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Facebook F8 Takeaways – The Future is Private

F8, what was an 8- hour hackathon is now Facebook’s annual 2-day conference for developers, creators and entrepreneurs all around the world.

Conducted in McEnergy Convention Center in San Jose, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed his vision of building a privacy-focused social platform “as a product”  as he debuted the newest version of the company’s core app.

Digital Equivalent of a Living Room:

With the expansion of the digital world, Privacy fills the vacuum with a unique sense of purpose — giving us the power to be ourselves. F8 spent much time discussing privacy upgrades and improvements to social impact from the client side. The problem area of concern being security, algorithm fairness, privacy, misinformation, inclusion safety and care, accessibility, election integrity and content policy.

“For the last 15 years or so, we have focused on building Facebook and Instagram into the digital equivalent of town squares. But I believe that the future is private and over time, a private social platform will be even more important in our lives than digital town squares. So today, we’re going to start talking about what this could look like as a product”, said Zuckerberg which worked to set the tone for the rest of the conference. The core techs being implemented to resolve the problem area for every product team are computer vision, natural language processing, encryption, data framework, speech recognition, text-to-speech, liability tools, AI infrastructure, OCR and embedding.

Zuckerberg aims to change their business trajectory to win back the trust of the users by focusing their vision on 6 privacy principles for every one of their digital platforms.

  • Private Interactions
  • Encryption
  • Reduced Permanence
  • Safety
  • Interoperability
  • Secure data storage

“This isn’t just about building features,” Zuckerberg said. “We need to change a lot of ways we run this company.”

Privacy First Approach:

Initially designed as an alternative to the then social-media-champion, MySpace; Facebook’s design, flexibility and the key focus on amplifying social connections and distribution of public information, rocketed to become the social media sovereign within a span of 5 years.

In early 2018, plagued by public data breaches and scandals, the social media giant was under heavy scrutiny for its management of user data. Zuckerberg didn’t dodge the issue at F8.
“I know we don’t have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, but I’m committed to doing this well and starting a new chapter for our products.” He meant it as a joke that wasn’t.
Instead of what Facebook is, F8 was about what Facebook wants to be.

The first thing to have been rolled out in the conference is FB5 with its big redesign making it lighter, faster and cleaner.De-emphasising its news feed and prioritizing groups and events. “Friends” are  no longer the centre of the experience. With the launch focus has been made to build a community and make “communities as central as friends”.

The Facebook Messenger also got an overhaul for its upcoming LightSpeed with a rebuilt architecture making it 2x faster, 7x smaller, simpler, more reliable and more secure. With the last year messenger launch M4, it was the first step towards the vision.
“People’s communication styles are migrating toward messaging way faster than anyone thought,” said Stan Chudnovsky, head of Messenger. “And people want to communicate with businesses the same way.” With messages being end-to-end encrypted, the messenger is now the fastest and most secure messaging platform.
For business, an automated system has been created that allows customers to book an appointment through messenger.

The all-new desktop app has some new features for business users. It also allows its users to host group video calls and collaborate on projects. The AI smart camera is using the “pose detection” tech to give a hasslefree and even more life like experience.

Instagram updates basically focused on giving the users the ability to shop directly from the makers and “Support the people who make”, and raise funds within the app.
Instagram is also testing hiding the total number of likes a post receives to bring back the focus on connection than posting for likes.
Stories now don’t have to start with the camera anymore. Users can now get more creative with their stories. They can now raise money for charitable causes with a new donation sticker on their stories.

Finally, the Instagram camera will be updated with the “create mode” allowing to post effects and interactive stickers without having to take a photo or record a video.

Whatsapp updates deliver a private and intimate experience with end-to-end encryption. It now allows users to send their location privately with their friends and families. The company rolled out a product catalogue feature for small WhatsApp businesses and payment process that is being tested in India.

Zuckerberg left the audience with one final notion:
“This is about building the kind of future we want to live in. To build a world where we can be ourselves and live freely and know that our private moments are only going to be seen by the people they want, where we can come together around community and commerce, where we build in the tools that we need to keep us safe from the beginning and prevent harm and we then are able to focus on all the good people are able to do. Both in private and in public, both the living room and the town squares.”

How do you think Facebook’s new direction would affect the users?  We’re hoping to see some more updates?
Let us know by commenting.
To know us in person, drop a Hi at hello@mantralabsglobal.com


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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.

Chart, line chart

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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.

Chart, sunburst 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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