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We’re probably not aware of the moment when artificial intelligence sneaked into our lives and became a part of our everyday existence.

Was it the first movie recommendation we got from Netflix? Or the item we’ve purchased using Amazon’s suggestions?

AI is now all around us, and it’s holding tremendous potential, with new application possibilities being discovered every day.

We’ve gathered six very practical examples of AI, to show just how widespread this technology is today, and how prevalent it is yet to become.

1.    Healthcare

The use of AI in healthcare is already bringing many benefits – at the beginning of the year, we’ve witnessed  AI outperforming six radiologists in reading mammograms and identifying breast cancer more accurately and quickly.  A computer algorithm can now analyze images in just a few seconds, significantly improving the speed of diagnosis.

The first AI-designed drug molecule, by Excienta, is currently being tested on humans. While it usually takes three to four years for traditional research to reach this stage, it just took 12 months for the algorithm to make it possible.

As for the current COVID-19 crisis, the Chinese technology giant Alibaba has recently developed an algorithm that can detect coronavirus in seconds, with 96% accuracy. The algorithm that analyzes CT images of patients’ chests is used by more than 100 healthcare facilities to distinguish the disease from other viral pneumonia cases.

2.    Virtual Personal Assistants

Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant are just some of the most notable examples of artificial intelligence we’re all familiar with.

We interact with our PAs regularly – ask them for directions, information about the weather and the news. They allow us to finish various tasks easily, without having to use our hands – we can stream podcasts, play music, make to-do lists, set alarms, schedule our meetings, or order pizza.

These voice assistants use machine learning technology and natural language processing so that they can get smarter and more capable of understanding voice queries. In other words, with the help of AI and its subsets, voice assistants learn from your previous searches and preferences and use all the information they collect to offer you better search results and service.

3.    Customer Service

Even if you’re still not interacting with your devices using your voice assistant, you’ve surely communicated with AI at least once, most probably in the form of a chatbot.

There is hardly any good online store that doesn’t offer at least some kind of AI-powered customer support.

The most common are conversational chatbots that are now able to answer 80% of most common customers’ queries in an accurate and timely manner, without any need for additional human intervention.

With data AI chatbots gather on the customers, they are now able to facilitate human-like interaction and personalize it more than their human counterparts.

Conversational AI algorithms can now give offers and recommendations that are more likely to fit customers’ needs and interests, boosting both their satisfaction and retailers’ revenue.

4.    Finance

The banking and finance sector has recognized the possible advantages of AI early on and is now successfully implementing the technology for various purposes.

The finance industry relies heavily on large amounts of data and accurate real-time information. With the use of AI, it’s now much easier to detect frauds, money-laundering, or any other suspicious behavior. Some of the financial advisors’ tasks can now be automated too, as  AI-powered advisors can quickly scan the market data, and predict the best portfolio or stock.

One of the best examples of how useful AI in the banking industry can be, is Erica, an AI employee of the National Bank of America. This digital financial assistant has already served over 7 million customers and handled over 50 million queries. Apart from managing many other different tasks, Erica helps customers with their transactions and budgeting, tracks their spending habits, monitors duplicate charges, and gives useful advice.


5.    Smart Vehicles and Delivery

Cars and drones are also shifting towards the use of AI.  Even though artificial intelligence is widely used in car manufacturing, its use in the automotive industry is most commonly related to the use of self-driving vehicles, that are leveraging machine learning and vision to find their way through the traffic safely.

Autox is, for example, currently testing their autonomous grocery delivery within San Jose. Their vehicles use AI software, real-time cameras, and sensors to navigate within a geofenced zone, with plans for gradual expansion.

Amazon and Walmart are already investing large amounts of money into drone delivery programs. Amazon’s goal for its Prime Air service is to create fully electric drones that can deliver packages lighter than 5 pounds, to their customers located within 15 miles, in less than 30 minutes.

6.    Smart Homes

One of the finest examples is Nest, the thermostat algorithm, which uses an intelligent machine learning process to learn about your behavior and the temperatures you like. It then anticipates and adjusts your home or your office to your temperature needs, at the same time saving significant energy resources.

Google acquired Nest back in 2014 for $3.2 billion and now aims to create a smart and helpful home. The tech giant is trying to connect devices such as thermostats, cameras, alarm systems, doorbells, and locks under the same roof, offering an easy to use smart home solution.

However, for this to work seamlessly, technological advancement in the field of IoT and 5G needs to be utilized. Near-zero latency is what allows for smart homes to be remotely controlled.

As you can see, AI is impacting and improving every aspect of our lives and our society. It will revolutionize the way we do different things, from driving our cars to receiving medical treatment. Although this technology is still in its infancy, it has already managed to disrupt the above-mentioned areas and offer us a sneak peek into the future.



Cloud technology in banking: Why adoption is on the rise




Alpesh Tailor, Executive Director at digital transformation specialist GFT


The banking sector has never shied away from innovation, whether it is new products to improve customer savings habits or new ways of interacting with people and business, but embracing new technologies such as cloud has, until recently, been relatively slow. However, leading global financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank have accelerated their adoption of cloud, which can provide insights for efficient technology transformation across the sector.

We conducted research to measure 21 medium-size and large banks’ sentiment and operations regarding cloud technology. Examining the relationship between cloud technology and banking professionals, our research provides an insight into the overall finance sector’s perception of cloud technology and how its application can improve banking procedures and efficiency.


Scale-up abilities

A significant trend showed that the way people use their finances and banking systems has changed, particularly when it comes to payments and transfers. Our research revealed that 86% of bankers have adopted cloud services to harness its virtually unlimited scalability, citing a definitive change in transaction behaviour as the main reason for moving to the cloud.

In the world of retail banking, buy-now-pay-later, open banking, and contactless payment systems have revolutionised the way people use their bank, making financial management easier and more efficient. However, despite these evolutions, high street banks are playing catch-up to the challenger banks who possess fewer legacy processes and, therefore, an easier migration to new technologies, such as the full utilisation of cloud and artificial intelligence.

The cloud provides a dependable, scalable, and flexible data system that allows traditional banks to modernise quickly and stay abreast of the innovations that ‘born-in-the-cloud’ challenger banks are bringing to the market. An increasingly popular way of doing this is by adopting a hybrid and multicloud approach.

Most organisations are considering diversifying their cloud technology, with 76% of bankers now agreeing with the importance of implementing multicloud systems in order to benefit from resilience and security improvements made by the main cloud providers. These cloud ‘hyperscalers’ also provide regular updates and continue to release exclusive new services and platforms as they continue to innovate.


Optimising costs

Our research indicates that cost optimisation is a primary reason that banks are looking toward the cloud for their future storage needs, with 81% of bankers confirming they have adopted cloud technology to save costs.

Installing and maintaining on-premise IT systems is lengthy and costly for financial institutions. When using the cloud, however, purchasing and installing hardware is no longer required as the cloud service provider hosts all the required infrastructure. The management of the hardware is included within this, reducing the overall cost of IT support further.


 Organisational inertia

Technological innovations are usually heralded for their ability to streamline operations, making them quicker and more secure. Our research illustrates that 62% of bankers believe organisational culture and inertia to be a key challenge within the sector. Besides being flexible for scalability and cost, adopting cloud technology can bolster organisational efficiency, since banks can spend fewer resources managing the relationship between trading volumes and payment infrastructure. Bankers acknowledge this opportunity, with 95% of organisations understanding that cloud technology can reduce time-to-market.


Overcoming misconceptions with cloud technology

Misconceptions usually exist around any emerging technology and our research found that this theme continues with cloud technology.

43% of the bankers we spoke to admitted that security concerns have impeded full cloud migration – a concern that has frequently been confirmed when speaking to financial services institutions. However, cloud providers invest heavily in the security of their cloud infrastructure which, as a result, makes it almost always safer than its on-premise, client-owned counterpart.

One aspect of adopting the cloud that continues to cause concern, is that which is commonly termed the ‘digital skills gap’. More than half of banks claim a lack of cloud-savvy employees internally has slowed down adoption. At GFT, we understand that this is a major issue for the adoption of cloud technology in all sectors, including banking, and have committed to training and encouraging young people to learn the required skills and enter the sector. We recently launched our Manchester Innovation Hub – a dedicated location to support the upskilling and growth of tech roles in the north.

Going forwards, cloud technology is the primary option for banks seeking to evolve and scale their business, whilst minimising risk, time and cost. Bankers recognise these benefits and the overall findings of our research suggest they will continue to grow their investment in cloud technology. Whilst evolving traditional legacy systems is very challenging, cloud technology continues to advance and we believe that over time it will become a powerful mainstay within the financial services industry.


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A Smarter World: What role will electronics play in 2022




There has been a sharp increase in technology and devices designed to make our lives simpler, faster and more productive in recent years.

Industry 4.0 is taking the digital revolution of the late 1900s one step further, combining cyber-physical systems with the power of the internet of things (IoT) to automate computerised decision-making and enhance efficiency. As a result, intelligent technology has surpassed the simple tools and gadgets people enjoy using every day; it has become a driving force for innovation and problem-solving for businesses worldwide.

The first generation of ‘smart’ technology products provided enhanced connectivity, allowing people to stream video on smart televisions or communicate wirelessly between devices. But with the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), our devices do more than simply talk to each other; they collect and interpret data to inform user experience and automate processes that would typically require human guidance.

From watches to phones, building controls to medical equipment, we are heading towards a ‘smarter’ world at lightning speed. So, in 2022 and beyond, technology will continue to evolve and improve its capabilities to deliver personalised, mechanised solutions that will optimise functions and enhance our day-to-day lives.


How will smart tech change our way of life?

The pandemic has significantly impacted global technology trends, with lockdowns contributing to heightened activity within the consumer electronics industry.

The demand for games consoles, smart televisions and other entertainment devices led to an 18% increase in the global consumer electronics market (excluding North America) in the first half of 2021, reflecting pandemic-related behavioural changes and consumers’ growing expectations for premium electronics. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the public is also more conscious of their health and the limitations of our health services than ever before. Wearable technology such as smartwatches — which can remotely monitor and record physical health data — is, thus, becoming increasingly appealing.

As more and more businesses embrace remote working models, employees are enhancing their homes with innovative home technology, too. Demand for devices such as mobile stereo headsets and headphones spiked in the wake of lockdowns. Organisations are also embarking on digital transformation to secure online networks and optimise energy efficiency in modern offices.

The future of the electric vehicle market also looks bright. With governments facing global pressure to reduce carbon emissions, major automotive manufactures like Bentley, Volkswagen and Audi have pledged to cut fossil fuel cars from their product portfolios by 2030. And despite the pandemic-related semiconductor shortage that crippled the automotive industry, UK electric vehicle sales jumped 186% in 2020.


How will the electronics industry meet demands?

In a digital world, technology is embedded in everyday objects, and ubiquitous computing connects devices through continuous networks of sensors and servers — all of which must be carefully designed and produced by electronics manufacturers. As a result, the future of electrical engineering will depend on the industry’s ability to address the technical and logistical considerations for delivering these advanced systems and equipment.

From smart grids to intelligent lighting, IoT has the potential to revolutionise the way we live. With technology permeating so much of our lives already, local governments are investing in ‘smart cities’ that will harness data collected through the IoT and cloud-based technology to tackle social issues and improve urban life, sustainability and transport. However, the IoT will also be essential to developing new electronics.

Brexit, the pandemic and labour shortages have impacted supply chains and threatened to stunt the industry’s ability to keep up with ever-increasing demand. But embracing IoT can streamline processes, provide accurate real-time data to mitigate supply chain disruption and improve the overall quality of printed circuit boards (PCBs) and other core components within electronics. Plus, as sustainability is a core focus for businesses across sectors in 2022, developments in AI and ML will be crucial to ensuring systems are operating with the minimum energy output.

From remotely controlled wire cutters to industrial robotics performing monotonous tasks in factories, investing in robotics will also be crucial for electronics manufacturing services providers. While the industry focuses on training the next generation of engineers, adopting robotics will reduce the likelihood of human error that might affect manufacturers’ abilities to continue delivering high-quality electronics products at scale.


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