Few institutions are as important today as banks. From small-scale business to huge multinational companies, banking is an essential business function. In choosing a company to use, business executives mainly examine its security and technological applications. For the last seven years, the banking industry has largely remained flat. The financial crisis that hit the globe and the resulting fallout forced banks to tighten the belt.
However, in 2012, banks finally had some breathing room due to the revived spending power. If this continues this year, then the banking industry will continue to invest in new technologies as they focus on efficiency and complying with new requirements. Some of the new technologies that will shape the industry this year are:
- Convergence of online & mobile technologies
Mobile banking began as an offshoot of online banking, and only very few people felt comfortable using it. Many more did not have the gadgets or the heart to try out this form of banking. Nevertheless, Smartphones have grown extensively in popularity and so has mobile banking.
Initially, mobile banking comprised of an online banking model ported to an Android or iPhone device. However, this year will see banks and vendor partners taking advantage of the maturing channel to produce richer mobile offerings. Banks will also use a single piece of technology to integrate the mobile and online banking to offer effective solutions.
- Technologies in business process management
Many banks have a hard time dealing with multiple back-office systems as well as soiled information. To deal effectively with these challenges, banks will invest in new and enhanced business management tools, according to experts. It is high time banks found better techniques of collecting and reporting data to ensure regulatory compliance and increased efficiency. Additionally, integrated data systems will greatly contribute to risk management as well as help banks gain a more accurate perception of their customers.
- The rise of message centers
A few years back, banks communicated with their clients through email. This had many risks especially when exchanging sensitive information. However, the rise of message centers is set to change all that. A message center is a specialized web portal intended for secure communication between banks and their clients. Already banks are abandoning the use of email for any sensitive information but are still using the message centers inconsistently. Nevertheless, experts say this year more banks will develop message centers, and communication between customers and their banks via this technology will become the norm.
- Online & offline channel integration
No doubt, gone are the days when a customer would need to walk to a bank to fulfill all his or her banking needs. If a client initiates a loan process online and does not have time to complete it, then he or she would expect to walk into his or her local branch on the way from work to finish the process.
However, in most cases the bank will request the client to begin the process again due to lack of channel integration. Banks will work on new technologies to rearrange their channel architecture and integrate online and offline channels. According to many banking experts, the industry is moving towards a post-channel world where the client is central and only channel.
- New mobile securities
Mobile devices are almost becoming omnipresent. Consumers are spending more and more time on their Smartphones, tablets and notepads for all their consumer needs including banking. In fact, some experts have declared the death of PCs. However, as more people continue to carry out banking on their mobile devices, these gadgets will increasingly become the focus of hackers and fraudsters.
Mobile devices are more prone to security breaches since they are still relatively burgeoning technology. In addition, many people do not take adequate security measures since they do not quite understand the risks involved.
As part of a trend now called consumerization of IT, employees are increasingly bringing their own devices to work. This poses risks to the business if not handled carefully. Banks are investing in new technologies that will secure mobile banking, and are setting up firm policies to govern employees who are using their own devices to handle work information. They are also educating them on how to exercise proper security measures.
Chad is a blogger who is passionate about technology, and its impact on business. His articles have enlightened many individuals regarding the benefits and challenges of information technology on businesses. An example would be his fascination with the CMMS software.
Stephen Salter, Emeritus Professor of Engineering Design at the University of Edinburgh and major proponent of geo-engineering, has suggested that there may currently be a feasible way to combat global warming until greener alternatives have been reached in the future. The plan calls for large seawater pumps to convert the spray into tiny droplets of water in the atmosphere to reflect back sunlight, halting the problem of warming before it arrives on Earth. In previous iterations of the plan, Salter has entertained the idea of using specially built ships that can do this on a large-scale, mobile basis. However, the gravity of the warming situation has prompted him to look at alternatives.
“I don’t think there’s time to do ships for the Arctic now,” Salter said before the Arctic Methane Emergency Group Conference in Westminster.
The previous set-up, as envisioned by Salter, would require constructing infrastructure that currently do not exist and could take years before a prototype can even be launched to sea. By switching from a mobile to a stationary platform, Salter say that few resources would be needed.
“We’d need a bit of land, in clean air and the right distance north.”
When asked about where said facilities would be located, Salter hinted at both the Faroe Islands in the North Sea and the many islands in the Bering Strait. The plan will call for simple towers that pump seawater to the top and release extremely fine droplets. The pumping action will be powered by a renewable form of energy, possibly geothermal if the North Sea location is chosen. Droplet creation would be achieved through technology that is currently being developed at Edinburgh University and spearheaded by Salter himself.
The concept of creating fine mists of water to reflect the sun’s rays back isn’t a new one. In fact, this idea was first pondered by US physicist John Latham. In essence, the tiny droplets allow atmosphere water vapor to condense near each other loosely, forming whiter cloud layers that are much more reflective than the clouds normally seen over many of Earth’s major cities.
The Arctic Ocean is currently undergoing a rapid thaw. In particular, areas typically under ice-cover during the summer seasons have been shrinking at an alarming rate. This has been heralded by scientists as definitive proof of global warming. Furthermore, at the current rate of shrinking, the Arctic is predicted to have ice-free summers by 2015. While the shrinking of the Arctic ice caps is alarming, far more alarming is the issue of methane that is currently trapped under the ice-caps.
In terms of the effect it has on global warming, methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, though its longevity in the atmosphere is far shorter. In fact, scientists have pinpointed the previous extinction cycle to a time of high atmospheric methane levels. If unchecked, increased methane presence in the atmosphere could very well lead to another large-scale extinction era.
Investigative teams have already reported that bubbles containing methane have been emerging from the Arctic regions during summer seasons. The amount is still currently under debate.
While some outlook to the future remain optimistic, pessimism seem to flow with every word from the scientific community.
“With ‘business-as-usual’ greenhouse gas emissions, we might have warming of 9-10 degrees Celsius in the Arctic.” said Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University.
For reference, the total world temperature has not exceeded 5 degrees Celsius over the course of the past twenty years. A 9-10 degree rise in the Arctic will prove catastrophic.
STMicroelectronics, Centro Ricerche Fiat, GD SpA, Pirelli Pneumatics, Pirelli Cavi e Systemic Telecom Italy , Fiat Auto, Ausimont, Sigma Tau, Danieli & C. Officine Meccaniche and the Italian companies that have filed the most patents between 1999 and 2006. Indeed, according to a study by the Center “Unioncamere, these companies have filed over 3000 patent applications at the European Patent Office, ie 11.4% of total patents. (more…)
As every four years, the government published a bill on the organization of research. Approved by parliament in late January, he directs research policy for the next four years. The research budget of Sweden will increase by 1.5 billion Euros over 4 years and a new method of distribution of funding will be implemented: strategic investments.
1. Main features of the Swedish public research
1.1 A focus on universities and based on competition
Almost all research in Sweden is located in the private and public universities. Most research funding is in direct payments to universities, 17 institutions of higher education and research is conducted 1.2 billion euros for research and research training. A series of agencies and foundations to supplement that funding. The total funds allocated by the Ministry of Education and Research for research reached 2 billion Euros for 2009. The total funding will reach 2.8 billion Euros in 2009.
It is in Brno, in early January that Milan Rezac, a researcher at the Research Institute of Agricultural Production in Prague, has announced that it had discovered a new species of poisonous spiders in southern Moravia. The discovery of this species, already recorded in the catalog world of spiders, is unique because most species of spider was discovered in the mid-18th century.
Purdue University has developed a web-site renewable energy in order to inform the general public of the latest technological advances in this field. The site presents the key information and innovations in the field of new clean energy: biofuels (biodiesel, ethanol from corn co-products) wind and solar energy. The website’s goal is to raise awareness and to “educate” the American citizens on the potential of these new energies. This initiative comes from the observation of a growing interest in public opinion for these clean energies. The website was created through an active collaboration between the College of Agriculture at Purdue University and Purdue Discovery Energy Center. (more…)
Parents will soon have the opportunity, in Romania, to sample blood from the umbilical cord after the birth of their baby, and store it in a bank cord blood for future use for the child or family. The company STEM-Unirea Health will provide this service from March 2009 and the ability to store the umbilical cords from May 2009.Stem-Health Unirea is a joint venture of Stem-Health SA and Unirea Medical Center which is a chain of clinics, maternity hospitals and diagnostic centers in Romania. Stem-Health Unirea open in March 2009 the first private bank cord blood in Bucharest. (more…)
Born in 1965 in Paris, Gilles Cuny studied natural science and paleontology at the University Pierre and Marie Curie – Paris 6. After a dissertation on the biological crisis of Triassic-Jurassic boundary edited by Eric Buffetaut, Gilles spent 5 years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bristol in England, where he specialized in study of sharks and their fossil dental histology.
He then taught paleontology for 1 year at the University of Maha Sarakham in Thailand before taking up his duties as curator of collections of vertebrate fossils in the geological museum in Copenhagen in Denmark, ext it still occupies today. (more…)
The electronic identity card will make its appearance in Germany in 2010. It will, stored in a chip, data similar to those currently readable on the identity card classic. Thanks for reading digital data through a cryptographic protocol, it will be possible to identify easily on the Internet, either from the administrative bodies (e-government) or from service: e-commerce, banks online auctions on the Internet. With this new electronic identity card, electronic signature and fingerprints will not be necessary.
A new center for energy research has just been launched at the National University of Ireland Galway in western Ireland. This center will work on new sources of energy generation from micro-organisms, such as improving the performance of wind turbines. Besides research activities, it also perform the functions of education and information for the general public.
The center recently received 5 million euros of public funding to start its activity. Eventually, 20 scientists and technicians should be hired. The center coordinates the activities of a hundred researchers in other laboratories of the university in civil engineering, environment, microbiology, chemistry, molecular electronics. (more…)