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Does Smart Contracts Work for India Inc.?

The concept of ‘smart contract’ was introduced by Nick Szabo, an American cryptographer and computer scientist in 1994. But, only after blockchain became widespread in 2008, people understood practical applications of smart contracts. 

A smart contract is a computer protocol (set of rules) that digitally facilitates, verifies, and enforces the negotiations between two parties. It uses a distributed ledger system (blockchain) to store data on public databases and perform transactions without involving third parties. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the legal aspects of smart contracts in India. Before we do, here is a brief insight into how smart contracts work.

How Are Smart Contracts Executed?

The smart contract is a blockchain-based computer code. The contract terms are written in the code itself. Smart contracts interpret and verify every transaction against the terms and automatically executes them.

The key features of smart contracts are-

  1. Once the smart contract is released, no one including the creator (owner) can modify its terms.
  2. Physical documents are not required to initiate and complete the transaction.
  3. Although users can remain anonymous, the smart contract records the transaction details.
  4. Moderators can track market activity, but cannot regulate the transactions.
  5. Smart contract transactions are irreversible.

Smart Contract Real Estate Use Case: Propy

For instance, Propy is a smart contract-based cross-continental marketplace for buying and selling properties. It allows owners and brokers to list their properties and allows sellers to search and negotiate irrespective of location. The deal is closed through online transactions and each deed is recorded in the blockchain.

  

Viability of Smart Contracts in India?

Indian jurisdiction does not allow its financial institution to undertake bitcoin transactions. Since bitcoins demonstrate peer-to-peer transactional network, the fact that it is forbidden questions the viability of “Smart Contract” in India.

However, section 10 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 states – “All agreements are contracts if they are made by the free consent of parties competent to contract, for a lawful consideration and with a lawful object, and are not hereby expressly declared to be void.” 

Therefore, legally, two parties can sign a contract with or without third party involvement. By definition, the Indian Contract Act 1872 allows Smart Contracts.

Also, sections 5 and 10 of the Indian Information Technology Act, 2000 legally recognize digital signatures and considers a contract formed through electronic means as valid and enforceable. 

Despite Indian law allowing for digital contracts, Ponzi schemes facilitated by blockchain questions the viability of technology to safeguard people’s interests. Amit Bhardwaj’s $300 Mn cryptocurrency fraud calls for a strict ordinance for peer-to-peer contracts.

Since Smart Contracts do not involve a regulatory third party, fraud-control is a real concern. But, according to section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 digitally signed contracts are admissible in a court of law. Therefore, the government can intervene to resolve the disputes between participants. Also, sections 17, 18, and 19 of the Indian IT Act, 2000 allows supervision from national and foreign governing authorities.

Drop us a ‘hi’ at hello@mantralabsglobal.com to learn more about building industry-specific smart contracts and products.

Smart Contracts Insurance Use Case: Fizzy

AXA’s Fizzy is a smart contract-based travel insurance scheme for flight delays and cancellations. It ensures transparency as the claims displayed on the website are stored in a blockchain and no one can change the terms after purchase. 

User can buy the insurance online. When the flight is delayed or canceled, the public databases of plane status information automatically triggers the insurance holder’s compensation. The event confirmation executes and closes the claim process instantly.

Are There Business Benefits From Smart Contracts?

Almost all businesses (viz. Insurance, automobile, healthcare, supply chain, real estate, education, etc.) can benefit from smart contract development.

Transparency and data immutability are the competitive advantages that Smart Contracts bring to users on a global scale. With accurate record-keeping, companies can overcome fraud and business inconsistencies. Especially pay-per-use and micro-transactions can save paperwork and costs associated. For instance, insurers can manage micro insurances better through smart contracts than traditional models.

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Enhancing digital patient experience with healthcare chatbots

5 minutes read

Chatbots are fast emerging at the forefront of user engagement across industries. In 2021, healthcare is undoubtedly being touted as one of the most important industries due to the noticeable surge in demand amid the pandemic and its subsequent waves. The Global Healthcare Chatbots Market is expected to exceed over US$ 314.63 Million by 2024 at a CAGR of 20.58%.

Chatbots are being seen as those with high potential to revolutionize healthcare. They act as the perfect support system to agents on the floor by providing the first-step resolution to the customer, in terms of understanding intent and need, boost efficiency, and also improve the accuracy of symptom detection and ailment identification, preventive care, feedback procedures, claim filing and processing and more.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital tools in healthcare, most commonly chatbots, rose to the forefront of healthcare solutions. Providence St. Joseph Health, Mass General Brigham, Care Health Insurance (formerly Religare), and several other notable names built and rolled out artificial intelligence-based chatbots to help with diagnostics at the first stage before a human-human virtual contact, especially while differentiating between possible COVID-19 cases and other ailments. The CDC also hosts an AI-driven chatbot on its website to help screen for coronavirus infections. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) partnered with a messaging app named Ratuken Viber, to develop an interactive chatbot for accurate information about COVID-19 in multiple languages. This allowed WHO to reach up to 1 billion people located anywhere in the world, at any time of the day, in their respective native languages.

For Care Health Insurance, Mantra Labs deployed their Conversational AI Chatbot with AR-based virtual support, called Hitee, trained to converse in multiple languages. This led to 10X interactions over the previous basic chatbot; 5X more conversions through Vanilla Web Experience; Drop-in Customer Queries over Voice Support by 20% among other benefits.

Artificial Intelligence’s role in the healthcare industry has been growing strength by strength over the years. According to the global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, AI spending in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries is expected to increase from $463 million in 2019 to more than $2 billion over the next 5 years, healthtechmagazine.net has reported. 

Speaking of key features available on a healthcare chatbot, Anonymity; Monitoring; Personalization; collecting Physical vitals (including oxygenation, heart rhythm, body temperature) via mobile sensors; monitoring patient behavior via facial recognition; Real-time interaction; and Scalability, feature top of the list. 

However, while covering the wide gamut of a healthcare bot’s capabilities, it is trained on the following factors to come in handy on a business or human-need basis. Read on: 

Remote, Virtual Consults 

Chatbots were seen surging exponentially in the year 2016, however, the year 2020 and onwards brought back the possibility of adding on to healthcare bot capabilities as people continued to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Chatbots work as the frontline customer support for Quick Symptom Assessment where the intent is understood and a patient’s queries are answered, including connection with an agent for follow-up service, Booking an Appointment with doctors, and more. 

Mental Health Therapy

Even though anxiety, depression, and other mental health-related disorders and their subsequent awareness have been the talk around the world, even before the pandemic hit, the pandemic year, once again could be attributed to increased use of bots to seek support or a conversation to work through their anxiety and more amid trying times. The popular apps, Woebot and Wysa, both gained popularity and recognition during the previous months as a go-to Wellness Advisor. 

An AI Wellness Advisor can also take the form of a chatbot that sends regular reminders on meal and water consumption timings, nutrition charts including requisite consultation with nutritionists, lifestyle advice, and more. 

Patient Health Monitoring via wearables 

Wearable technologies like wearable heart monitors, Bluetooth-enabled scales, glucose monitors, skin patches, shoes, belts, or maternity care trackers promise to redefine assessment of health behaviors in a non-invasive manner and helps acquire, transmit, process, and store patient data, thereby making it a breeze for clinicians to retrieve it as and when they need it.

Remote patient monitoring devices also enable patients to share updates on their vitals and their environment from the convenience and comfort of home, a feature that’s gained higher popularity amid the pandemic.

A healthcare chatbot for healthcare has the capability to check existing insurance coverage, help file claims and track the status of claims. 

What’s in store for the future of chatbots in Healthcare? 

The three main areas where healthcare chatbots can be particularly useful include timely health diagnostics, patient engagement outside medical facilities, and mental health care. 

According to Gartner, conversational AI will supersede cloud and mobile as the most important imperative for the next ten years. 

“For AI to succeed in healthcare over the long-term, consumer comfort and confidence should be front and center. Leveraging AI behind the scenes or in supporting roles could collectively ease us into understanding its value without risking alienation,” reads a May 2021 Forbes article titled, The Doctor Is In: Three Predictions For The Future Of AI In Healthcare. 

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