Mark Stanborough, sales manager EMEA & APAC at Cabletime. www.cabletime.com
The past decade has seen tremendous change in the financial services sector and not least in its efforts to manage decades-old legacy infrastructure and embrace digital technology. This is an enormous ship to turn around, but for traditional banks and finance businesses the transformation is necessary. It is the only way that they can compete against challenger organisations whose agility has enabled them to move quickly, and with limited funds to revolutionise their operational efficiency and improve the services and experiences they offer to customers.
According to a survey by Gartner, digital transformation is more important for banking, a first priority for 26 percent of respondents, than for all industries. It comes just before digitalisation at 25 percent. Growth and market share is another key priority, followed by the complementary focus areas of profit improvement and customer focus at 12 and 11 percent respectively.
One element of this transformation is the mechanisms by which banks and other financial companies visually communicate with, not just customers, but their own internal staff and stakeholders too, many of which are spread across multiple locations in multiple countries. The adoption of improved digital infrastructure is allowing them to reach large audiences with ease, making a greater impact than ever before.
IPTV and streaming technology is no longer restricted to just delivering time critical news and financial data, it is also improving internal engagement, motivating teams, delivering superior training where it is needed and enabling organisations to broadcast company-wide presentations and briefings. Where IPTV, streaming and digital signage were once siloed applications, the underlying technology has now converged, opening up the ability to distribute web content and live TV broadcasts alongside a full array of media sources.
Financial sector companies are realising the benefits of a broadcast-style service in a corporate environment. They are investing in superior content and delivery management which allows them to control the frequency and distribution of their communications and ensure the messages they are disseminating both internally and externally can have a significant and long-term effect on employee and customer loyalty.
Setting out the objectives
Like all areas of digital transformation however, the deployment of IPTV and streaming is a major undertaking and the technical barriers can seem daunting. The first item on the agenda is to establish their objectives and set realistic budgets. Working with an informed, experienced integrator is a good first step, because they will be able to advise on what’s possible when it comes to disseminating information effectively across the organisation. Factors such as the spread of locations, the availability of network bandwidth and how communications content can be delivered across multiple devices, are fundamental, and best assessed in a partnership with a specialist.
To communicate effectively with staff and customers, the IPTV, streaming or digital signage platform must deliver on performance but also be easy to use and manage on a day to day basis. A holistic approach is needed, because much will depend on the size of the project, the location of display screens, the different types of messaging that will be used and so on. It involves looking at software and hardware solutions that are most closely developed to meet the company’s specific needs and giving attention to the Content Management System for control, the content creation software to ensure impact, and also the players behind each screen.
It’s never easy to choose from the wide array of available technologies, but an important guide when making a product selection in this sector is to consider the long-term. Not all providers of IPTV & digital signage solutions are delivering complete products from one manufacturer. Instead they act as third-parties and bring together components, albeit often of good quality, to create the system. What’s wrong with this? Further down the line, the bank or financial trading company is unlikely to want to rely on that third-party for warranty claims, or if they want to upgrade or expand the system in a couple of years and want the same equipment again. Buying sophisticated streaming and digital signage solutions through third-parties is becoming less popular, the future is with companies who have complete control over all aspects, and can deliver reliability, scalability and security. Accreditation of manufacturers’ products should also be considered, to make sure all licenses and standards are being adhered to.
Once installed, the focus should then be on delivering memorable content. Clear messages, imagery that captivates internal and external audiences, and short, powerful videos will create a strong impression. And it needs managing properly. If this doesn’t happen, then messages will become out of date or irrelevant, and the audience will stop paying attention. Choosing an easy to use CMS tool will make this process flow smoothly and give the administrator the power to make changes where and when they are needed. The CMS should also allow users to control different areas and deliver content to create impact to specific audience.
Many companies in the financial sector are already using IPTV and streaming technologies, and have honed their ability to acquire, store and schedule media content before distributing it in high quality where it is needed and with precise accuracy. It is supporting their brand identity, delivering vital information and providing entertainment. It creates a better working environment because employees can see bulletins at a glance and use the information to inform their decision-making processes. In reception areas, meeting rooms and boardrooms visitors are receiving communications that have been planned and created with careful foresight.
Those who are still considering IPTV should remember the infinite new opportunities that this technology provides in creating memorable visual experiences in their corporate environment. But to ensure their investment realises a full return, they must plan ahead and select the appropriate core technology from a provider who will be with them for the long-term.
U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller
WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.
Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.
“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.
Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.
While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.
“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”
Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.
“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.
“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”
The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.
“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.
She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.
Gorman’s books are both due out in September.
Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape
By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD
Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.
As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.
As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?
Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world
No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.
In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.
Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.
The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses
Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.
Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.
The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.
As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.
But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.
A digital world post-COVID
Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.
There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.
Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.
Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.
Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says
LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.
British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.
“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.
The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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