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Google I/O 2019 Key Takeaways

Innovation in the Open: Google I/O, an annual developer conference organized by the executive team has a similar format to that of  Google Developer Day. I/O 2019, the annual smorgasbord of all things Android, unveiled the long-awaited highlights of Android Q Beta 3, a Wear OS ‘Tiles’ and Pixel 3a impressions.

Launch of Pixel 3a and 3a XL in response to other brands

Among all the latest additions to Google’s plate, Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL were of biggest interests. In Spite of costing half the price of Google Pixel 3 and 3XL, both the phones have the same camera specifications. Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are featured with 5.6 inches and a 6-inch screen at a price of  $399 / AU$649 and $479 / AU$799 respectively and include Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Google Fi and US Cellular. However, it has a slower chipset and a plastic build yet it stands out to be a great bargain at such a price.

Google claims iPhone X’s low-light mode is a bit lagging. It is a direct response to iPhone XR and Samsung S10e. Designed in shades of black white and purplish, the plastic casing has room for a 3.5 mm headphone jack and the active edge brings up Google Assistant. With battery life quoted at 30 hours, it is going to be among the first devices to offer AR map mode.

Android Q Beta 3 is here

The 10th generation of Android OS, Android Q Beta 3 was launched at Google I/O 2019. It was announced to be available for 21 phones including Pixel, Nokia, OnePlus and more. The Android Q has doubled up its security and privacy features including Maps Incognito mode, reminders for location usage and sharing and TSLV3 encryption for low-end devices.

Google announced that there are over 2.5 billion active Android users around the world. With Android Q now you can watch videos with the sound off and audio instantly turning into the text to be read, the Android Q will also be compatible with foldable devices providing a thrilling experience. This feature works on all videos that have never been manually close-captioned, no internet connection would be required and it shall be completely legible to the eyes. Some other features of the new Android version launched includes ‘Smart reply’ across all messaging apps and ‘Focus Mode’ that switches off apps you choose to avoid distraction.

Long live Nest Hub Max

Google Home Hub is dead. Dropping the Google Home monikers Google is rebranding the device with the Nest name bringing in line with the security systems.
The Nest Hub is featured with a 10-inch large display and wide angle lens security camera, of 127 degrees Nest cam to be exact. The device supports video calls using a wide range of video calling apps. It also has a voice and face match feature, the camera and the mic are physically turned off by a slider that cuts off the electronics for privacy concerns. The Nest Hub can double up as a kitchen TV if you have access to youtube TV plans. Volume in this device can be controlled by freehand gestures.

Google remains a search giant

In I/O 2019, Google has implemented the timeline for new stories. Podcast will be found on search of any story. The special auto-delete also aims at greater privacy. On users choice stories can be automatically deleted after a period of 18 months or 3 months or so.  For any search in Google, 3D model will be available which can be placed in any space desired. With the “Driving Mode” feature, Google can now automatically turn on your location and provide you the map directions for the desired location.

Google lens

It is an increasingly useful application in Google’s app arsenal. On pointing the camera at the receipt it’ll show you tipping info and bill splitting help. A combination of mapping data and image recognition will let Google Lens make recommendations from a restaurant’s menu, just by pointing the camera at it. It also provides details of the food and recipes just by analyzing the menu.

Other Highlights

  • Google Duplex got smarter with ‘Duplex on the web’ feature.
  • Google Stadia, shall be the future of gaming.
  • Google Assistant got 10X faster, understanding the content better simultaneously respecting privacy.
  • I/O 2019 mentioned project ‘Euphoria’ with technologies to give people with speech impairment, there voices back. However, it shall not be rolled out anytime soon.

As a cherry on the cake, the afterparty for Google I/O 2019,was hosted by The Flaming Lips, calling it a wrap.

What were the announcements that you are most excited about?
Were you waiting for some more launches?
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.

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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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