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Robots are doing the work of $326,000-a-year Goldman Sachs employees

2017-06-14 - By 

Goldman Sachs is automating the work previously done by associates earning $326,000 a year, and Bloomberg reports that half of the tasks needed to prepare for an IPO can be done by algorithms as well.

According to a recent study by the bank, half of the 127 tasks done to prepare for initial public offerings of stock can be automated.

Why it matters: Investment banking is another job on a growing list of high-paid work that is being automated, along with legal services and medicine.

Why it may not (technically) kill jobs: Goldman swears that this technology won’t reduce headcount, but will instead free bankers to focus on tasks like shaping marketing strategy and spending time with clients. But it also says that it has eliminated thousands of hours of human work, which will reduce the need to increase its headcount going forward.

Original article here.

 


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These are the Leading Credit Card Processing companies

2017-04-04 - By 

Credit card processors are mostly responsible for data transmission and security when you use your card at a store or online to make a purchase.

There are two types of processors in the payment-card system. Front-end processors route transactions from merchants to the cardholder’s bank to gain authorization; that is, they make sure a customer has enough available credit or funds to make a purchase. Back-end processors are responsible for a fund’s settlement, which ends with the merchant receiving a deposit for transactions. 

Below, we’ve outlined the major players in credit card processing and described their major strengths.

  • Bank of America Merchant ServicesBank of America Merchant Services has the advantage of functioning within the second-largest bank in the U.S. The service promises acceptance of all kinds of payments (credit cards, debit cards, electronic checks, and gift cards), access to funds on the next business day, and mobile support.
  • Citibank:  The consumer division of Citigroup processes transactions in more than 100 currencies. It offers end-to-end processing services, from pricing to transactions, reporting, customer service, and billing.
  • Wells Fargo: One of the “Big Four” U.S. banks, Wells Fargo offers next-business day funding, encryption and tokenization technology, and support for both PIN and signature transactions.
  • Chase Paymentech: The payment processing arm of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., authorizes and processes payments in more than 130 currencies. And like its peers, it offers analytics, fraud detection, and security solutions.
  • Barclays: Barclaycard payment solutions facilitates in-person, phone, web, and even mail order payments through desktop and portable card machines.
  • Vantiv: Vantiv has been successful thanks to its nearly error-free purchases, authorizations, and captures. In May 2015, it successfully completed 95% of these transactions, ahead of competitors such as Worldpay, PayPal, and Braintree. The company also has a significant speed advantage, as it often processes payments data in less than a second.
  • First Data: First Data facilitates small business payments with its Clover suite of products, including a mini reader that works without Wi-Fi and a mobile reader that attaches to other devices in order to process payments on the go.
  • Cielo: Cielo is the largest Brazilian credit and debit card operator and the largest payment systems company in Latin America. The company debuted on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange in 2010.
  • TSYS: Short for Total System Services, TSYS supports millions of buyers and sellers around the world through four major branches: issuing services, acquiring services, prepaid solutions, and merchant solutions.
  • Global Payments: Global Payments focuses on ensuring businesses accept all major forms of payments. To that end, its services include credit/debit/purchasing cards, electronic check conversion, money transfer, verification and recovery services, gift/loyalty cards, check guarantee, ACH checks, financial EDI services, and point-of-sale equipment.
  • Worldpay: The UK-based company is one of the longest-tenured online payment platforms. The company provides several payment services for both online and in-store channels. As of August 2016, the company had 400,000 merchant clients. In 2015, it processed 13 billion transactions valued at more than $526 billion. Worldpay has grown its volume primarily because of early-mover advantages that have allowed it to build scale. It also provides many different services across channels, which diversifies its revenue streams. 
  • Moneris: Moneris is the largest credit and debit card processor and acquirer in Canada. It processes more than three billion transactions each year for more than 350,000 merchants, and the company employs more than 1,900 people in North America.
  • Fiserv: American Banker and BAI ranked Fiserv third by revenue among technology providers to U.S. banks in October 2015. Fiserv provides services in account processing, electronic payments processing, check processing, web and mobile banking, and more.
  • Adyen: Adyen provides e-commerce companies with a payment platform that includes gateway, risk management, and front-end processing services. Adyen is a full-stack gateway and has famous merchants like Facebook and Spotify as clients. The company has brought in merchants thanks to its single platform that can support payments in any channel across 100 different payment methods and 200 countries. The firm processed $50 billion in 2015, up 100% from $25 billion in 2014. It earned $350 million in revenue in 2015, and expects to break $500 million in 2016. 
  • Heartland Payment Systems: Heartland helps businesses move beyond accept ng major credit cards. The company facilitates payment processing in-store, online, and offsite through multiple methods, such as EMV, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and gift cards. It also offers next-day funding, real-time reporting, and 24/7 customer service in the U.S.
  • Elavon: Formerly known as NOVA, this company is a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp. Elavon processes payments in more than 30 countries for more than one million merchants.

More to Learn

These card processors handle so much volume and so many dollars every day, but they are still just one piece of the larger payments ecosystem, which includes issuers, merchants, and more.

Original article here.


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The Cloud is at the Heart of Building the Blockchain of Success

2017-02-01 - By 

Blockchain is the new buzzword on the block; and while many business leaders, managers, developers and IT departments are Googling it and left scratching their heads, others are wising up to it, are realising how brilliant it is, and are recognising the opportunity it’s going to bring and the potential impact it will have.

If we put aside the tech behind it and focus on what it can do, it’s actually capable of disrupting many industries and bringing new innovations not only into finance, but also property, automotive, music, trading and healthcare.

To make it easier to understand what blockchain can bring to businesses, think about how a Google Doc enables people to access and make updates in real time. No need to save over and send new files to all and sundry, as the next time someone opens the doc it will be the most up to date as the file automatically keeps a record of who made which changes and when, as that digital address is native to the cloud, not the local hard drive. Google Docs is to Microsoft Word what blockchain is to a traditional ledger system.

Startups and large corporations are working together to figure out how this ‘shared ledger’ concept can benefit their businesses. And this concept of data retention is at the heart of cloud-based technology.

Cloud technologies are the forerunners to blockchain and developers and designers who are creating new innovations in this space, should keep an eye on blockchain opportunities too. Private blockchain networks can run in secure cloud environments and we have witnessed test collaborations between Google’s cloud services, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon and if successful, these cloud services could play a role in blockchain deployments.

Applying blockchain to business

Let’s take a look at some use cases and how blockchain can be implement in different industry sectors to speed up processes, guarantee security, trust and transparency and keep accurate records that can be accessed by stakeholders, no matter where they are in the world.

Property: You’re buying a house and want to know when the last repairs and updates were carried out, which companies provided them and when. Blockchain could help homeowners and estate agents keep a record of information relating to a property, which would be centrally located for anyone in the house buying and selling process to access – reducing hours of paper pushing and phone calls and create transparent information on the status and maintenance of the house before putting in an offer.

Automotive: In a similar way to housing, tracking the value of second hand vehicles through blockchain would make purchases a lot easier for buyers and traders. Information on the car’s mileage, services, and driving history would be accurate, and if the car was ever written off the information could be accessed digitally to salvage the new gearbox that was installed only two months ago.

Music: There has already been massive disruption in the music industry but in the age of streaming services, blockchain could show musicians, creators, fans, marketers and labels the data and dialogue involved in listening to their songs and albums. Artists would be much closer to their fans and over time they could influence and reward them. A truly democratic and commercially viable way of promoting music. Thanks to blockchain.

Banking: Most big banks have a headline piece highlighting how they are working with blockchain especially within security. The technology promotes security and trust and allows all parties to work with one single reference point, which can cut manpower and middlemen costs.

As with any new technology, there are stumbling blocks. Commercial banks may not want all that information to be managed by developers so private blockchains may need to be created. It’s important to take a collaborative approach so banking organisations can pool their resources, identify and share hurdles and resolutions.

Trading stocks and shares: Nasdaq has successfully completed a blockchain test in Estonia to run proxy voting on its exchange and is now assessing whether to implement the new system as it has streamlined a process that was highly manual and time consuming. Nasdaq is one of the early adopters and a supporter of the technology in the exchange industry and already uses it to power its market for share of private companies It is also launching a marketplace powered by blockchain for pre-IPO private securities exchange in the USA.

Healthcare: Within healthcare, blockchain promises to address security and data integrity issues relating to patient information within healthcare providers, hospitals, insurance companies and clinical trials. IBM Watson teamed up with the US FDA to trial a data sharing initiative to keep track of patients involved in a particular trial and they are going on to explore how a blockchain framework could potentially provide benefits to public health.

Blockchain as a service: Blockchain as a service is the most viable way for the technology to scale. Start-ups like Chain.com are making blockchain applications much more accessible to big corporations. It is probably the most recognised ‘blockchain as a service’ platform startup as it lets enterprises use blockchain technology in a variety of network infrastructures.

Where to next

To put into perspective how big it could become, the World Economic Forum predicts that by about 2027 about 10% of the global GDP would be stored on blockchains so companies looking to get their piece of the action should start investigating now.

Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen cites blockchain as “one of the most fundamental inventions in the history of computer science” and we’d agree. 2017 is going to be the year it is tested, trialled and iterated to suit individual market and business requirements.

All that without even mentioning Bitcoin – we’ll save that for another day.

Original article here.


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Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017

2016-12-05 - By 

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and smart things promise an intelligent future.

Today, a digital stethoscope has the ability to record and store heartbeat and respiratory sounds. Tomorrow, the stethoscope could function as an “intelligent thing” by collecting a massive amount of such data, relating the data to diagnostic and treatment information, and building an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered doctor assistance app to provide the physician with diagnostic support in real-time. AI and machine learning increasingly will be embedded into everyday things such as appliances, speakers and hospital equipment. This phenomenon is closely aligned with the emergence of conversational systems, the expansion of the IoT into a digital mesh and the trend toward digital twins.

Three themes — intelligent, digital, and mesh — form the basis for the Top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017, announced by David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow, at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016 in Orlando, Florida. These technologies are just beginning to break out of an emerging state and stand to have substantial disruptive potential across industries.

Intelligent

AI and machine learning have reached a critical tipping point and will increasingly augment and extend virtually every technology enabled service, thing or application.  Creating intelligent systems that learn, adapt and potentially act autonomously rather than simply execute predefined instructions is primary battleground for technology vendors through at least 2020.

Trend No. 1: AI & Advanced Machine Learning

AI and machine learning (ML), which include technologies such as deep learning, neural networks and natural-language processing, can also encompass more advanced systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt and potentially operate autonomously. Systems can learn and change future behavior, leading to the creation of more intelligent devices and programs.  The combination of extensive parallel processing power, advanced algorithms and massive data sets to feed the algorithms has unleashed this new era.

In banking, you could use AI and machine-learning techniques to model current real-time transactions, as well as predictive models of transactions based on their likelihood of being fraudulent. Organizations seeking to drive digital innovation with this trend should evaluate a number of business scenarios in which AI and machine learning could drive clear and specific business value and consider experimenting with one or two high-impact scenarios..

Trend No. 2: Intelligent Apps

Intelligent apps, which include technologies like virtual personal assistants (VPAs), have the potential to transform the workplace by making everyday tasks easier (prioritizing emails) and its users more effective (highlighting important content and interactions). However, intelligent apps are not limited to new digital assistants – every existing software category from security tooling to enterprise applications such as marketing or ERP will be infused with AI enabled capabilities.  Using AI, technology providers will focus on three areas — advanced analytics, AI-powered and increasingly autonomous business processes and AI-powered immersive, conversational and continuous interfaces. By 2018, Gartner expects most of the world’s largest 200 companies to exploit intelligent apps and utilize the full toolkit of big data and analytics tools to refine their offers and improve customer experience.

Trend No. 3: Intelligent Things

New intelligent things generally fall into three categories: robots, drones and autonomous vehicles. Each of these areas will evolve to impact a larger segment of the market and support a new phase of digital business but these represent only one facet of intelligent things.  Existing things including IoT devices will become intelligent things delivering the power of AI enabled systems everywhere including the home, office, factory floor, and medical facility.

As intelligent things evolve and become more popular, they will shift from a stand-alone to a collaborative model in which intelligent things communicate with one another and act in concert to accomplish tasks. However, nontechnical issues such as liability and privacy, along with the complexity of creating highly specialized assistants, will slow embedded intelligence in some scenarios.

Digital

The lines between the digital and physical world continue to blur creating new opportunities for digital businesses.  Look for the digital world to be an increasingly detailed reflection of the physical world and the digital world to appear as part of the physical world creating fertile ground for new business models and digitally enabled ecosystems.

Trend No. 4: Virtual & Augmented Reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) transform the way individuals interact with each other and with software systems creating an immersive environment.  For example, VR can be used for training scenarios and remote experiences. AR, which enables a blending of the real and virtual worlds, means businesses can overlay graphics onto real-world objects, such as hidden wires on the image of a wall.  Immersive experiences with AR and VR are reaching tipping points in terms of price and capability but will not replace other interface models.  Over time AR and VR expand beyond visual immersion to include all human senses.  Enterprises should look for targeted applications of VR and AR through 2020.

Trend No. 5: Digital Twin

Within three to five years, billions of things will be represented by digital twins, a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system. Using physics data on how the components of a thing operate and respond to the environment as well as data provided by sensors in the physical world, a digital twin can be used to analyze and simulate real world conditions, responds to changes, improve operations and add value. Digital twins function as proxies for the combination of skilled individuals (e.g., technicians) and traditional monitoring devices and controls (e.g., pressure gauges). Their proliferation will require a cultural change, as those who understand the maintenance of real-world things collaborate with data scientists and IT professionals.  Digital twins of physical assets combined with digital representations of facilities and environments as well as people, businesses and processes will enable an increasingly detailed digital representation of the real world for simulation, analysis and control.

Trend No. 6: Blockchain

Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger in which value exchange transactions (in bitcoin or other token) are sequentially grouped into blocks.  Blockchain and distributed-ledger concepts are gaining traction because they hold the promise of transforming industry operating models in industries such as music distribution, identify verification and title registry.  They promise a model to add trust to untrusted environments and reduce business friction by providing transparent access to the information in the chain.  While there is a great deal of interest the majority of blockchain initiatives are in alpha or beta phases and significant technology challenges exist.

Mesh

The mesh refers to the dynamic connection of people, processes, things and services supporting intelligent digital ecosystems.  As the mesh evolves, the user experience fundamentally changes and the supporting technology and security architectures and platforms must change as well.

Trend No. 7: Conversational Systems

Conversational systems can range from simple informal, bidirectional text or voice conversations such as an answer to “What time is it?” to more complex interactions such as collecting oral testimony from crime witnesses to generate a sketch of a suspect.  Conversational systems shift from a model where people adapt to computers to one where the computer “hears” and adapts to a person’s desired outcome.  Conversational systems do not use text/voice as the exclusive interface but enable people and machines to use multiple modalities (e.g., sight, sound, tactile, etc.) to communicate across the digital device mesh (e.g., sensors, appliances, IoT systems).

Trend No. 8: Mesh App and Service Architecture

The intelligent digital mesh will require changes to the architecture, technology and tools used to develop solutions. The mesh app and service architecture (MASA) is a multichannel solution architecture that leverages cloud and serverless computing, containers and microservices as well as APIs and events to deliver modular, flexible and dynamic solutions.  Solutions ultimately support multiple users in multiple roles using multiple devices and communicating over multiple networks. However, MASA is a long term architectural shift that requires significant changes to development tooling and best practices.

Trend No. 9: Digital Technology Platforms

Digital technology platforms are the building blocks for a digital business and are necessary to break into digital. Every organization will have some mix of five digital technology platforms: Information systems, customer experience, analytics and intelligence, the Internet of Things and business ecosystems. In particular new platforms and services for IoT, AI and conversational systems will be a key focus through 2020.   Companies should identify how industry platforms will evolve and plan ways to evolve their platforms to meet the challenges of digital business.

Trend No. 10: Adaptive Security Architecture

The evolution of the intelligent digital mesh and digital technology platforms and application architectures means that security has to become fluid and adaptive. Security in the IoT environment is particularly challenging. Security teams need to work with application, solution and enterprise architects to consider security early in the design of applications or IoT solutions.  Multilayered security and use of user and entity behavior analytics will become a requirement for virtually every enterprise.

Original article here.


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Infographic: A closer look at the fintech industry

2016-08-19 - By 

Financial Technology, also known as FinTech has made robust strides over the last five years. It is becoming a pivotal part of the global economy. Being the technology that is meant to make financial services more efficient and effective for all, FinTech is just getting started. We should expect more growth in the sector, this fiscal year, and the rest to come. Check out the below infographic to take a closer look at the fintech industry.

Financial and technology gurus have premeditated the exponential growth. A good example is Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies. The world is embracing a new way of transacting and in the next few years, the traditional methods of doing business may become extinct.

The rise of FinTech is almost legendary. In 2010, companies were only testing the waters, everyone waiting to see what the industry would offer. By 2013, the sector makes a tremendous growth, moving in investments from $3Billion to over $12 Billion in 2014. The growth did not stop at that point. By the end of Q2 of 2015, $12.7 Billion more had been invested. The growth experienced by FinTech is one that has yet to be seen before.

FinTech’s favorite areas of focus include payment and lending and cloud sourcing services. With the introduction of mobile transactions and the bitcoin, consumers have more avenues for check out, which leads to the growth of FinTech. More companies in the world, including Dell, DISH Network, Microsoft, and Overstock have added bitcoin as one of the accepted methods of checking out. The main ingredient to the tremendous growth of FinTech is the promise of better, efficient services. The world is only asking for better as opposed to what has been the norm.

From the analysis, most of the investment is seen to be coming from the US, followed by Europe and Asia in that order. In 2013, the US invested a total $ 4.05 Billion in FinTech. By the end of 2014, the investment had grown to $9.89Billion and the projections for 2015, by the end of Q2 were $12Billion. Europe and Asia are not to be left behind and by the end of Q3 of 2015; the projected growth in investments will be $4.4 billion and $3.5 billion respectively.

The growth of FinTech is particularly successful in the parts of the world where the right infrastructure is in place. Currently, the US leads the pack as the country with the most conducive atmosphere for the growth of FinTech start-ups, with good examples such as Silicon Valley, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. Tel Aviv, in Israel and London, are two of the other cities in which the start-ups are promising.

The promise of FinTech is yet to die down. These five start-ups; Stocktwits, Motif Investing, Robin Hood, Moven, and Acorns are trending and promising to make heads roll in the banking and investing industries.

The future is still unclear as far as FinTech is concerned. The one thing that is clear is that the public will be at liberty to make decisions that affect them more quickly, owing to the availability of information that this advanced technology will bring.

A new infographic from Savvy Beaver and startup Call Levels takes a closer look at the current financial technology landscape.

 

Original article here.

 


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