The new game plan for banks in the digital age

Borrowing the opening lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, banks are now in the best of times and the worst of times. Advancements in technology have given rise to changing consumer behaviors and enabled non-traditional players to offer banking services. Asian consumers today are 1.6 to 5 times more likely to transact with their banks via online channels as compared to physical branches. These consumers are also showing interest in using banking services offered by tech companies. For instance, Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay are now widely used by consumers in China for payments.

The need for banks to deliver exceptional customer experiences is now more important than ever, as customers are becoming more open to switching financial services providers (even if the provider is not a bank) if they found one that offered them a better experience. However, all hope is not lost. By making the right technological investments and adopting more flexible business models, banks have the opportunity to enhance operational efficiency and accelerate innovation in order to improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue.

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Preparing to be open in open banking

If I had to sum up a theme from my second day at Sibos, it would be open banking. Sibos is an annual week-long event that bills itself as a “premier business forum” for the financial community to gather and collaborate around payments, securities, trade, and cash management. At this year’s gathering in Sydney, Australia, a number of sessions have focused on initiatives around open banking and open APIs.

Several of the live polls throughout sessions at Sibos have focused on customer relationships – putting the customer (and partner) at the core, and building initiatives around that to become a more open banking institution.

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The network effect of blockchain

The impact of decentralization to financial services was abundantly clear to me on the first day of Sibos.

Moving almost $2 trillion in securities from a legacy system to distributed ledger technology (DLT), the transition of the Australian Securities Exchange to a blockchain is one of the more public use cases to date. Transitioning banks to DLT, whether that be for treasury services, correspondent bank payments, settlements, securities or other applications, getting the use case right from the beginning is an important first step to successful adoptions.

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Innovate at Finovate – Fall 2018 Conference Roundup

The Finnovate series of conferences are a showcase for banking and financial technology (fintech) organizations to demonstrate the technologies and services they are pioneering. The week of September 24th, at Finovate Fall 2018 in New York City, 79 Fintechs presented in rapid-fire, real-time seven minute demos (with no slides) focused heavily on enhancing digital user experience, open banking, artificial intelligence (AI) and data.

The fintechs’ offerings on display were far ranging and addressed various user types, customers and markets within the FSI space. There were demos about the application of AI facial recognition at ATM machines, along with integration of your mobile device to enhance security and transaction experience.

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Want to uplevel your competition in banking? Remove cross channel friction and deliver customer choice

When you think omnichannel, you’re probably thinking of the movers and shakers in the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries. Best Buy may come to mind as one of the leading brands to provide the coherent experiences customers want across different platforms. It seamlessly accommodates their purchase journeys by paying particular attention to what shoppers do on its mobile application in order to coordinate, personalize and improve their in-store outings.

That’s just one example of why retail is on a fast-moving upward track: McKinsey & Company has reported that the sector is growing between 40 and 70 percent annually.

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Bringing AI and machine learning data science into operation

Contributed content from Foutse Khomh and Giuliano Antoniol, Professors in the Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal (Canada), Montreal, Canada.

Red Hat, as an open source community leader, participated with AI/ML researchers at the Software Engineering for Machine Learning Applications (SEMLA) initiative – sharing how organizations can take advantage of modern infrastructure based on open technology such as agile integration, microservices, and containerized applications – to help build and deploy managed, scalable intelligent applications on hybrid clouds.

Organizations eager to adopt AI and machine learning (ML) are up against significant challenges.  The practice of bridging the gap between data science and operations, much in the same way that DevOps can for application development. And just as with DevOps, there are architectural, cultural and process considerations associated with creating an agile AI/ML environment. For example, parallel to modern DevOps, open hybrid cloud platforms can allow for faster turnaround of refining models, integrating disparate data sources more quickly, and making it easier to take advantage of ML capabilities and tools from both providers and third parties – who have made their solutions available as containerized services.

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Staking a claim in digital-only banks

Big names in the financial services sector are moving beyond incorporating a few online and mobile banking features into their traditional products and services. They’re stepping into full-scale, digital-only banking: Chase has launched Finn, for example, and Citizens Financial Group has created Citizens Access. Reportedly waiting in the wings is a national digital-only bank from Citigroup, too.

These new brands stemming from established banks will be going up against competitors such as Ally and GoBank, who have made the digital-only bank space their home from their inception. By launching their digital brands, Chase, Citizens Financial Group, and the others that follow, are creating options for escaping the confines of their existing processes and technology environments.

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Deborah Bryant keynotes on open source in telecom at AstriCon 2018

Growing demand for streaming video, ever-expanding smartphone capabilities, virtual reality, the internet of things (IoT), and other next-generation technologies are pushing telecommunications service providers to adopt new business models and deliver more advanced services. And more and more, they are pursuing open source solutions to support these efforts.

Red Hat’s Deborah Bryant, senior director of open source and standards, will explore this shift and the dramatic role open source has played as a disruptor in telecommunications, in her keynote presentation at AstriCon 2018, October 9-11, at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. The Asterisk PBX Project for which the event is named is one of the oldest and well-established open source community projects in telecommunications.

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Sunrise Communications achieves competitive gains with Red Hat

Today’s service providers (SPs) are operating in an evolving and competitive environment, where there can be pressure to launch new services that will keep subscribers engaged without significantly raising prices. On top of this, SPs often have to achieve these goals while also meeting strict data protection, security, and stability standards.

Sunrise Communications, one of Switzerland’s largest telecommunications providers, knew that modernizing its network was its key to success in these areas. To do this, the organization took a three-pronged approach: Sunrise consolidated its IT infrastructure to SAP HANA, standardized on enterprise open source software from Red Hat, and used industry-standard hardware from Huawei to simplify what had been a complex OSS environment and to better control costs.

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ONS Europe: Open source is core to Telco modernization projects

Service providers around the world are modernizing their networks, and open source has been core to their digital transformation. Nowhere was that more apparent than at last week’s Open Networking Summit Europe, where service providers and open source partners gathered to celebrate open source innovation.

The show kicked off with the release of a report from The Linux Foundation and six industry sponsors, including Red Hat, that underscored the commitment service providers are making to open source. According to the survey, conducted by analyst firm Heavy Reading, 98 percent of respondents expressed confidence in open networking solutions performing at the same level as traditional networking solutions. They also signaled confidence in open source solutions, with 69 percent of service providers surveyed indicating that they are currently using open source solutions in production networks.

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