is heading. However, due to the experimental, immature, and volatile state of this market at the moment, its probably not the place to invest if you dont fully understand the offering.
Assess What Your Tech Company Needs to Stay Competitive:
Businesses today are under a lot of pressure to performreducing operational costs, increasing productivity, scouting newer markets and attracting new customers. Technology is the wand that can help organizations achieve these objectives faster and better. Investing in technology is, therefore, not an option but a must to stay ahead of the pack. Whether you are a budding startup or an established player, make sure you innovate in the technology space to delight your customers and stay profitable.
Resources are always at a premium when it comes to running a business. Not only must one deliver to speed, but also optimize the time and effort investments. A number of emerging technologies such as cloud, social, mobile and analytics (SMAC) are now making this a breezeprovided you take the right decisions for these new technologies. Here are core objectives you must aim for when embracing such new technologies.
Efficiency boost: Focus on a fast and effective go-to-market strategy, especially if you are a technology company where the competition is fierce. Business agility is a core differentiator today, and often niche players capitalize on their ability to be flexible and agile, to compete with established biggies. From operations to communications, optimize every step of the business value chain for efficiency. On-the-go mobile communication, email, live messaging, and voice are some of the latest efficiency drivers that you must consider incorporating to empower your employees for seamless and smooth communication. Efficiency is critical to reduce downtime and meet customer demand in a timely manner.
Storage optimization: Organizations are boggled by the huge amounts of disparate data they have to manage these days. It is time to move over the conventional storage methods and turn to more contemporary storage means. Virtualization is the buzzword as far is storage is concerned cloud and virtual servers help organize, access and manage large amounts of data, normalize different formats and analyze them for insights. Moreover, space is a constraint and one must look at the latest in storage norms to maximize space utilization.
Social sharing: Today, information is power and the capability to share and make information flow seamlessly can be a big advantage. Use the power and reach of social to your advantage; reach out to a whole new virtual market out there. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have enterprise-friendly features to help you engage with your customers through two-way channelstweets, likes, comments, shares are a must to build visibility for your brand. Digital marketing is a huge bonus even for technology companies, as most of your consumer segment is out there, tapping away at their smartphones and smart devices.
Knowledge management: An organizations capability pool is critical to its success and it is important for you to leverage this pool effectively. Use knowledge sharing tools and build opportunities for your people to build and share know-how across the network. For this, you must turn to new-age learning mechanisms. For example, online MOOCs or Massive Online Open Courses are a great way to engage and coax your people to pick up new skills, thanks to their online access. Social learning is another great way to unlock learning; you can even utilize your company intranet portal to push this. Another important element of knowledge management is leadership developmentthe leadership skills to help enterprises navigate uncertain times.
Automation: The tech world is going gaga over automation. Assess your functions and tasks for the scope for automation especially where transactional activities are involved. For example, accounting and bookkeeping can be handed over to a software called Quicken. New CRMs are out there that help you manage customers, right from order receipts to deliveries and servicing. Automation should be your go-to tool to cut costs, improve effectiveness (by reducing human error), and improve speed of delivery.
Security: Last but not the least, security is a major concern today with the innumerable devices and tech tools we turn to for business. Whether it is sensitive customer data or strategic decisions, our data is precious and leaks can prove fatal to organizational wellbeing. While overall measures such as installing the latest anti-virus and firewalls are important, make sure you have a security strategy depending on the technology framework you have. For example, your IoT network will require an entirely different tech ecosystem. Identify your various security needs and invest in them, even though the cost may seem high. Remember, the cost of losing your intellectual assets is beyond comprehension and prevention is far better than cure.
7 Things to Consider Before Launching a Fintech Startup:
New businesses, especially in an emerging industry such as fintech, require careful planning and thought.
The impact of technology on the financial industry has been powerful. Traditional financial institutions, such as banks, have discovered that new technologies are indeed disruptive. This epiphany has forced age-old financial institutions to develop their own tech capabilities, and to stay ahead of the game, many have partnered with fintech startups or acquired promising new companies.
However, the shorthand, fintech, has become a buzzword, encouraging budding entrepreneurs to believe that they can simply hitch their ventures on to the bandwagon in order to make a quick buck. As with any endeavor, this isnt the case. New businesses, especially in an emerging industry such as fintech, require careful planning and thought. Here are seven things that you need to consider before launching a fintech startup.
Regulations are why financial services can be a tough industry to break into. Laws have been put in place in order to safeguard financial systems from abuse. In addition, the amount of compliance that is required of institutions often involves the need for accountants and lawyers.
However, fintech has ushered in new ways of viewing and handling money and has become a gray area for regulation. This is something that has been drawing the attention of lawmakers, especially in fintech companies charter applications to be special purpose national banks. This isnt as straightforward as it seems since some fintech services such as peer-to-peer lending operate using new models.
In addition, these regulations may vary per market depending on the state, country or region in which you seek to operate. In Europe, theres the impending implementation of the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). While this directive actually opens up the market for fintech in Europe, know that venturing into fintech will require you to know and fully understand these regulations and comply to whatever the territory demands.
2. Competition from institutions
While banks have acknowledged the disruption fintech has created, this doesnt mean that they will just accept defeat and step aside for the new guys. It isnt exactly banks as institutions that are under threat as much as its the way we do banking.
Banks still hold the assets, and many of them have the capability and clout to either partner up with fintech companies or buy them out. In fact, this is already happening. Bank of America is investing $1.5 million in fintech efforts in Charlotte, N.C. In Europe, Santander has started a fund to develop fintech startups. As a venture, you have to decide if youd be determined enough to take on the big guys on or if youd rather explore greener pastures.
3. Customer trust
Security has come to the forefront of all tech ventures today. Data breaches and cyberattacks are still rampant. With the nature of the information fintech companies handle, they are becoming an optimal target for cybercriminals. Getting attacked and having customer data stolen is a surefire way to lose customer trust quickly.
Customer trust is key in the financial industry and it is becoming a rare commodity these days. A survey by the National Association of Retirement Plan Participants in 2016 indicates that only 8 percent had faith in their financial institutions.
Many will be skeptical of any new services and most people would be wary of the risk sending out financial information or handing over their money to fledgling fintech services. The challenge lies in putting safeguards in place and convincing prospects that your system is robust and secure enough.
4. The need for a strong team
This might seem obvious, but fintech isnt exactly an area where there are turnkey tools and free scripts one can use to come up with an app or service. This isnt like some other tech ventures where barriers to entry are relatively low. Financial, technological and business expertise are all required to develop fintech. Then, there are compliance requirements that may require you to bring in legal help.
Building a strong team means that you must attract talent in various areas of competence, as it truly is a multidisciplinary effort. Fintech is still in a state of flux, at least in the foreseeable future, so the ability to deliver or change direction quickly is essential.
5. Unique and valuable service
The fintech industry is starting to get crowded now that many pioneers have done enough for new ventures to follow. Still, a key entrepreneurial question to ask is if your venture will be able to offer something unique and high value.
All segments related to money are fair game for fintech. We can now see fintech startups enter personal finance, budgeting, payments, lending, investments and insurance. All are trying to find solutions to consumers problems and offer new ways to do things. The danger for startups is to be a "me-too." Copying can be a bad strategy, especially if there are already similar services that are established in the niche.
That said, there are verticals worth considering. Many of fintechs early adopters are millennials who want to integrate their financial matters with their mobile lifestyles. Stock trading app Robinhood's users have an average age of 26. This may mean that other age groups are untapped markets for now, even if communicating a novel value proposition to older and more traditional age groups may come as a challenge.
6. Technology choices
There are also a number of new technologies that are hyped in fintech. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are now figuring in the area of investments in the form of robo-advisors. This data and algorithm driven approach to investing is even challenging age-old financial wisdom. Banks are also experimenting with using chatbots that would allow customers to check account information within Facebook Messenger.
Other hot ticket technologies in fintech include blockchain and distributed ledgers. Blockchain, the technology powering the digital currency Bitcoin, is a decentralized way of exchanging value online. It is arguably the biggest threat to banking.
As a startup, you may have to bet on technologies that would power the service. On the plus side, technologies such as machine learning and analytics engines are now being offered as a service by cloud platform providers like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, which lowers the barrier for development. However, these technologies have yet to fully mature. You should be prepared for growing pains and hiccups when using them.
Forming a tech startup isnt cheap. If your venture isnt a partnership between experts who can develop the entire product and business development, then be prepared to shell out a good sum for talent. As traditional institutions try to assimilate fintech talent for themselves, startups would surely face competition in the hiring.
There are also the typical capitalization and operating expenses associated with starting a business. What further increases the expense for fintech startups are integrations with traditional institutions such as banks and brokerages.
Still, many are optimistic since funding for fintech is at a high. Global venture capital investment was $17.4 billion in 2016. However, this excitement only means that competition for funding is also increasing. VCs are getting more selective, seeking out companies with truly game changing offerings, thus making your value proposition all the more important.
Focusing on Innovation:
Fintech isnt for everybody. It demands expertise, creativity and frankly a lot of grit to launch a startup in a volatile and competitive industry. There are arguments highlighting the supposed disconnect between the slow-changing realm of finance and the fast-changing world of technology. The pressure for tech companies to deliver huge results rapidly can also be immense. Still, if you believe that you will be able to solve financial issues for your users through innovative means, go ahead. Fortune favors the bold. Just be smart with how you do it.
Apples Watch can detect an abnormal heart rhythm with 97% accuracy, UCSF study says:
According to a study conducted through heartbeat measurement app Cardiogram and the University of California, San Francisco, the Apple Watch is 97 percent accurate in detecting the most common abnormal heart rhythm when paired with an AI-based algorithm.
The study involved 6,158 participants recruited through the Cardiogram app on Apple Watch. Most of the participants in the UCSF Health eHeart study had normal EKG readings. However, 200 of them had been diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heartbeat). Engineers then trained a deep neural network to identify these abnormal heart rhythms from Apple Watch heart rate data.
Cardiogram began the study with UCSF in 2016 to discover whether the Apple Watch could detect an oncoming stroke. About a quarter of strokes are caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, according to Cardiogram co-founder and data scientist for UCSFs eHeart study Brandon Ballinger.
Cardiogram tested the deep neural network it had built against 51 in-hospital cardioversions (a procedure that restores the hearts normal rhythm) and says it achieved a 97 percent accuracy in the neural networks ability to find irregular heart activity.
So far this is just a study built on a preliminary algorithm but it holds promise in trying to identify and prevent stroke in the future. Atrial fibrillation, the most common abnormal heart rhythm, causes 1 in 4 strokes. Ballinger says two-thirds of those types of strokes are preventable with relatively inexpensive drugs.
And more people, including older populations most prone to stroke risk, are starting to use wearable technology such as Fitbit or the Apple Watch, which can double as heart monitors. Including algorithms trained to identify heart problems could help save lives in some of these more at-risk populations.
It should be noted mobile EKG readers have also made great strides in the past few years. The Mayo Clinic teamed up on a study involving AI and AliveCors version of an EKG reader, which sticks onto the back of a smartphone and uses the Kardia app to determine abnormal heart rhythm, and determined it was as good as other EKG devices used in the doctors office. The Mayo Clinic felt so strongly about this study it invested in AliveCors latest $30 million round.
In the meantime, Cardiogram and UCSF will continue its eHealth study and plan to further validate its deep neural network against multiple gold standards, incorporating the results into the Cardiogram app itself, and investigating the ability to detect health conditions beyond atrial fibrillation, according to Cardiogram
PokitDok to Bring Blockchain to Healthcare with Intel and Hyperledger :
Healthcare technology solutions PokitDok to develop blockchain solutions for the industry using Intel's Hyperledger Sawtooth ledger.
The healthcare sector has opened up huge opportunities for the implementation of blockchain technology. As companies rush to meet the demand, those who are going to benefit from it are the technology startups and businesses with experience working in the sector. Companies like PokitDok have a better understanding of the healthcare industrys needs and requirements, putting them in a better position to solve them. PokitDok has decided to do so with Intel, the leading chip maker.
The healthcare API company, PokitDok has announced its plans to create a distributed ledger Dokchain solution for the industry. In order to do so, the company has forged a partnership with Intel and will be using its Hyperledger Sawtooth as the underlying ledger. This partnership will witness PokitDok making use of Intels advanced SGX technology enabled chipsets to process blockchain transaction requests.
The decision to use Hyperledger Sawtooth will also open a channel of active collaboration between other members of the Hyperledger consortium, which will prove to be really helpful as PokitDok progresses with the development and implementation of Dokchain solution. The companys representatives were quoted referring to this partnership as a Singularity event in healthcare.
Reports on media outlets suggest the multiple ledger nature of Dokchain, making it capable of operating on any cryptocurrency blockchain. The Dokchain solution will provide identity verification and supply chain validation capabilities to hospitals and healthcare centers over blockchain. PokitDok believes that such a solution can cut down the time taken for logging in patients, disbursing medicines and processing claims by huge margins.
The use of Intels SGX technology for processing transactions will ensure greater security, in compliance with HIPAA compliance standards. Speaking about Intels role and the SGX technology, the head of Intels blockchain technology projects Mike Reed said,
Intel has a long history of contributing to open source, and working with Linux and the Hyperledger project allows us to work across multiple market segments One key piece is Intel SGX a method [weve built into our chips] to improve the scalability, privacy, and security of blockchains.
PokitDok has already tested its solution on Ethereum network, and it is expected to do so on other cryptocurrency networks as the development progresses. With this solution, patients, as well as healthcare professionals, can cut down hours if not days of hard work trying to manually record and collect information from the initial consultation till discharge, bill payments, and insurance claims.
Microsoft Announces New Developer Services and Tools:
At the Microsoft developer conference, Seattle for Build 2017, Satya Nadella, Scott Guthrie and Harry Shum, have announced that there are 500 million devices that are using Windows 10. Microsoft has also announced that it will be launching new cloud and Azure services that will empower developers to modernize and build more intelligent apps across platforms.
"In a world of near infinite compute power and an exponential growth in data, we are focused on empowering every developer to build applications for this new era of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge," said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.
These new developer services and tools include new technologies, and improvements to incorporate AI for managing edge devices. Microsoft has also introduced database services which will provide incredible flexibility to developers, enable easy migration of data, and detect threat.
While Microsoft has announced the general availability of Visual Studio 2017 for Mac, it has also provided developers with more data, APIs and access to Office 365 so that they can build new, smarter apps, and enable smarter ways to work.
By combining Microsoft cloud and AI, Microsoft plans to introduce new cognitive services, new innovations for platforms in the Microsoft Bot Framework, advances in deep learning tools, and continued infusion of AI into the company's products and services.
DocuSign has also announced that Microsoft Azure will be its preferred cloud for its global expansion initiatives.
IBM Launches Data Science Experience Local:
IBM has launched Data Science Experience Local, its new collaborative workspace for private clouds. With this workspace, data scientists and organizations that work with sensitive data can quickly, easily, and securely collaborate on data analytics models in their own private locations, behind their firewalls.
While cloud is best suited to handle the workloads and the huge volumes of data with which data scientist work, cloud adoption has been very limited due to security concerns.
Data Science Experience (DSX), launched by IBM in November 2016 on the IBM cloud provides a collaborative environment where cloud scientists can leverage tools like Spark, R, Python and Anaconda.
DSX Local provides a similar experience within an organization's own servers, data centers and firewalls. It uses open source cluster managers like Kubernetes to provide a clustered, scalable installation, that allows monitoring and administration of services. DSX Local allows data scientists to share their projects and code, collaborate and build analytic models, and integrate with open framework models.
"Industries from healthcare to financial services, demand greater rigor around the ingestion, sharing and analyzing of their critical data," says Rob Thomas, general manager, IBM Analytics. "With the new local version of the Data Science Experience, data scientists now have a collaborative development environment from within a private cloud setting to quickly and securely extract valuable insights in order to make strategic, data-driven decisions."
By pairing DSX Local with DSX, organizations can enable data scientists to work on both public as well as private cloud environments to develop hybrid solutions.
"Collaboration among data scientists is something the discipline needs to advance ideas, suggestions and models, rapidly and easily," says Bill Diamond, president and CEO, (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) SETI Institute which is leveraging IBMs DSX. "The IBM solution takes that concept to a new level and enables our scientists to share complex documents, live code, and equations more quickly and easily with partnering scientists from IBM, Stanford University, and other institutions. Based on the benefits we've seen to date, I can only see work like this blossoming even further."
Name: Rise Mumbai
About: Rise brings together the world's thinkers and doers to create the future of financial services, through a network of physical hubs & a virtual community.
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