Connect with us

News

RGU LEADS EUROPEAN INTER-REGIONAL NORTH SEA PARTNERSHIP TO HELP HOMEOWNERS IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Published

on

NB: Image from left to right includes:   Mike Bauermeister, Kishorn Insulations, Jamal Alabid, RGU, Amar Bennadji, RGU, Richard Laing, RGU, Mohammed Seddiki, Research Fellow RGU, Jamal Alabid, RGU, Paddy Leighton, Icynene Insulation

 

A new digital service to help homeowners in the UK and Europe improve the energy performance of their homes is being created as part of a joint €6.7M “Stronghouse” project between Robert Gordon University and 20 European partners.

The Stronghouse APP is a digital one stop-shop where owners can carry out a self-assessment to find out more about the energy efficiency of their homes and to receive guidance, support and information on available grants to renovate their homes.

The new platform also offers advice on European Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), tips on energy efficiency and solutions to help homeowners invest in energy efficiency.

The new app is being piloted as part of an 18-month project to help homeowners carry out energy renovation improvements even if their homes don’t have a valid EPC.  By simply choosing the house type amongst the most common building types in the UK, homeowners are given suggestions that can be carried out by an energy consultant.  The tool also offers long term step-by-step retrofit plans to help homeowners improve their energy efficiency using cutting edge technologies, that are necessary to decarbonise the building stock by 2050.

Professor David Gray, project lead at RGU, said: “Energy renovation by individual homeowners is lagging. The measures currently available are fragmented and do not meet the needs and concerns of property owners. Stronghouse wants to redesign the system to gain a better understanding of the factors that motivate homeowners. Whilst doing so, we will help them invest and reduce the environmental footprint of their homes and develop innovative digital tools to help them do this.

“The energy used by buildings has been a key research theme for The Scotts School of Architecture and Built Environment for many years, and this project is another example of collaboration with the School of Creative and Cultural Business.  Stronghouse is a brilliant example of the positive effects of research undertaken with partners from across Europe, from both the public and private sectors. The immediate usefulness of this project to home owners is really clear and will help to improve issues of fuel poverty.”

Dr Amar Bennadji from The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and member of the Stronghouse Project said: “We want to simplify the process for homeowners to help them improve their home energy efficiency. The new Stronghouse APP provides a platform where homeowners can ask a number of simple questions about their homes and find information to help them improve their energy efficiency.

“As part of the energy transition, we need to adopt sustainable solutions and accelerate energy renovation in our neighbourhoods. RGU is working closely with partners as part of the Stronghouse group to create sustainable housing in communities.”

With an innovative focus, the aim of the Stronghouse Group is to reduce the carbon footprint of some 22,000 homes in the North Sea Region while generating an estimated 100 million euro in investments.  A recent Stronghouse report shows that significant progress has been made with a reduction of 7.4kton CO2 emissions and 4872 homes renovated since the group formed in 2020.

More locally and as part of a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership, RGU is working closely with Aberdeen based Kishorn Insulations Ltd to support the Stronghouse Project.  Kishorn has a strong track record and recently joined the team to provide specific technical expertise to improve the energy renovation in older, more traditional and “hard-to-treat” buildings. The aim of the KTP is to assess the development of new processes, materials and their lifecycle. It is also assessing how insulation materials can be incorporated into older buildings to improve their energy performance.

Projects like these demonstrate RGU’s strengths in demand-led research which contribute to economic development and also the university’s commitment to support Scottish Government’s net zero ambitions.  Around 40% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions arise from the way buildings are lit, heated and used so improving the energy efficiency of buildings is a major factor in meeting the government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Robert Gordon University formed a knowledge partnership with the international Stronghouse Project in 2009. The group now includes 16 partners and 7 sub-partners from 6 countries in the North Sea Region. These include local and regional authorities, knowledge institutes, SMEs, business support and public service providers who all work together to share knowledge and expertise within the collaboration.     RGU Research Fellow, Mohammed Seddiki is leading the software development of the Stronghouse APP.

Finance

AIRBANK SELECTS YAPILY TO BUILD A FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SOLUTION FOR SMBS

Published

on

By

Airbank, a financial management solution for European startups and SMBs, has selected open banking infrastructure provider Yapily to help its users manage their finances with ease.

Airbank provides a simple financial management solution that aggregates all bank accounts in one place and delivers more control, visibility, and automation to modern finance teams. Startups & SMBs use Airbank to access bank accounts, monitor cash flow in real-time, create reliable forecasts, and make business payments.

Airbank matches bank transactions with merchant and category data to give finance teams complete visibility into revenues and expenses, thus helping make their lives easier with cash flow budgeting, forecasting, and reporting.

Yapily’s API infrastructure provides Airbank users with a smooth, simple way to connect to more than 1,500 banks across the UK and Europe including Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Sparkassen, Volksbanken and neobanks. Airbank selected Yapily for its strong coverage in Europe, with a specific focus on Germany, France, Spain, and the UK. Yapily’s European bank connectivity enables Airbank’s customers to scale and grow across Europe, delivering forecast visibility anywhere they go.

The partnership with Yapily alleviates Airbank’s customers from spending time and resources managing their finances – giving them direct access to all the financial and contextual data they need in one tool. Historically, most businesses created budgets and cash flow forecasts in manual spreadsheets which is time-consuming and error-prone. With Airbank, customers save time and costs to focus on value-adding business tasks.

The partnership also enables Airbank’s customers to use its data enrichment platform and transaction categorisation engine to turn the raw data from bank accounts into meaningful and actionable insights. Airbank reconciles account balances, forecasts financials and helps business owners make smarter business decisions every day. Harnessing Yapily’s leading open banking infrastructure, Airbank can accelerate its adoption of digital banking services.

Airbank’s vision is to simplify financial management for SMBs and to create a unified platform that helps its users with the full cycle of financial management from cash flow analysis and forecasting, to accounts receivables and payables management, and more. Airbank has raised $3m seed funding from leading VCs, and counts hundreds of users in Germany, Austria, France, Spain and the UK.

Open Banking has enabled smooth integrations with banks, which we utilize to offer richer banking and payments experiences for our users. We’re building a business banking solution that connects all your financial accounts in one place. Our partnership with Yapily gives users a smooth and simple way to connect to thousands of banks in Europe, unlocking real-time insights into their cash flow. We eliminate the pains of finance admin so business owners can focus on what’s really important — growing their business.

Christopher Zemina, Co-founder and CEO of Airbank

Airbank helps simplify the daily routine of banking and finance management for small and medium sized businesses. By leveraging Yapily’s open banking infrastructure, Airbank can provide actionable insights to businesses – at a time where it’s needed. As a small yet fast growing company, Yapily is committed to supporting the SMB community and we are excited to see how Airbank delivers the benefits of open banking to many businesses across Europe.

Comment by Chris Scheuermann, Commercial Lead DACH at Yapily

 

Continue Reading

Interviews

COULD YOU PROVIDE US WITH SOME BACKGROUND ON YOUR CURRENT ROLE WITHIN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR?

Published

on

By

– Shanker Ramamurthy, Global Managing Partner – Banking at IBM, BIAN Executive Board Member

 

I lead the banking consulting practice across IBM Consulting, focusing on banks’ digital transformation, core banking, and payments. Additionally, I am the President of the IBM Industry Academy, a dynamic and diverse community of IBM’s industry experts aiming to form new solutions to help our customers win in a constantly evolving industry landscape. The Academy offers IBMers the chance to work together and collaborate with industry experts from all areas of IBM.

Since my career began almost three decades ago, I have been lucky enough to work across six continents in various consulting and leadership roles in the financial services sector. This experience, coupled with my current role, has provided me with a unique insight into the digital trends affecting all industries and enables me to serve IBM’s financial services clients better.

 

Can you explain more about your recent appointment to BIAN’s Executive Board and BIAN’s role in the industry? 

BIAN stands for the Banking Industry Architecture Network. It is a collaborative, not-for-profit organization of institutions and professionals from the financial and technology industries, including leading banks, technology providers, consultants, and academics from all over the globe. Member organizations are committed to lowering the cost of banking and increasing the speed of innovation adoption in the industry. Members draw upon their combined industry expertise to define a revolutionary banking technology framework that standardizes and simplifies banking architecture to overcome limitations preventing growth and efficiency and encourage ease of management in their existing environments.1

The opportunity to become a member of the BIAN board was an invitation I could not turn down. I am honored to be part of BIAN’s executive board to provide counsel and support their work in helping financial institutions negotiate this time of immense opportunity and disruption. For the financial services industry, BIAN’s open framework, services-oriented architecture, and standards model are more critical than ever before.

 

Shanker Ramamurthy

After working in the financial services industry for a number of years, what is it that makes you so passionate about the industry? 

I am delighted to see the impact of exponential technology on financial services because these innovations provide an opportunity to bring positive change to people’s everyday lives. I am also a strong advocate for financial inclusion and emphasize its importance as part of my practice. Financial services should be accessible for all, regardless of financial means and where you are in the world. In this respect, I am committed to helping banks widen the availability of banking services and reduce the cost point of doing so.

 

The importance of financial inclusion is evident. But what measures can global banks take to increase the availability of banking services and keep cost points low?

The financial services industry still has much to do to achieve inclusive banking globally. Having said this, incumbents, fintechs and techfins have made significant investments in technology and innovation, with this end in mind. Unfortunately, we live in a world where globally, billions of people still do not have access to basic financial services. Critical areas such as payments – particularly cross-border payments – remain costly, and access to credit continues to be a challenge for so many.

Global financial institutions will find success for their own business processes and their customers through a technology and business strategy to support the bank of the future and by prioritizing innovation powered by hybrid cloud and AI. Although there is much work to be done, it is encouraging that the combination of innovation will help democratize and transform finance like never before.

 

What can banks do to prepare for the future? 

Banks are facing an evolving landscape due to COVID-19 and changing regulatory environments. This is something banks and fintechs are navigating. At the same time, the financial services industry is being shaped by new consumer trends – from the rise of a cashless society to the pandemic-driven shift towards online banking and mobile payments.

The focus on technological development to accommodate these changes will continue. The banks that succeed will be the ones who have a technology and business strategy to support the ‘bank of the future,’ in which much of the middle and back office gets almost entirely automated and focus shifts to customers and customer value-adding functions. This transition requires rapid digitization and the adoption of exponential technologies powered by the hybrid cloud and AI. BIAN has an essential role in helping banks do just this.

 

What does the shift towards digital banking, including the increasing use of mobile contactless payments by customers, mean for the bank of the future?

Digitization drives innovation, new business models, and efficiency while simultaneously enabling extreme competition from traditional and non-traditional competitors. In tomorrow’s banking eco-system model, the value is increasingly accruing from customer-facing functions supported by platform-based business models. By extension, this has meant competition from both fintech and importantly, techfins (large technology companies that are moving into the less regulated aspects of financial services such as payments, electronic wallets, BNPL – buy now pay later models and more).

Banks in the future will automate extensively, and likely extend their business models to create ‘beyond banking platforms’ to support their customers in areas outside of the traditional banking value chain. The future of such models is being written in Asia by banks such as DBS in Singapore, State Bank of India, among others as they evolve their business models to combat the growth of ‘super-apps’ like Alibaba, Tencent, Grab, Gojek, and more in that part of the world.

 

How can the industry find its footing after such a change?

Banks have several natural advantages that come from incumbency, customer loyalty, and material regulatory barriers preventing non-traditional competitors from quickly breaching their businesses. Regardless, mastering the future will require banks to ask themselves three questions:

  1. Is our strategy ambitious enough?
  2. Are we executing fast enough?
  3. Do we have the talent and capabilities to win?

Answering these questions honestly and then putting in place programs to execute relentlessly is the only way for the industry to continue to thrive and take advantage of the extensive opportunities in the near future.

 

 

Continue Reading

Magazine

Trending

Business1 day ago

OUTSOURCING YOUR IT SOLUTIONS CAN SAVE YOU FROM COSTLY DOWNTIME

Amir Hashmi, CEO and Founder of leading IT and Cloud services provider Zsah, discusses why you need full-time professionals if...

Banking2 days ago

HOW TRADITIONAL INSURERS CAN USE TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS

The customer experience with insurance is anomalous, in that one is only required to engage with their insurer if things...

Business3 days ago

THE FUTURE OF CLOUD: HOW TO KEEP YOUR DATA SAFE

By Pete Braithwaite, COO of KIT Online Cloud services are inherently scalable, responsive and flexible. They offer huge flexibility –...

Business4 days ago

ETRADING SOFTWARE AND ARTIS HOLDINGS LOANS ELECTRONIC PLATFORM OPEN FOR BUSINESS

The Bids Wanted in Competition (BWIC) process completes on the WIC trading platform   Etrading Software, the independent, global provider...

Finance4 days ago

AIRBANK SELECTS YAPILY TO BUILD A FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SOLUTION FOR SMBS

Airbank, a financial management solution for European startups and SMBs, has selected open banking infrastructure provider Yapily to help its...

Interviews4 days ago

COULD YOU PROVIDE US WITH SOME BACKGROUND ON YOUR CURRENT ROLE WITHIN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR?

– Shanker Ramamurthy, Global Managing Partner – Banking at IBM, BIAN Executive Board Member   I lead the banking consulting...

Business4 days ago

IT COST MANAGEMENT: 10 STEPS BUSINESSES CAN’T IGNORE

By Matt Dando, Director, Strategic Business Value Consulting at Serviceware   In today’s ever-accelerating digital era, and as we recover...

Banking5 days ago

UNCHARTED TERRITORY: HOW OPEN BANKING CAN HELP BANKS NAVIGATE COVID CHALLENGES

Opinion from Rafa Plantier, Head of UK and Ireland at Tink The last year has propelled banks, businesses and consumers...

Finance5 days ago

AI AND HOW IT’S LEADING THE FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR

Geoff Clark, Managing Director, Aerospike EMEA Much like many other sectors financial institutions have accelerated their digital transformation projects since...

Banking5 days ago

HOW DIGITAL IS MAKING THE ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ POSSIBLE FOR FINANCIAL FIRMS

  By Lavanya Kaul, Head of Customer Success, BFSI, UK&I, LTI Article synopsis: Focused on the digital transformation of the...

News5 days ago

DANSKE BANK TO BRING DOMESTIC SCHEME, DANKORT, TO APPLE PAY

Danske Bank, Denmark’s leading bank, supported by Nets, will bring Dankort to Apple Pay Dankort is the preferred means of payment...

News5 days ago

TACKLING THE FORGOTTEN PLASTIC PANDEMIC: CLIMATE CHANGE

By Mark Taylor, Group CCO, Waterlogic   Last year the COVID-19 pandemic was, quite rightfully, at the forefront of all...

News5 days ago

CROWN AGENTS BANK ACCELERATES GLOBAL GROWTH AND EXPANDS INTO NEW MARKETS WITH MULESOFT

MuleSoft, provider of the world’s #1 integration and API platform, today announced that Crown Agents Bank (https://www.crownagentsbank.com)  is using MuleSoft to digitally...

Finance5 days ago

THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCURATE AND TRUSTED TIMESTAMPING IN FINANCIAL SERVICES

Richard Hoptroff, CTO, Hoptroff   Recent global financial regulations such as MiFID II require that all stock exchanges, credit institutions,...

Business5 days ago

HOW OPEN DATA CAN HELP FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

David Lais, Co-Founder and CPO at Ecolytiq – providing banks and financial institutions with the digital infrastructure for green finance....

Business1 week ago

NOW’S THE TIME FOR THE INFRASTRUCTURE SECTOR TO GET IR35 RIGHT

Matt Fryer, Head of Legal Services at Brookson Legal   The Government’s recently announced £650bn programme of infrastructure works is...

Business1 week ago

MAKING THE MOST OF RPA TO ENHANCE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Standfirst: Capturing and analysing business processes should be a prerequisite for any implementation of robotic process automation, argues Dr Gero...

Banking1 week ago

FINTECHS AND BANKING POST-COVID

COVID-19 has forced businesses and society to adapt to new realities. From big-name Wall Street banks to up-and-coming financial technology...

Technology2 weeks ago

WHY AGILE TECHNOLOGY PLATFORMS ARE THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE INNOVATION

Sujit Unni,CTO, Paysafe   A main reason why platform technology can prove to be so effective for a business is...

News2 weeks ago

DIGITAL TOKEN IDENTIFIER REGISTRATION OPENS WITH ETRADING SOFTWARE

Top 100 cryptocurrencies can now be tracked authoritatively using new ISO standard   Etrading Software, through its non-profit division the...

Trending