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Google I/O 2018, Day 1: Key focus on Android and AI

The first day of the Google I/O 2018 consisted over 5,000 developers, designers, and managers gathered at Shoreline, Amphitheatre to witness the opening day with a keynote by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

 Let’s dive into the key announcements that were made!

Google I/O: Android P

Google launched Android P, the latest version of the operating system that runs on Android devices. The Android P beta is available for certain devices such as the Essential Phone, Google Pixel 2, Nokia 7 plus, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S. Users of these devices can update to Android P beta immediately. There are a bunch of features that Google added to Android P.

  • Shush: This feature ensures that there are no notifications coming in from your apps when your phone is turned face down.
  • App Dashboard: This is a dashboard that shows how much time you spend on your apps each day. This allows you to know which apps you spend so much time on.
  • App Timer: With the app timer, you’d get a notification when you spend more than the allocated time specified for engaging with an app.
  • Slices and Actions: A slice is a piece of app content and action that can be surfaced outside of the app without opening the app itself. They are UI templates that can display rich and interactive content from your app within the Google Search app.

Google I/O: AI in Google

Google AI

Google has worked hard over the last few years on improving every aspect of their products with AI and Machine Learning. This year they made some key announcements about new products and also the existing products that are improved with AI. Google announced that its research division has been rebranded to Google AI. This rebranding came as a result of Google’s continued focus on Computer vision, Natural language processing, and neural networks.

Google Assistant

The Google Assistant has been greatly improved. It will be available in 6 new voices including the voice of popular musician, John Legend. Furthermore, Google announced a new technology called Duplex, it is an AI system for natural conversations that’ll enable your Google Assistant to make conversations on your behalf like a lunch reservation at a restaurant, and setting up a meeting. 

Until now every time we need the Google Assistant to do something, we usually start every conversation with Hey, Google! Now, we don’t have to do that anymore because the Google Assistant now has support for continued conversations. Google Assistant also has a new feature called Pretty Please. This feature was added to help train kids to avoid being commanding when asking for favors. With the new Pretty Please feature, kids can be taught to always make polite requests.

Google Lens

The Google Lens is also updated with some amazing new features. Now, Google Lens allows you copy-paste text from a photo in the real world to your phone. It also provides the ability to take a photo and instantly provide information about the objects and landmarks in the photo. Google Lens introduced Style Match. With Style Match, you could take a photo of a fashion item such as a shirt, blouse, shoe, or a fancy lamp. Once captured, a blue dot appears on the photo. Tap the dot, and Google Lens will provide lists of items similar to it. What a time to be alive!

Google Maps

Google announced better navigation for Google Maps aided by AI. The Google Maps was difficult for users that are not familiar with the North, South, West, East form of directions. The new Google Maps provides a street view with a very obvious direction sign. With Google Assistant in navigation in Google Maps, it provides users a better description of routes. It also adds a navigation animal that allows the map user quickly identify the route to take.

Google News

Google is keen on getting users a seamless way of catching up with news all over the world. Google is rolling out a new AI improved version of the Google News product that provides an great way to catch up with events around the world. This improved product replaces Google Play Newsstand and Google News app. It will be available on Android, iOS and the web in 127 countries by next week.

Stay tuned for more updated from Google I/O 2018!!


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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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