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MeetUp on Building Apps Using Meteor.JS at Mantra Labs

On July 24, 2016, Mantra Labs organized a MeetUp at their Head-office in Bangalore. Mr. Atul Yadav was the lead speaker at the conference. He kicked off the MeetUp with the keynote Meteor and addressed why Meteor is becoming a mainstream framework? And why developers are going Meteor way. The MeetUp was attended by Web and Mobile development experts, who were eager to know why Meteor?

In his power point presentation he highlighted some of the major points that support developers for choosing Meteor.

He said, “Every developer is looking for a common framework that can be used for the web and mobile – to save time and effort. Meteor is one such framework that solves this problem for the developer community”. “At the same time, this also speeds up the development process for the client”, he added.

Why Meteor?

Meteor is the simplest possible app framework, yet fully-powered “gateway drug” into modern JavaScript development. Even if you don’t end up sticking with Meteor, your mind will be opened to new possibilities after spending some time with it.

Meteor has been built on concepts from other frameworks and libraries in a way that makes it easy to prototype applications. Even Angular and React are not as accessible to a wide range of developers as Meteor is, because of a steeper learning curve, and a bit more abstraction that requires more programming skills to use. Meteor on the other hand is easy to learn and quick to build with, as it is flexible and requires less code, which means less bugs and typically a higher quality and more stable end result.

This framework from JavaScript can help you to get a MVP built quickly, and the framework has the ambition to allow developers to scale their apps well beyond MVP-stage. It is establishing itself as a mainstream development technology on the same level as Rails or even vanilla Node.js.

The reasons why Meteor is hottest frameworks for development in today’s time. The 11 major point on Meteor were:

1. Real Time Web Development:
Meteor is a development framework that has got the distinctive feature of real time development.

2. Develop with a Single Language:
With Meteor, the development process is highly simplified with frontend, backend and database all rolled into one language – Javascript. Another benefit of this feature is that it works equally well for the client side as well as the server side.

3. Avail Smart Packages:
Meteor helps you to create users through and accounts system that is highly simplified. The system makes the process highly simplified. You can also use the smart package to do other things like: Writing CoffeeScript apps etc.

4. Large and Helpful Community:
Meteor has a large and helpful community for you to get on with the basics really fast. There is lots of proper documentation of the framework that makes it really useful.

5. Simplified For Developers:
Javascript is devoid of CSS, HTML and Javascript which makes the development process really simple in Meteor.

6. Easy To Learn:
There is enough community support and by just knowing a single development language, one can learn Meteor with ease.

7. Meteor Is The Framework Of The Future:
With features like real time development and ease of use for developers and users, Meteor is certainly the development framework of the future.

8. Meteor Is Easy To Set Up:
One can easily start creating projects in Meteor as soon as it is installed. This makes the process much simpler and faster.

9. Faster Development and Testing of Lean Products:
Start-ups are mostly looking to develop lean products which are quick to develop and can be test marketed equally quickly. Meteor provides suited solution for lean start-ups. They can create smaller product and test market it, in a short span of time.

10. Meteor for Native Mobile Apps:
A developer can build faster native mobile apps with Cordova integration using meteor.

11. Project Scalability:
Scalability is the prime concern of large projects run by enterprises. Meteor is a highly scalable framework and that is what makes it so highly preferred for large scale projects. In addition to that, meter is soon coming up with a hosting service which shall definitely be an add-on for businesses.

Mr Atul wrapped-up the MeetUp with these highlighted points. Over all the MeetUp was successful.
If any queries on Meteor MeetUp, feel free to approach us on hello@mantralabsglobal.com.

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[Interview] Mr. Alex Jimenez | Digital Customer Experience in Covid-19 Times

7 minutes read

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon an unprecedented change in our daily lives and routines. Consumer behavior is changing constantly. Lockdowns and social distancing have led to huge losses for businesses across industries. The world is heading towards an economic slowdown. Under these circumstances, organizations are facing many challenges to keep their businesses going. Insurers too are facing similar issues. Some insurance lines such as motor, travel, home have suffered a business loss due to low demand.

To understand the impact of this crisis, especially in the USA, we interviewed Mr. Alex Jiminez, Strategy Officer at Extractable from California, and learned more about creating better digital customer experiences in these testing times. 

Extractable is a strategic consulting, design, and data analytics agency focused on the future of financial services. His other recent experience includes leading technology strategic planning for the office of the CIO, at Zions Bancorporation, and managing Digital Banking and Payments Strategy and Innovation at Rockland Trust. Alex has been named to several industry influencer lists in the areas of FinTech, RegTech, Blockchain, InsurTech, Innovation, and Digital Marketing. He has been featured in the Irish Tech News and the Independent Community Bankers of America’s (ICBA) Independent Banker.

Connect with Mr. Alex Jimenez – LinkedIn

The excerpt from the interview:

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the financial services industry

What is the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the financial services industry, and how is the industry responding to the ongoing crisis in the US?

In the wake of the current crisis, organizations are more focused on keeping the operation going, trying to set-up work stations for remote working, dealing with customers and working with them over digital platforms. But very few are focusing on the future which is preparing for the after-effects of this pandemic on the economy. 

In-person communication is still an important mode of interaction with customers in the US banking sector. But now the issue is how to provide good services to clients? Some of our customers are going to experience digital models for the first time. 

Organizations that have well-defined Digital Strategies and Customer-First approach will be able to provide good support to their customers. Organizations that are late into this space are more likely to face problems in the future.

[Related: The Impact of Covid-19 on the Global Economy and Insurance]

Changing customer preferences

How can companies reach out to their customers in this New Normal world?

We have already started to move towards a digital-centric world which is just going to accelerate. We will see businesses who have earlier ignored their digital capabilities will now build more on them. 

The first video call was invented in the 60s and was not so appreciated as everybody thought it was expensive and complicated. Today we have FaceTime, Zoom but adoption has not happened on a larger scale. But this will soon accelerate. Customers will be comfortable dialing into a video chat with their Insurance agent. 

I don’t believe there’ll be a New Normal. For example, in the US after 9/11 people thought that life will never get back to normal but except for rigorous security screening at the airports, there hasn’t been much change in the behavior. 

In Israel, amidst all the constant disturbance, people in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are living normal lives. There’ll certainly be some specific changes post the pandemic such as more adoption of digital technologies, more focus on customer needs but I believe there won’t be an entirely new world with a drastic change in consumer behavior.  

The need for personalization

What are some Attention hacking lessons for Insurers operating in ‘the New Normal’?

We are moving towards the personalization of products in general. Generally in Life Insurance, we insure people based on their date of birth or medical history. But what if we insure people based on their behavior? If we did that, would people change their more risky behavior to get a better rate? A non-smoker can be given a better rate as opposed to a smoker. If we get down to individuality, saying that this is your individual (your own) rate; it makes a difference. 

There is a lot of data available and AI is needed to mine that data and derive analytics. Just by building a relationship with customers, we are not doing a great job with personalization. It’s important to apply a human touch to the communication which makes customers feel like you know them. Thus, retaining their attention.

Digital customer experience in Insurance

For the insurance industry, what steps can help in delivering the right digital customer experience in terms of UX and visual design?

A lot of organizations practice Design Thinking but Financial Services don’t. They are of the opinion that they know what is needed as they themselves are customers and they have data from the surveys. But that’s a wrong approach. Design Thinking is about empathy. It is important to get into the shoes of your clients to design better solutions.

To enhance digital customer experience, Insurers need a thorough understanding of users — who are the ultimate clients, their needs, what they expect from this experience, etc. After comprehending how they engage with technology and financial services, start venturing into the solution and test the solutions with actual users.

Innovations in the financial services industry

What technology-based innovations are being explored within the financial services industry? And, do you see AI playing a role in the short term? 

AI has already affected Financial Services in a positive way and will make it better. In insurance, IoT has been very impactful and will continue to be. Some applications have already been applied in reality like sensors in cars to detect speed and ensure that you are under the speed limit. This helps in getting reduced premiums. 

However, some basic processes are still done in the old school way of shuffling papers. Straight though-out processes have not yet happened. Now RPA is being applied to this but it is more like a band-aid. What is more important is how we can build processes through true automation with AI.

[Related: 5 Insurance Front Office Operations AI Can Improve]

Adoption of AI in Insurance

Speaking about more adoption of technologies, do you think there’ll be more investment in AI now?

Absolutely! We have already seen that investment in technologies like AI, cloud computing, quantum computing has been ramping up. Businesses will invest much more in AI than before. It might be for better decision making, underwriting, understanding the behavior of clients, etc. Also, from a marketing standpoint, financial services have never focused much before but will now invest in AI for this area too.

[Related: How is AI extending customer support during COVID-19 pandemic]

In your recent article in Extractable – “Deploying third-party financial service technology to mitigate crisis” you talk about what tech vendors are doing wrong. Please expand on how to encourage resources to be innovative change agents?

There were two points that I made in the article-

First is about what companies are doing incorrectly when it comes to innovation. Risk management is consulted only after developing the product. The product release is stalled until the legal compliances are adhered to. Instead, companies should involve the risk management at the beginning of the process (while defining the problem and solution). Involving risk management at every step of the innovation process will make it much easier to push out innovation.

The second was about vendor management. Many small vendors such as tech vendors, InsurTechs want to sell solutions to financial service companies but are often surprised by the tedious vendor management process. There’s a lot of documentation. Once the first process of selling is done, vendors should package the documentation in a way that when the next prospect asks for it, the due diligence package is ready to offer. 

Read article – Deploying third-party financial service technology to mitigate crisis 

Wrapping up

Alex shared interesting insights on how Design Thinking and Visual Design can create better digital customer experience. The design vertical at Mantra Labs too believes in the same and has designed UX for various applications for its customers. Here’s an article to understand the role of Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX): Creating Amazing Digital Customer Experiences

[Also read: [Interview] Mr. Andrew Warburton | The New Normal in Insurance]

AI is going to be essential for Insurers to gain that competitive edge in the post-pandemic world. Check out Hitee — an Insurance specific chatbot for driving customer engagement. For your specific requirements, please feel free to write to us at hello@mantralabsglobal.com. 

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