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How AI is changing businesses and industries for the better

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Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss

by Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss, CEO & Co-Founder of omni:us

Artificial intelligence has become a superpower in transforming modern business processes yet is still shrouded in a degree of ambiguity. For many companies, the gap between ambition and execution is still evident, but the secret lies in understanding the power of this radical technology to enable companies to establish a competitive advantage and shape value creation from AI in their sectors.

AI solutions in the insurance and finance sectors in particular are becoming increasingly popular – and as a start-up or developer, it’s one of the most dynamic and promising business-areas to be active in right now. This is due to the fact that companies in these industries are dealing with snowballing amounts of highly variable documents, including forms, emails and invoices, claims and policy comparisons, the majority of which are still currently processed by hand. Predictions for this year for example, signal that insurance data will grow by 94% – 84% of which will be in unstructured documentation – and the industry is responding, with new technology from insurtech startups helping to digitally transform the management and administration of these information streams.

As technology progresses, a number of forward-thinking businesses in these sectors are seeing massive benefits from working with AI technology solutions to reduce the time and cost spent on administrative tasks considerably and diminish the countable risk of human error. Technology brought to market by omni:us for example, allows insurers to extract, review and analyse data from arbitrary documents featuring structured and unstructured data, including emails, incident reports, and invoices, as well as even low quality scanned documents, faxes, and handwritten forms to a much higher and accurate level than previously imagined.

Understanding the importance of data, is vital to any AI investment. AI algorithms don’t just start life as an ‘intelligent source’, they become intelligent only upon being trained with large amounts of data and, for most business applications, company-specific information. When specific tasks are fully digitised and automated this enables the technology to work more effectively and learn at a faster rate, while also freeing up resources in the existing human workforce, improving allocation of staff resources and giving companies the chance to create new added value roles in areas not previously considered, ultimately saving both time and money.

Transformation provides opportunity, including the creation of undiscovered roles in various sectors and essentially redeploying people to higher value work. As part of this, new innovations also expose the potential to improve employee quality of work/life balance, reducing the number of hours people spend at their desks and making working hours much more flexible. Concepts like working remotely or on a freelance basis are constantly increasing, and by many of us also preferred.

But if using AI makes so much sense, why are some companies and industries proving to be slow to adopt this technology? One reason may be that AI involves a significant change is the way businesses and sectors operate and the way in which processes and tasks are undertaken, as well potential restructuring and reorganisation as explained above. However, as we all know those businesses that fail to change and innovate tend to lose out in the long-run and we only have to look at the focus on investment in AI technology across Europe and the rest of the world to see where the future lies.

On a global level, countries like China are investing in AI in a governmental capacity and we’re also seeing large corporates, such as Google and Facebook also placing this type of technology front and centre in their plans for the future. Europe on the whole, including Germany, is financially a little behind the overall global development, however the market is a hot bed of development and it won’t be long before we see European and German initiatives beginning to shift focus more. Looking at the wider picture across Europe, funding, people, infrastructure and ecosystems are key factors that all play a vital role too.

As the competition in AI innovation continues to grow fiercer, it all about boils down to the technology and we are now seeing a steady stream of successful AI companies beginning to make their mark in the European market. For us at omni:us, we’re continuing to have a number of open conversations with insurers about how AI solutions can alter processes, portfolios and workforces. We’ve also closed promising deals with several key players in the insurance and banking sectors over the last year, and finance is another industry that is ripe for change and disruption with this technology.

Along with industry and business requirements, consumer needs have also dramatically changed in recent times and this is driving change in terms of demand. To better connect with their customers and discover the products and services that best suit the changing needs of today, insurance and financial services firms are having to design and develop fresh new strategies and embrace innovative technologies. In times to come, there’s no doubt that AI will provide companies with next-level insight into consumer trends and allow them to react and deliver solutions appropriately with precise intelligence.

While there are already various AI models transforming production and business, organisational flexibility is a centre of them all. As number of legacy businesses are starting to make initial investments into technology that closes the gap in machine-to-machine information transfer and revolutionizes business processes, further companies are sure to follow.  And this is also encouraging further cooperation with startups which enables faster innovation and allows more bespoke solutions into the market to target specific problems. For as businesses and industries become more aware of the cost and time saving solutions AI can provide, the more tailored solutions will be required – one size will not fit all with AI, and that will be the case as the technology takes an even stronger hold on the transformation of business processes.

As well as the insurance and finance industries further sectors such as retail, marketing education and health care are ripe for change with new AI technology, some of which is being developed faster than it can be implemented. The businesses that will succeed in the long-term however will be those that embrace change and innovation and see the true potential for AI technology to fundamentally change the way they operate with regard to every aspect of the supply and demand chain: from customer care through to efficiency, employee management and beyond.

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England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry

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England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry 1

By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) – Burberry stuck to its full-year goals on Wednesday after a media campaign fronted by high-profile English soccer star and social justice advocate Marcus Rashford drew a younger clientele to the British luxury brand.

Higher full-price sales would boost annual margins and Asian demand remained strong, Burberry said, while warning that it could suffer more sales disruption from COVID-19 lockdowns.

Manchester United striker Rashford, 23, has won plaudits for his campaign to help ensure that poorer children do not go hungry with schools closed during the pandemic.

A first coronavirus wave last year cut Burberry’s sales by as much as 45% before a bounce back on strong demand in mainland China and South Korea, which continued in the last few months.

Shares in Burberry were up 5% to 1,825 pence at 0905 GMT, with Citi analysts saying that improved sales quality from fewer markdowns would drive full-year consensus upgrades.

Burberry’s 9% sales decline in its third quarter was worse than the 6% fall in the second, and the company said that 15% of stores were currently closed and 36% operating with restrictions as a result of measures to curb COVID-19’s spread.

“We expect trading will remain susceptible to regional disruptions as we close the financial year,” Burberry said, adding that it was confident of rebounding when the pandemic eases given the brand’s resonance with customers.

In the third quarter, comparable store sales in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa declined 37%, hit by shops shut in lockdowns and a lack of tourists visiting Europe, but in the same period, it posted sales growth of 11% in Asia Pacific.

Burberry said that Britain’s new relationship with the European Union would cause headwinds, warning of a modest increase in costs to comply with new rules and also the impact of an end to a scheme for VAT refunds for non-EU tourists.

This would make Britain a less attractive destination for luxury shopping when tourism returns after the pandemic, Burberry said, adding that it would try to mitigate the effect.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton, James Davey and Alexander Smith)

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Alibaba’s Jack Ma makes first live appearance in three months in online meet

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Alibaba's Jack Ma makes first live appearance in three months in online meet 2

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma met 100 rural teachers in China via a live video meeting on Wednesday morning, in the businessman’s first appearance since October, triggering a sharp jump in the Hong Kong listed shares of the e-commerce giant.

Social media speculation over the whereabouts of China’s highest-profile entrepreneur swirled this month after news reports that he missed the final episode of a TV show featuring him as a judge, amid a regulatory clampdown by Beijing on his sprawling business empire.

Ma had not appeared in public since Oct. 24, where he blasted China’s regulatory system in a speech at a Shanghai forum that set him on a collision course with officials, leading to suspension of a $37-billion IPO of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Group.

Tianmu News, a news portal under Zhejiang Online, which is backed by the provincial Zhejiang government, first reported that Ma had met with the teachers via a live video conference on Wednesday.

The Jack Ma Foundation said that Ma participated in the online ceremony of the annual Rural Teacher Initiative event on Wednesday. Alibaba Group also confirmed that Jack Ma attended the online event.

Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed shares jumped more than 6% after the reports of his reappearance, compared with a 0.64% rise in the Hang Seng index.

Ma’s public appearance comes as Alibaba plans to raise at least $5 billion through the sale of a U.S. dollar-denominated bond this month. Reuters reported the bond proceeds could reach $8 billion, which the e-commerce leader was likely to use for general corporate expenditure.

Alibaba is also the target of an antitrust investigation launched last month by Chinese authorities, who have in recent months accelerated a crackdown on anticompetitive behaviour in China’s booming internet space.

In the 50-second video, Ma, dressed in a navy pullover, spoke directly to the camera from a room with grey marble walls and a striped carpet. It was not clear from the video or the Tianmu News article where he was speaking from.

He addressed teachers receiving the Jack Ma Rural Teachers Award, who in previous years would have attended a ceremony organised by the Jack Ma Foundation in the Chinese seaside city of Sanya.

“We cannot meet in Sanya due to the epidemic,” he said in the speech, which did not discuss his whereabouts. “When the epidemic is over, we must find time to make up for everyone’s trip to Sanya, and then we will meet again!”

Xie Pu, founder of Chinese tech website Techie Crab, said the media and public had over-interpreted Ma’s move to lay low and that his step away from the public spotlight should not have been seen as a problem for Alibaba.

“We shouldn’t over-interpret his reappearance into public view this time, said Xie Pu, founder of Chinese tech website Techie Crab. “Alibaba still has a good governance structure — there are partners and a board of directors.”

(Reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Kane Wu and Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong, Yingzhi Yang in Beijing; Editing by Tom Hogue and Gerry Doyle)

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ComplyAdvantage Releases State Of Financial Crime Report For 2021

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ComplyAdvantage Releases State Of Financial Crime Report For 2021 3

Designed as an must-have strategic roadmap for compliance teams, the comprehensive report covers financial crime insights related to fraud, cyber, and money laundering, the rise of crypto,

and the ever-changing sanctions landscape

ComplyAdvantage, a global data technology company transforming financial crime detection, today announced the availability of the firm’s much anticipated report The State Of Financial Crime 2021 Designed as a strategic guide for global compliance teams, the report lays out the many emerging threats that governments and financial institutions will face in 2021, along with prescriptive recommendations for implementing best compliance practices for combating financial crimes.

The research on which The State Of Financial Crime 2021 report is based was administered in November and December 2020. Interviews were conducted with 600 C-suite and senior compliance decision makers across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. The respondents represented enterprise banking, investments, crypto, insurance organizations, and fintechs.

One of the biggest challenges that compliance teams face is keeping current on the rapidly evolving regulations, and the advances of criminal behavior while balancing their organizations’ risk appetite.   Risk indicators are also becoming harder to spot as the amount of information available grows exponentially and the speed of change gathers pace.  This is why ComplyAdvantage has dedicated the company’s resources and  anti-money laundering (AML) expertise in order to help compliance executives mitigate regulatory risks related to the most extreme AML financial crimes.

The State Of Financial Crime 2021 delves into the most important financial crime trends that Compliance Officers are most concerned with in the coming year.  Specifically, these trends include increased fraud related to COVID-19 relief; risk vulnerabilities related to inconsistencies in global AML and counter financing of terrorism (CFT) system; the growth in sophistication of computer and mobile-enabled cybercrimes via payment systems; the continued use of sanctions as a tool of first resort and more.

A sample of key insights from the report include:

  • SARs filing was on the rise with 74% of respondents saying they filed more SARS in 2020 than the previous year
  • 93% of respondents stated that real-time AML risk data would improve their compliance operations
  • Cybersecurity and third party risk management were noted as organizations’ biggest compliance-related pain points in 2020. With 54% of respondents ranking cybersecurity as a top pain point.
  • 62% of respondents plan on upgrading their legacy systems in 2021.
  • 54% of respondents plan on replacing or upgrading their transaction monitoring system in 2021.

“Due to the massive economic, political and social disruption brought about by COVID-19, international crime syndicates, rogue nations, global terrorists and cyber-criminals have become increasingly more aggressive, “said Charles Delingpolefounder and CEO of ComplyAdvantage.  “Therefore, we felt it was imperative to prepare Compliance Officers and their teams for the potential onslaught of financial crimes driven by nefarious organizations.

Already the preferred choice of some of the world’s largest banks, enterprises and           high-growth fintechs, ComplyAdvantage uses machine learning and natural language processing to help regulated organizations manage their risk obligations and prevent financial crime. The company’s proprietary database is derived from millions of data points that provide dynamic, real-time insights across sanctions, watchlists, politically exposed persons, and negative news. This reduces dependence on manual review processes and legacy databases by up to 80% and improves how companies screen and monitor clients and transactions.

ComplyAdvantage releases The State Of Financial Crime 2021 a comprehensive report covering financial crime trends related to fraud, cyber, and money laundering.  #compliance #financialcrime #AML #antimoneylaundering #cybercrime

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