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CAN TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS HELP IN HANDLING PANDEMICS?

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PANDEMICS

By Alain Goudey – Chief Digital Officer at NEOMA Business School

Local areas are in frontline concerning the management of pandemics as this latter evolves mainly by local clusters that can dramatically increase in numbers. The strategy against pandemics is global but the action is local.

As seen worldwide, AI, robots, drones, smartphones and more globally technological innovations can help governments to address the viral outbreaks in order to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of the responses to pandemics. These technologies can help to model the epidemics and its evolution by gathering data on what happens locally. They can also help to maintain quarantine restrictions or inform people about the virus. Logistically it means that smart city technologies can help to handle pandemics.

However, this technological feasibility has to always to be balanced with the questions of ethics, privacy, security of data, and individual freedom. Digital tracing is a delicate issue that should not be treated lightly, even in times of health crisis. It is well known that a technology is not good or bad by itself but the way it is used really determines its positive (or negative) impact on humans.

 

PANDEMICS

Alain Goudey

What technologies can help during pandemics?

Worldwide, some countries have shown that technologies could help to slow down the spread of the virus. These are quite numerous, but below I list here some of the most innovative ones.

Drones are standardly equipped with cameras and can also embark loudspeakers. Thus, they can help to cover wide area in order to find citizens that are breaking rules or at least not respecting government instructions. It has also been used in a way to simply convey an audio message to warn the population and keep citizens informed of what to do. Sometimes, cameras are AI-enhanced and can identify people.

AI-enhanced cameras have been widely used in China, where authorities are using AI recognition technology to track people in order to prevent instruction violations or to automatically measure temperatures and identifying who might be infected. This technology can be as various as drone cameras, public space ones, embarked camera in police cars, in transportation hubs, etc. AI-enhanced cameras can also track movement of people thanks to license plate readers for instance.

Bots have been developed worldwide as this conversational technology can help to inform people on the virus, help them to identify whether they are infected or not, give them specific care gestures. For instance, Kwalys or Clevy, French startups have launched bots to inform and establish a pre-diagnosis and unclog the healthcare facilities. Key companies or even governments have also developed their bots: Microsoft, Google, IBM or the French government.

Analytics technologies & big data: these technologies are useful to create maps of what’s happening locally, it also helps in showing flows and movements of population in order to model the dynamics of the viral spread. To help analysis, the French government has released all the public data in an open data approach, but it is also the case of John Hopkins University. Disseminating information quickly and accurately publicly has a key role to play to manage a good communication and specifically the transparency of this communication.

It is also a major issue to work with the same datasets at a local area as soon as possible in order to increase effectiveness of responses and avoid disjointed actions. Last but not least, good data means a strong ability to predict what could happen. These technologies can be highly helpful to understand where there is a highest likelihood of new clusters or also understanding what the key factors of emerging diseases are.

 

What about e-privacy and GDPR vs. ability to prevent pandemics?

As mentioned above data is key to helping in dealing with pandemics but these must be used very carefully. Temptation can be high to collect geolocative information continuously without the consent of users in order to better fight against viral outbreaks.

However, according to GDPR and ePrivacy European directive, digital applications must use anonymized data and to obtain the consent of individuals. Moreover, in the case of pandemics, governments or hospitals are dealing with a huge amount of health data and must be very careful in terms of collect, use, analysis, storage and time usage of this highly sensitive data. According to the French organism CNIL, a crisis is not an opportunity to break the rules of a good data management!

Google and Apple are joining the debate on tracking as they have announced on the 10th April to join their forces to create a contact-tracing opt-in-based tool. That’s a big news as this kind of application (based on the DP3T protocole) needs a large audience of users (millions of people) to be really helpful in fighting a pandemic. This rare collaboration between these two Silicon Valley’s rivals opens a real opportunity to succeed while they are covering 3 billion of people with their iOS and Android operating systems… depending of course of their use of data!

In conclusion, technological innovations can help us to handle pandemics, but the technological feasibility is one thing… the other things to balance with are the privacy and freedom of citizens. This period is so special that we can see people on Facebook… to complain about the privacy of these possible contact-tracing applications(!), at least highlighting the lack of knowledge of what happens concerning data on social networks.

 

Technology

AI-Powered Fraud Prevention for Digital Transactions

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By Martin Rehak, CEO of Resistant AI

Fraud is on the rise, thanks to the rapid escalation of digital channels in response to the unprecedented challenges created by COVID-19. However, this rapid shift to digital-first operations and transactions has come at a price for banks and financial services organisations.  Which is why financial services organisations are increasingly turning to AI to intelligently address an ever-evolving and ever-smarter attack landscape.

If nothing else, COVID-19 helped shine a spotlight on the vulnerabilities of today’s digital and mobile customer platforms that are capable of executing rapid and instant payment transactions, leaving little time to undertake customer authentication or transaction verification. Similarly, the difficulties of Know Your Customer (KYC) and customer onboarding in the digital era is exposing financial services organisations – and the customers they serve – to a significantly increased risk of cyber-crime and financial fraud.

According to a recent UK Finance report, £754 million was stolen from bank customers in 2021 as scammers industrialised the use of authorised push payment fraud to trick individuals and businesses into sending money to bank accounts operated by criminals posing as genuine customers.

The challenge created by automation

The rapid expansion and automation of financial services to minimise friction for customers has created new challenges with regard to verification and risk management policies and practices. Evaluating if a digital interaction is authentic now depends on referencing a huge amount of data from multiple sources – everything from geolocation and session behaviours to data from merchants, bureaus, and customer profiles.

Added to which, today’s financial fraudsters are becoming expert at targeting these complex digital environments and are using innovations such as block chain and instant payments against banks and their customers.

Staying ahead of criminals is an imperative. Especially as directives like Open Banking open up third party access to customer data that further heightens the vulnerability of finance firms to fraudulent activities if this process is not appropriately monitored and managed.

Financial organisations spend vast amounts of money protecting their information and IT, yet the automated processes that deliver access to money are often the least protected. Traditional approaches to fraud prevention that rely primarily on human intervention have proved inadequate for preventing the activities of today’s sophisticated digital criminals, who are capable of exploiting vulnerable automated systems at scale.

In response, the finance sector needs to enable real-time identity forensics that brings together state-of-the-art document and customer behaviour evaluation to uncover synthetic identities, account takeover attempts, money laundering and other emerging types of fraud plaguing financial services.

Strengthening onboarding and KYC processes

Attaining a deep understanding of the end-to-end customer journey is now mission critical for combating fraud and financial crime. Onboarding and KYC represent key cornerstones in the mission to prevent scams. However, the shift to digital documents for ID authentication, combined with the relaxation of onboarding verification to expedite customer conversions during the crisis, have created significant opportunities for fraud.

In the onboarding process, identify validation is the first step to affirm an applicant actually exists. Next comes verification, which links that person to the information they provided in the validation stage. In many automated workflows there are risks from forged or manipulated documents that support the customer journey in online lending, trading, insurance, financing, factoring and payments.

Typically, 17% of bank statements used for lending applications or KYC purposes have been tampered with and 11% of UK payslips submitted as part of digital loan applications have been altered or are forged. Similarly, 15% of company registration certificates submitted worldwide when opening a bank account are fakes and 9% of utility bills submitted as proof of address are forged.

By protecting automated processes that use unauthorised documents from third parties, institutions can gain certainty that all digital documents are genuine. Similarly, continually assessing transactions will instantly alert teams to potentially fraudulent activities. These anomalies encompass behavioural, device characteristics, unusual switching between accounts and more.

Providing an intelligent shield for automated financial systems, AI powered fraud prevention delivers a convenient customer onboarding experience while limiting the generation of false alarms – ensuring that fraud and cyber analysts need only investigate genuine priority alerts.

Advanced fraud insights

Today’s AI-powered real-time identity forensics are capable of detecting advanced fraud and manipulation and are adept at joining the dots to uncover previously unidentified vulnerabilities and gaps in third-party systems, so that future potential exploitations can be deterred.

With financial criminals continuing to up their game, banks and finance organisations are leveraging AI technologies to strengthen the validation, verification and transactional processes that deliver enhanced security without compromising the customer journey or experience. With the right financial automation oversight technology in place, they’re better positioned to predict, detect and deter criminal adversaries and stay one step ahead of evolving new risks on the horizon.

 

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SMART WEARABLES IN HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

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Gavin Bashar, UK managing director at Tunstall Healthcare, discusses smart wearables in health and social care, the benefits, and what the future holds.

For many years, technology has been integrated into every sector in the economy, from banking to shopping, to enhance the experience of customers.

However, health and social care services have fallen behind in terms of technology adoption and innovation, for reasons including fragmented structures, limited resources, and reluctance to change.

Yet person-centred technology has the power to transform lives, not only enabling the ongoing delivery of support services to vulnerable people, but reshaping the health and social care sector as a whole.

Technology-enabled health and care is the service of the future and the ongoing and unprecedented rapid acceleration in the adoption of care and health technology has demonstrated the numerous benefits in practice.

 

Why wearable technology?

Wearable technology enriches the lives of a range of cohorts, including people living with long term conditions such as dementia, and connects vulnerable individuals to key stakeholders such as clinicians and family members.

The better application of technology and wearable devices can deliver significant benefits including improved patient outcomes and service-user experiences, a reduction in the strain on staff and carers, and potential cost savings or avoidance.

Wearable devices and the systems they’re linked to use wireless and digital technology to enable support services to be efficient, flexible, responsive, and tailored to the individual. The unobtrusive devices also ensure that care delivery is discreet and won’t interrupt the daily life of service users.

Proactive healthcare is also easier thanks to wearable technology. Service users become much more engaged with their own health and have greater opportunity to develop a proactive approach to their health monitoring, rather than reacting. Technology can be used to enable intervention at an early stage by identifying irregularities before they become more significant health or care issues which require expensive care and treatment.

There is significant evidence that wearable technology offers users greater choice in terms of the care they receive and prevents incidents in the first place, by recognising an emergency as soon as it occurs. Community alarms and telecare services in particular are effective methods of signposting to clinicians and additional services when a user requires care, and this has been particularly important during the pandemic.

 

Wearables in a home and residential care setting

When providers are presented with unique opportunities to drive the adoption of digital health solutions such as wearables, there must be a focus on designing holistic services which fit seamlessly into the user’s life, work with clinical practices, and ensure any data that is collected is stored securely.

There is a huge range of wearable technology and devices available which perform a number of functions and can therefore be tailored to suit the needs of an individual and their stakeholders, such as carers and clinicians.

Small, discreet pendants available on the market can raise alarm calls in emergencies, and protect users living independently at home or in group living environments. Features can include integrated alarm buttons, LEDs for visual reassurance that a button has been pressed, easy to wear options, and auto low battery monitoring and alerts.

Falls are the main reason that older people are taken to hospital and unaddressed fall hazards in the home are estimated to cost the NHS over £430 million1. Smart wearables use advanced technology to allow users to raise an alarm from anywhere in their home or care setting if they are in difficulty. Some devices can also automatically raise an alert if a fall is detected.

This technology offers confidence to individuals who are at risk of falling, such as people with limited mobility, the elderly, and people with long-term conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Wearable technology not only benefits vulnerable individuals living at home, but also those in residential care settings and their carers. Nurse call systems which are integrated with smart wearables can be personalised to ensure individual safety with minimal disruption to other care home residents. It also respects dignity while improving management insights, workflow efficiencies, staff morale, and care quality.

Devices can also be worn which protect users when away from home, automatically detecting falls, offering an SOS function and providing the user’s location.

 

The benefits of managed technology and smart wearables

Technology can require equipment from a range of manufacturers. Identifying, purchasing and managing devices from multiple sources can prove challenging and resource intensive for local authority community alarm centres.

Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) has a managed healthcare service which includes home units, telecare sensors and wearable devices which are all tailored to the needs of individual service users.

All connections are monitored and referrals are made to the NCC Responder team, nominated contacts or the emergency services, as appropriate. NCC also has Reablement Assessment flats with telecare in place to support people leaving hospital, helping them to increase wellbeing and regain skills to enable them to return home.

Between October 2019 and December 2020, significant benefits and improved outcomes have been observed. Over 280 cases where a high and immediate risk of admission to residential care were avoided, and over 650 cases which required additional community care costs were avoided.

In total, savings of over £2.2 million have been achieved after additional service costs, costs of homecare for people diverted from residential care, and loss of client contributions have been deducted.

 

The next generation of wearable technology

The deployment of smart technology, including wearable devices, enables vulnerable people to live safely and independently for as long as possible. However as demands change, the care journey is now evolving rapidly and healthcare services must adapt accordingly.

We’re beginning to see the next generation of predictive care technology and smart wearable devices, and over the next few years this will encompass integration that enables diverse and scalable models of health and social care. Using AI and taking data-driven insight from multiple sources, providers will use this next generation of solutions to optimise Population Health Management programmes by providing personalised and anticipatory care.

Smart wearables in health and social care are designed to improve quality of life and empower individuals to take control of their health, while supporting the NHS and additional stakeholders by reducing the number of required GP visits, ambulance callouts, hospital admissions, and demand for local authority funded residential care

For more information on how wearable technology can support the ongoing delivery of proactive and effective support, please visit www.tunstall.co.uk

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