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How blockchain is disrupting businesses?

Do you mostly buy from your ‘favourite’ local store? What if all the outlets of your favourite store knew your shopping habits and preferences? Provided your data is kept secure along the transaction chain, are the promise of hyper-personalization and ultra-high convenience worth the trade-off? 

Thankfully, this isn’t hypothetical. Companies using blockchain or distributed ledger technology are able to track records easily on a global scale. Not only in retail, but almost every industry is applying blockchain to simplify its processes and offer personalized solutions to its customers. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what makes blockchain a compelling technology and its continuing adoption across industries.

Why are Companies Using Blockchain?

Blockchains are encrypted, growing lists of records. It records every single transaction with a time-stamp. No one, including the owner, can modify the ledgers (or records) in a blockchain. 

Blockchain Features

The following features make the blockchain technology a perfect fit for transactional record-keeping in different industries.

  1. Distributed: Blockchain is a decentralized technology, i.e. there’s no authority looking after the framework and operations. The data is accessible to all participants in the network.
  2. Immutable: One of the key advantages of blockchain over any other technology is unchangeability. Post-transaction, no one including the creator can modify the records. 
  3. Robust: Traditional communication channels involve many indirections. For example, a bank executes transactions in its centralized database. Then the bank sends the corresponding email/SMS to the user about the transaction. Blockchain is a decentralized technology i.e. users have direct access to the transaction settlements. Companies using blockchain are more robust towards internal and client services.
  4. Encrypted: Encryption is core to the security in blockchain technology. It means only the authorized users and participants can access the information. It also secures the identity of the participants. Ciphertexts (encrypted data, which is meaningless to external users) protects the information from intruders.
  5. Consensus: The consensus algorithms are core to the blockchain architecture. The consensus is a decision-making process for a group of active nodes (participants). Participants agree to the decision made by the algorithm.
  6. Tracking: It is easier to track transactions in a blockchain. The technology records every transaction with a time-stamp thus preventing corruption. 

The finance industry was an early adopter of blockchain technology. In fact, the credit for the popularity of this technology goes to ‘bitcoins’, which are completely digital financial transactions.

Blockchain Adoption Across Industries

Here’s an overview of how industries using blockchain are enhancing the operations.

Use of Blockchain in Supply Chain and Logistics

E-commerce is certainly giving a boost to the supply chain and logistics industry. But, are traditional record-keeping compatible with the growing demands? Because, today, to deliver a product from point A to point B might include multiple geographies and involve multiple entities, invoices, payments, and extend over months. However, tracking shipments and business transparency is one of the key challenges that the supply chain industry struggles with. Companies using blockchain in the supply chain domain can benefit in the following ways-

  • Payments and fund transfers are fast and simple for stakeholders at the international level.
  • It’s possible to keep a track record for the product from its source of origin to end-users. For example, Walmart uses blockchain to track pork it sources from China. It records where each piece of meat came from, processed, stored, its sell-by-date, and the buyer.
  • Since every participant can collaborate and share records, blockchain ensures transparency in information sharing.

Blockchain in Financial Services

Statista expects that the global blockchain technology market will reach $23.3 bn by 2023. It also suggests that the financial sector will cover more than 60% of investments in this technology.

Financial services can harness blockchain for robust cross-border payments and processing, P2P payments, micropayments, and currency exchange. Investors, day traders, and market makers can also deploy blockchain for clearing and settlement in almost real-time.

Blockchain in Travel

Travel is one of the fastest-growing aspects of the global economy. Both customers and travel & tourism service providers can harness blockchain applications. Customers need not hassle with forex and can access in-depth travel-related information of the destination.

Travel businesses can bring transparency in flight and hotel bookings. For instance, for flight and hotel for a customer, a travel agency needs to share information to the customer and different firms. Blockchain can reduce manual dependencies by sharing relevant information to different stakeholders instantly. 

In the list of travel companies using blockchain, Winding Tree is a leading name. It is a decentralized travel ecosystem startup that connects travellers to service providers like airlines, hotels, and tour guides directly. By eliminating the third-party fees associated, it reduces travel overheads. Blockchain’s LIF tokens, Smart Contracts, and ERC827 protocol are at the core of Winding Tree’s travel technology.

Blockchain in Insurance

The insurance industry often struggles with double-booking, counterfeiting, and premium diversions through unlicensed brokers. Distributed ledger technology in insurance can help to minimize the instances of fraudulent activities. 

Smart contracts, insurance claims automation, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for underwriting, and shared databases to simplify insurance can bring transparency in the insurance industry.

Read more about how distributed ledgers (blockchain) can accelerate insurance workflows.

Blockchain Benefits in Healthcare

The traditional healthcare record-keeping is cumbersome and the surgeon might lose important remarks, allergies, etc. while going through manual files and folders. Blockchain can track one’s medical history since birth. Also, every minute detail of diagnosis would be available to the medical professionals, even if the patient loses the prescriptions and reports.  

WHO reports that developing nations produce about 10%-30% of the counterfeit drugs. Moreover, the counterfeit drug market hit $200 billion worth in 2018. Blockchain can track the drug right from sourcing the raw materials to manufacturing and distribution, reducing the instances of this critical challenge of counterfeiting.

Concluding Remarks

The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts- investment in blockchain solutions will reach $11.7 billion in 2022 from $552 million during 2018. The blockchain trends that different industries will witness include-

  1. Blockchain as a Service (BaaS)
  2. Favourable regulations around the world towards blockchain
  3. Consumer-centric digital assets
  4. Additional security layers
  5. Use of blockchain technology for better user experiences (UX).

Building blockchain systems are transforming the transaction value chain across industries. Talk to our experts to learn how blockchain is shaping the future of digital enterprises. Drop us a word at hello@mantralabsglobal.com

Contributing Authors: Nidhi Agrawal (Content Writer @Mantra Labs)

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Retention playbook for Insurance firms in the backdrop of financial crises

4 minutes read

Belonging to one of the oldest industries in the world, Insurance companies have weathered multiple calamities over the years and have proven themselves to be resilient entities that can truly stand the test of time. Today, however, the industry faces some of its toughest trials yet. Technology has fundamentally changed what it means to be an insurer and the cumulative effects of the pandemic coupled with a weak global economic output have impacted the industry in ways both good and bad.

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Source: Deloitte Services LP Economic Analysis

For instance, the U.S market recorded a sharp dip in GDP in the wake of the pandemic and it was expected that the economy would bounce back bringing with it a resurgent demand for all products (including insurance) across the board. It must be noted that the outlook toward insurance products changed as a result of the pandemic. Life insurance products were no longer an afterthought, although profitability in this segment declined over the years. Property-and-Casualty (P&C) insurance, especially motor insurance, continued to be a strong driver, while health insurance proved to be the fastest-growing segment with robust demand from different geographies

Simultaneously, the insurance industry finds itself on the cusp of an industry-wide shift as technology is starting to play a greater role in core operations. In particular, technologies such as AI, AR, and VR are being deployed extensively to retain customers amidst this technological and economic upheaval.

Double down on digital

For insurance firms, IT budgets were almost exclusively dedicated to maintaining legacy systems, but with the rise of InsurTech, it is imperative that firms start dedicating more of their budgets towards developing advanced capabilities such as predictive analytics, AI-driven offerings, etc. Insurance has long been an industry that makes extensive use of complex statistical and mathematical models to guide pricing and product development strategies. By incorporating the latest technological advances with the rich data they have accumulated over the years, insurance firms are poised to emerge stronger and more competitive than ever.

Using AI to curate a bespoke customer experience

Insurance has always been a low-margin affair and success in the business is primarily a function of selling the right products to the right people and reducing churn as much as possible. This is particularly important as customer retention is normally conceived as an afterthought in most industries, as evidenced in the following chart.

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        Source: econconusltancy.com

AI-powered tools (even with narrow capabilities) can do wonders for the insurance industry at large. When architected in the right manner, they can be used to automate a bulk of the standardized and automated processes that insurance companies have. AI can be used to automate and accelerate claims, assess homeowner policies via drones, and facilitate richer customer experiences through sophisticated chatbots. Such advances have a domino effect of increasing CSAT scores, boosting retention rates, reducing CACs, and ultimately improving profitability by as much as 95%.

Crafting immersive products through AR/VR

Customer retention is largely a function of how good a product is, and how effective it is in solving the customers’ pain points. In the face of increasing commodification, insurance companies that go the extra mile to make the buying process more immersive and engaging can gain a definite edge over competitors.

Globally, companies are flocking to implement AR/VR into their customer engagement strategies as it allows them to better several aspects of the customer journey in one fell swoop. Relationship building, product visualization, and highly personalized products are some of the benefits that AR/VR confers to its wielders.  

By honoring the customer sentiments of today and applying a slick AR/VR-powered veneer over its existing product layer, insurance companies can cater to a younger audience (Gen Z) by educating them about insurance products and tailoring digital delivery experiences. This could pay off in the long run by building a large customer base that could be retained and served for a much longer period.

The way forward

The Insurance industry is undergoing a shift of tectonic proportions as an older generation makes way for a new and younger one that has little to no perceptions about the industry. By investing in next-generation technologies such as AR/VR, firms can build new products to capture this new market and catapult themselves to leadership positions simply by way of keeping up with the times.

We have already seen how AR is a potential game-changer for the insurance industry. It is only a matter of time before it becomes commonplace.

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