By David Rowark, Head of B2B Sales, Freesat
With television becoming ever more important to us all, it is time for property developers to factor it in from the foundations
Increasing house prices, falling wages and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, have made the possibility of owning a home seem more remote than ever before. It is predicted that more people in Britain will be privately renting properties by the end of next year. Widely predicted, this has opened the door for savvy developers, who now have an opportunity to entice a new breed of renters looking for ‘all-inclusive’ homes.
A recent study from rental app Movebubble highlighted an increasing demand for ‘bills-included’ homes, with a rise of 28% of people beginning to look for properties with all utilities and essentials included. In fact, between March and July of this year, it saw a 101% increase in searches for homes where utilities such as electricity, gas and Wi-Fi were included in the monthly rent.
As technology and connectivity continue to play such a fundamental part in our lives, having all services and utilities readily available as soon as you move into a new home has become a key criterion for renters. It means they no longer need to spend hours deliberating over which deal is best or organising any installation. The complications and frustrations of choosing these utilities and essentials are removed. Plus, the bundling of all services into one singular rent fee helps consumers to budget more effectively.
The financial uncertainty of the past six months has placed even greater pressure on developers and property managers to pivot their rental packages from pure accommodation to an ‘all-inclusive’ package for renters. TV, whether that be linear or On Demand, has become an essential part of modern living, with Brits watching 22.5 hours of television on average a week, and 14.3 million of us having now subscribed to multiple streaming services. Just like with other essential services and utilities that have been included in rental packages of late, adding TV to an ‘all-inclusive’ service is likely to hit the spot with a new generation of renters.
It’s important to remember than many of these new renters are coming from the comfort of their parents’ homes where the multitude of utility and service bills are generally paid for by someone else. They may also be arriving in the market from the safety of student accommodation, where the majority of students have the convenience of at least one of their utilities being included in their rent according to recent research.
But it’s not just the immediacy of having everything set up on move-in day that renters are craving. In a world where technology is constantly evolving, ensuring homes are future-proofed is essential. Whilst smart TVs and set top boxes – that have the ability to record, pause and rewind – are a regular fixture in a lot of homes already, properties will only continue to get smarter. It is, therefore, important that developers mirror this trend to ensure their offering keeps up with consumer expectations.
There is clearly a demand for an ‘all-inclusive’ property offering for renters. However, there is still the possibility that property developers will get it wrong. Whilst it isn’t always necessarily about the cost, consumers are looking for convenience which then creates a premium that people are willing to pay, or stick around, for. It should be seen as an opportunity to garner loyalty among renters.
Developers, though, need to be wary of any costs from partners that may be faced by renters further down the line. By bundling a Free-to-Air TV service, which offers both live television and the ability to record it, combined with the option to access streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, BritBox and Netflix, renters can have the best of both worlds without the financial worry of ongoing monthly costs, normally associated with a Pay-TV model.
With so much uncertainty, consumers are increasingly looking at ways to ensure some stability in their lives and developers are beginning to recognise the importance of having a rental package that offers further convenience. The notion of separate bills for every service within a household is starting to become a thing of the past, and with convenience being one of the most important factors for today’s buyers, now is the time to sow the seeds for the next rental revolution.
FROM EFFICIENCY TO NEW INVESTMENTS – WHY BLOCKCHAIN IS MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
Thomas Borrel, chief product officer at Polymath
Blockchain has been an extremely hot topic in 2021. With companies and financial institutions internationally having to adapt to an increasingly digital world, the true potential of blockchain is becoming increasingly clear. We have seen hospitals using the technology to track vaccine distributions, major blue-chip companies floating digital assets or ‘stablecoins’, even progress made by central banks in piloting and adopting digital currencies
When it comes to the world of finance, much of the attention has focussed on the booming price of Bitcoin, and there has been much excitement around using cryptocurrencies as an alternative investment. However, the real potential of blockchain technology stretches far into traditional finance and beyond.
Improving access to investment options
Security tokens created and issued on the blockchain are already being used to improve efficiency in a variety of more traditional asset classes, ranging from real estate to green bonds. The Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance (SDFA) and HSBC Center of Sustainable Finance recently joined forces to highlight how security tokens for green bonds can reduce management costs and increase operational efficiency by up to ten times. And in early 2020, RedSwan CRE Marketplace tokenised $2.2B in commercial real estate, making it one of the biggest tokenisations we’ve seen so far.
However, the potential of tokenisation does not only stand to improve the process of trading traditional assets; blockchain can also open up the pool of investors able to participate. To date, the focus has been on how fractionalisation brings benefits to retail investors by lowering the bar to entry. However, the retail regulations are still very stringent, which is important to protect non-professionals from disproportionate losses.
Tokenisation can be used to enable large institutional investors to buy into smaller projects. Referred to as aggregation, this process can be used to bind assets together so that they meet an institution’s minimum investment threshold. Because of the transparency of blockchain, the investor is still able to inspect each individual offering and ensure each element meets their quality and risk requirements, but by packaging it into one larger token, an institution can diversify with assets that would have otherwise flown under its radar.
Optimising efficiency and minimising risk
Risk management and operational efficiency are usually at the core of any financial institution’s wider strategy. However, no matter how much firms optimise their own processes, there are a range of financial instruments that are still very prone to issues in these areas, especially those that are traded ‘over the counter’ (OTC). The best example of this is likely the bonds market – a multi trillion-dollar market, where OTC trades are still common practice.
When an OTC trade is conducted, it is often so over the telephone – one person calling another to make a deal. This introduces significant information risk with securities operations teams reporting error rates as high as 40%. When instructions for the trade are passed on to the custodians, they will spot the discrepancy. They then have to investigate and find out what has gone wrong, often resulting in very long delays to settlement times.
Blockchains go a long way to solving this problem, providing transparent access to trade and clearing information so that operational issues can be caught earlier and help mitigate settlement risk (i.e. settlement failure). For example, on Polymesh settlement instructions must be affirmed prior to settlement, in a case where an OTC trade has been improperly captured by one counterparty, the counterparty which has affirmed the instruction can see that the other counterparty has not affirmed the instruction within a defined period. In this way, the affirming counterparty can reach out proactively prior to the settlement date to rectify the situation and avoid settlement failure.
Trading on blockchain also generates an easily accessible, secure ledger of trading information. When it comes to reporting in traditional asset classes, the process is highly manual and often expensive. But, with a blockchain solution, reporting is built into the ecosystem from the ground up. There are no significant additional costs or resources required to extract this data and share it where necessary, and the number and complexity of the steps required to complete reconciliations between different entities are reduced and simplified.
Is tokenisation a ‘cover all’ solution?
Fundamentally, certain traditional asset classes are not right for the blockchain yet. Instruments with well-established frameworks, like publicly traded stocks, already have very well-formed, rigorous rails in place, and so transferring to a blockchain could cause disruption and incur unnecessary costs.
It is very common to hear blockchain advocates claiming that blockchain technology should be introduced into every corner of the finance space, which is misguided. Blockchain should be introduced where it brings value to investors or institutions. It should be about augmenting and supplementing the marketplace – not overhauling it, or at least not until the incumbent systems no longer keep up with demand.
The costs and infrastructure associated with capital markets have made some assets – like green bonds or real estate – too expensive to bring to market and service, or too difficult to invest in. These use-cases are examples of where tokenisation can really shine.
Blockchain is an extremely powerful tool, with a range of exciting applications and potential benefits for businesses and financial institutions, ranging from risk management and efficiency through to enabling new investments. However, as with any product, it isn’t the answer to all problems, and must be treated as a powerful enabler – not as an agitator.
TRADING ROOMS OF THE FUTURE – IPC’S OUTLOOK FOR 2021
By Craig Campestre, Chief Revenue Officer, IPC
The Covid-19 pandemic did not just affect our clients. As soon as the virus started to spread around the world and lockdowns started to come into place, it became apparent here at IPC that we would need to implement our own business continuity plan and work from home strategies. All of this had to take place on an incredibly tight timescale and to an unprecedented extent. We had to react and adapt faster than ever before in order to help our clients prepare for lockdown. There was a need to manage supply chains, gather client feedback, and produce updates for our products with increased levels of accuracy, clarity, and efficiency.
During these challenging times, market participants have done an excellent job in moving quickly to make sure that their systems remain stable and resilient. The fact that the markets have remained open throughout this period is a testament to their great work.
Now though, it is time for us all to look ahead and see what the future holds for the trading industry.
How the industry is evolving
Prior to the pandemic, the trading room was starting to change. Regulatory requirements such as MiFID II, a piece of legislative framework designed to regulate financial markets and improve protections for investors, had resulted in the transformation of workflows on the trading floor. There is now a real necessity for telephonic communications to be integrated with trading technology in order to gain actionable insights from conversations.
We have also noticed that a new trend has emerged – traders are now starting to consume multiple applications from just one terminal. As a result of this, data is being shared organically between the applications.
Trading desks are also striving for increased productivity. Using AI-powered natural language processing (NLP) tools, trading firms are able to strive for swifter execution, better communications, and smooth-running reporting processes and settlements. All in all, this leads to an overall increase in efficiency.
Additionally, there are numerous areas across trading floors where NLP will be used in the coming years. It will enable traders to voice populate applications and forms on their desktops, while NLP will also allow for heads of trading desks to search through structured sets of data, enabling them to reconstruct trades instead of having to manually listen to numerous audio files.
With hundreds of millions of voice quotes being generated around the world every day, it is vital that this market data is unlocked, and that future trading floors are equipped with the necessary voice communication tools to allow them to conduct better analysis and automate their workflows.
Global growth and the FX market
Traditional trading hubs, such as the US, the UK, Japan and Hong Kong are still facilitating most of the foreign exchange (FX) market trading. However, in recent years trading hubs from emerging markets are starting to come to the fore. For example, China is making great inroads, evidenced by the country being ranked as the 8th largest FX trading center, per the 2019 BIS triennial survey.
The Asia-Pacific region has long been viewed as a growing market. Even before the pandemic, trading firms operating in this region had already faced a crisis and were impacted by a major geopolitical event – the 2019-20 Hong Kong protests. The protests meant that traders in the region were forced to adjust their trading activities and working practices. As such, these trading firms were able to use the experience gained from having to suddenly pivot and roll out their business continuity plans to help financial companies around the rest of the world when lockdowns came into effect due to the pandemic.
Adding to this, it is important to consider the impact that current geopolitical events may have on global growth over the coming years. Brexit and the increased economic tension between China and the US, as well as Covid-19, all have the potential to have a major impact on global growth. Due to these geopolitical events, we may observe a shift in the location of trading activities, which may begin taking place in locations that are, presently, not thought of as global trading hubs.
How IPC can help
The global markets are continuously changing and evolving. As such, it is vital for market participants to remain on the edge of innovation.
Here at IPC, we are constantly assessing what needs to be done to enable the development of the trading room of the future. This includes bringing voice communication services fully into electronic trading environments. By doing this, it will allow for greater integration with data sources, trading technologies and electronic workflows. In places where we have voice products that function using legacy infrastructure, we are in the process of modernizing the underlying technologies.
It is clear to see that the trading industry was in the midst of an evolution prior to the pandemic. However, this transformation has definitely been accelerated by the events of the past year, with companies having to quickly adapt to the ever-changing circumstances. This process is likely to continue into 2021 and beyond, with new and improved products continuing to enter the marketplace. Looking to the future, it is vital that financial market participants maintain their resilience and maintain their innovative edge.
2021 FINANCE SPEND PREDICTIONS
by Andrew Foster, VP Consulting EMEA, AppZen As we enter a new year filled with ongoing change and uncertainty,...
FIVE PITFALLS PROFESSIONAL SERVICES MUST OVERCOME DURING THE PANDEMIC
By Andy Campbell, global solution evangelist at FinancialForce The pandemic’s impact on the global economy has, and is continuing...
HOW FINANCE TEAMS CAN UTILISE MODERN TECHNOLOGIES TO PREDICT AND MITIGATE RISK
Carol Lee, CFO of Wrike There is no denying that the finance function plays an important role in every...
THE LOYALTY-TRUST PARADOX AT THE HEART OF FINANCIAL SERVICES AND HOW TO OVERCOME IT
By Andrew Warren, Head of Banking & Financial Services, UK&I at Cognizant There has long been a paradox at...
ACCELERATION OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PUSHING ORGANISATIONS TOWARDS A MORE DATA-DRIVEN APPROACH
84% of businesses have seen more demand for data due to Covid-19, but nearly a third say data quality remains...
WE NEED MORE CRYPTO COMPANIES TO IPO TO INCREASE DIGITAL ASSET SCRUTINY AND ADOPTION
Stephen Ehrlich, Co-Founder and CEO at Voyager Digital As a publicly listed digital asset trading business, the recent announcement...
SUSTAINABLE DERIVATIVES: THE “GIVING TREE”
Jennifer Kafcas, Lauren Blaber, Alvino Van Schalkwyk and Harry Polan Momentum continues to gather pace towards building a sustainable...
THE POTENTIAL OF PaaS IN FINANCIAL INSTITUTION INNOVATION
By Barry Tarrant, Director, Product Solutions, Fiserv Financial institutions continually balance competing demands for investment in technology maintenance, compliance,...
TAPPING INTO THE RIGHT MINDS
David Holden-White, co-founder and managing director, techspert.io The world is awash with information. Analyst house IDC estimated that more...
FINANCE DERIVATIVE 2021 TRENDS – NUAPAY
By Brian Hanrahan, CCO, Sentenial, parent company of Nuapay The past year has accelerated payments trends that already existed,...
FINANCE PREDICTIONS FOR 2021
By Dr Vic Arulchandran, CPO at Nivaura The year 2020 saw many technology trends accelerated due to the global...
A NEW VISION FOR GRANT MANAGEMENT REQUIRES FAMILIAR IT
Jack Perschke, Partner at Netcompany At its very heart, the business of government is mostly about either taking in money...
RETAILERS NEED TO DELIVER BETTER REWARDS TO ENSURE CUSTOMER LOYALTY
62% feel retailers need to improve the ways they reward consumers for shopping with them 55% believe that loyalty programmes...
OPEN BANKING: THE UNSUNG HERO OF THE PAYMENTS REVOLUTION
By Mike Peplow, CEO at Paynetics UK It’s been more than three years since the introduction of open banking...
DATA MANAGEMENT: HOW TO KEEP YOUR PAYROLL INFORMATION HUSH-HUSH
Shubham Joshi is an experienced content marketer at FactoHR Why, at the time of recruitment, candidates are told not to...
AURIGA AND ACI WORLDWIDE PARTNER TO LAUNCH NEXT-GENERATION ATM ACQUIRING AND SELF-SERVICE BANKING PLATFORM
New platform improves omni-channel experience for consumers, including self-service channel integration with mobile and internet banking Auriga, market leader...
THESE TOP 5 INTERACTIVE SKILLS WILL ENSURE WE’LL BECOME BETTER COMMUNICATORS IN 2021
Last year was one like no other and is certainly one that the majority of us will be keen to...
BENEFITS OF MOBILE HEALTHCARE APPS FOR CONSUMERS
By Sandy van Dijl, branch manager at Alexander Forbes Health The healthcare industry is at the forefront of the mobile revolution Using mobile applications...
FROM EFFICIENCY TO NEW INVESTMENTS – WHY BLOCKCHAIN IS MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
Thomas Borrel, chief product officer at Polymath Blockchain has been an extremely hot topic in 2021. With companies and...
UNDERSTANDING THE CYBERSECURITY CHALLENGES FACED BY NEOBANKS
Narendra Sahoo, Founder and Director of VISTA InfoSec Introduction In recent years we have witnessed a major drift in...