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Stream Processing Driving Financial Services Digital Transformation  

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ICE Data Services and OneMarketData to Offer Real-time Streaming Tick Data and Analytics

By Konstantin Knauf, Solutions Architect at Ververica 

Modern financial services organisations are looking to transform their operations into real-time and software-operated businesses of tomorrow. According to IDC, by 2025, nearly 30 percent of the so-called “global datasphere” will consist of real-time information. What role does technology play in this? Well, stream processing is destined to offer a paradigm shift for data processing in the finance industry of the future. Banks and other financial institutions are going through an extensive digital transformation in the face of market volatility, consumer behaviour and a shift in regulatory requirements. Changes in the finance industry can be witnessing as they transition from largely un-digitised and traditional businesses to becoming organisations adopting highly-automated largely software-operated operations. According to analysts, financial services spend on big data technologies will surpass $14 billion in 2021, a 55% increase since 2018.

Stream processing, and the associated streaming data architecture environment, allows financial services organisations to react to information in a completely different manner, able to benefit from real-time insight with 24/7, data-driven applications that allow businesses to react on changes and alerts instantly. As financial services organisations adopt stream processing, what innovations can we expect in this industry?

Stream Processing Driving Financial Services Digital Transformation    3With a streaming data architecture you can process data at the very moment it is generated, the exact point when it’s most valuable. From a cybersecurity perspective, stream processing empowers the finance industry to build real-time fraud detection systems with powerful machine learning algorithms. Such a collaboration enables fraudulent activity to be detected in real-time to head off potential business losses, not to mention the potential to avert a negative customer experience. As such tools become more and more sophisticated, financial services organisations will benefit from a more powerful response in the face of the cybersecurity threat spectrum — credit card fraud, identity theft or fraudulent transactions.

One example of a bank using stream processing to power its real-time fraud detection engine is ING. They were able to build an Apache Flink-powered risk engine that allows the company to respond to new, previously-unknown threats instantly. ING’s fraud detection system supports multiple goals for the business, such as rule-based alerting as well as creating and scoring machine learning models.

 With the introduction of so-called ‘open banking’ (under the PSD2 legislation), banks’ customers, whether they are consumers or businesses, are now able to use third-party providers to manage their finances. This new crop of fintech companies is starting to exhibit a significant competition to the finance industry. They can innovate faster and provide a more personalised experience for their customers. By adopting stream processing, the finance industry has the ammunition to stay ahead of this by building a 360° customer view program analysing data in real-time. Financial services organisations have millions of customers, generating billions of transactions on a daily basis. These customers are also engaging with the company’s web and mobile portals, as well as customer services tools and agents. Now imagine if these organisations could process and respond to any of these data transactions in real-time. Such an agile approach allows for significantly improved monitoring of customer health and loyalty. Additionally, real-time data processing enables a company to create a more tailored product offering for customers, depending on what transaction types they favour or how they interact with the website, mobile app, or customer service portal of the organization. The modern financial services industry faces many challenges — being able to completely understand the customer viewpoint and respond to it in real-time is a great opportunity to cope in this fast-paced landscape.

As an example, Capital One uses stream processing and Apache Flink for real-time monitoring of customer activity data to ensure that issues are detected and resolved proactively while providing an enhanced digital customer experience.

Financial services organisations operate in a highly regulatory and complex environment. Stream processing allows reducing the work involved in reporting to regulatory bodies by automating and streamlining the process. It can enable technology-led, real-time compliance that moves away from manual checks. Stream processing offers always-on, data-driven systems that alert and report instantly on the current state of the business to different regulatory bodies. It can also be used to maintain a real-time market position across the organisation that provides a current view of the bank’s risk exposure. Streaming data architectures allow compliance departments to continuously process information in real-time thereby avoiding any potential fines by regulatory bodies due to non-compliance. 

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller 4

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)

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape 5

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

Justin Pike

Justin Pike

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.

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says 6

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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