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Google I/O 2016 Day 1- Review

The Google I/O 2016 is done for the year. We knew Google I/O 2016 would be hot, but this hot? The conference has been on fire since the keynote kicked off on Wednesday morning, and shows no signs of cooling down.

The Google I/O 2016 was mix of unexpected and expected announcements. There were a ton of cool announcements nestled inside of it that will hit market in soon future. The 8 major highlights of the Google’s I/O 2016 were:

Google Assistant, Google Home, Allo app, Duo apps, Android N, Google Daydream, Android Wear 2.0, Android Instant Apps, Firebase, Studio 2.2

From Android N, to the just-debuted Google Home, we’ve tried to put together the biggest moments from today’s keynotes:

Android N, Google Daydream, Android Wear 2.0, Google Home and the new Allo and Duo apps were the stars of the opening keynote, which were followed by other announcements which got atmosphere even hotter.

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  1. Google Assistant:
    The first major reveal of I/O 2016 was Google Assistant, a new personal AI for users. It lets users ask queries as much as they would do in the search engine, but in a Siri-like set-up. Google Assistant is the natural extension of search, supporting “conversational understanding” to make search more natural and to better support voice searches.

You can ask for Pablo Picasso’s first name, sports scores and to play a song you’ve had stuck in your head for all day.google-assistant-100661757-large

  1. Google Home:
    Just where Google Assistant ended, it was taken by Google Home, of course.

Pichai gave a shout out to Amazon Echo in announcing the new device, which is a white-and-gray Wi-Fi speaker that helps you handle everyday tasks. It plays music and lets you control smart home devices, including Nest products.

The Google Home speaker will be released later this year, and it will service as a portal into the Google Assistant experience. It will also let you control connected devices within the home, and you’ll be able to cast content with the speaker as well. Say “play Fast and Furious on my TV” and the movie will appear on your screen.

The entire experience is hands-free, powered entirely by voice. In fact, it doesn’t even have any buttons. Simple voice commands will control every aspect of the Home, as is the case with the Amazon Echo. Home even integrates with third-party services, allowing you to do things like call an Uber car or book a restaurant reservation using OpenTable.

You can, of course, ask Google Home anything you want to know, like you do in Google search.

Search is built in, drawing on 17 years of innovation to “answers questions that are difficult for other assistants to handle.”google-home-1024x513

  1. Google Allo:
    Meet Google’s new messaging app, Allo.

Google has fallen way behind top rivals like Facebook in the messaging space. Allo is the company’s new offering that includes a number of features Google hopes will help set its new app apart.

For example, the app has a whisper/shout feature that changes the size of the text you send using a slider to help communicate volume. Want to “yell” something? This feature lets you enlarge the text instead of using caps. Feel like “whispering” instead? Shrink text down with the same slider.

Another cool feature is smart replies, which create canned responses that evolve over time based on your conversations. Smart replies are even generated in response to photos thanks to Google’s photo analysis capabilities.

Also included, of course, is bot support. From right within the app, users can interact with a wide range of bots. For example, an OpenTable bot will allow users to choose a restaurant and book a reservation without ever leaving an Allo chat. And of course, there’s also a Google Assistant search bot. Want to search for a cute cat GIF from within a chat? No problem.

Lastly, Allo includes an incognito mode. All Allo chats are encrypted but incognito mode offers end-to-end encryption and an option to send messages that self-destruct. Additionally, once you close a chat, the entire conversation is deleted forever.

The app launches this summer on Android and iOS.Allo App

  1. Duo App:
    Then came the announcement of Duo, a simple one-to-one video calling app for everyone.

Duo is the video companion to Allo, and includes a feature called Knock-Knock that lets you see a stream of whomever is calling you before you answer. That way, Google says, you can see who’s calling you and what they’re doing before you start a conversation.

Duo also switches seamlessly between cellular and Wi-Fi connections, and it manages video and audio in real-time to adjust quality on the fly when available bandwidth increases or decreases.

Duo will be available later this summer for iOS and Android.google-duo-video-chat-8011

  1. Android N:
    Google’s next major mobile software release is Android N, and it’s going to be a huge update when it’s released later this year.

Still not decided on the name, calling it Android N, the new Android OS has improved graphics, reduced battery consumption and storage and security enhancements.

It is more secure than before with media framework hardening, file based encryption and seamless updates. Users can now quick switch to the previous app by double tapping the recent button in Android N. Multi-window mode comes to Android N, too. Split screen along with picture in picture modes are available.

Vulcan is the software that powers these improvements on the graphics side, while a series of software optimizations boost performance elsewhere.

Most impressively perhaps, Android N will download and install system updates automatically.

Moving on to the app switcher screen, Android will automatically remove apps from the UI when it determines the app is no longer needed. This way, the app switcher UI is decluttered and it’s easier to find the app you’re looking for. There’s also a new quick switch function accessed by double-tapping the recent button on a phone or tablet.

N’s window management framework has also been redesigned to support both split-screen apps (side by side) and picture in picture (a small windows in the corner of the screen). The former will work across phones and tablets while the latter is for Android TV only.

Where notifications are concerned, Android N has a new direct reply feature that lets users reply to messages right from the notification. Unicode 9 emoji will also be supported in Android N, complete with support for all skin tones.

Android N will be released to the public later this summer, but a beta has already been pushed out. Check out more details on our Blog “Android N- Developers Review”.android-n-update-hero-970-80

  1. Google DayDream:
    Google then announced Daydream, a new VR platform built on Android N that will arrive this autumn. Similar to the home view you find inside of Oculus Rift, Daydream is an all-in-one experience that brings games, apps, movies and even the Google Play Store in its entirety into a VR headset.

There was no Android VR headset to show off, though Google has come up with a reference design for other manufacturers to build off. It also displayed a small, Wii-like controller that provides motion control.

Several Daydream-ready devices will be launching this year from the likes of Samsung, HTC and other popular manufacturers.

Virtual reality is a huge component of Android N, and the new VR platform is what Google call Google Daydream.screen-shot-2016-05-19-at-9-33-44-am-png

  1. Android Wear 2.0:
    The next major announcement was Android Wear 2.0. Developers can download a preview of it starting today, and it will come to all users in the fall.

Some improvements include the ability to show any app data on any watch face, improved handwriting recognition, and a big update for Google Fitness. Even better news for fitness fans is Google will now allow apps to talk to one another – so if you bring in calories in your nutrition app, you can offset that with your running app.

In other words, apps no longer need a connected smartphone in order to function. With a phone completely powered off or even left behind, apps can function and even communicate without a phone, as long as the wearable device is connected to the internet via cellular or Wi-Fi.bb275e40f42852dccfa8ce310f1d55240990e1ed

  1. Instant Android Apps:
    The I/O 2016 was steaming atmosphere with every announcement.

Google announced Instant Android Apps, which lets you instantly access an app without needing to download it.

Android Instant Apps takes Google’s concept of Accelerated Mobile Pages, which loads webpages near-instantly, to Android apps. Users will no longer need to download an app in order to use its features.
With Android Instant Apps, users will be able to run any app with one tap, no installation needed.

It is Google’s answer to the pain of installing phone apps you know you’ll use just once or twice, like for shopping. With this approach, the app runs on Google’s servers instead of your phone. It also has compatibility all the way back to Jellybean OS.

It’s only in preview as Google says it will take a lot of time to get right, but it holds exciting possibilities.Google-Android-Instant-Apps-03

The Google had something in store for developers as well:

  1. Firebase
    Google launched an expansion of Firebase at IO 2016.Going beyond a mobile backend, the platform helps developers quickly build high-quality apps, grow their user base, and earn more money across iOS, Android and the mobile web.firebase_cloud
  1. Studio 2.2
    Google launched Android Studio 2.2 preview, the latest version of its integrated development environment (IDE). It has a new layout designer and a firebase plugin adding services like Analytics, Authentication, Notifications, and AdMob.Studio 2.2 will be better for developers who are aiming emerging.The first day of the Google I/O 2016 was full of future tech realities, from Android N, to the just-debuted Google Home. They had some or the other thing stored for everyone from user to developers. android-studio-2-2

The 2nd day expectations are also high. For updates of 2nd day stay with Mantra Labs.

If any queries approach us on 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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