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Machine Learning coming at you

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Deloitte Global forecasts major strides in machine learning for the enterprise, a worldwide appetite for digital subscriptions among consumers, and ongoing smartphone dominance.

Among the findings pertaining to the enterprise, this year’s report indicates that business organisations will likely double their use of machine learning technology by the end of 2018. TMT Predictions highlights five key areas that Deloitte Global believes will unlock more intensive use of machine learning in the enterprise by making it easier, cheaper and faster.

The most important key area is the growth in new semiconductor chips that will increase the use of machine learning, enabling applications to use less power, and at the same time become more responsive, flexible and capable.

“We have reached the tipping point where adoption of machine learning in the enterprise is poised to accelerate,” said Mark Casey, Deloitte Global Media & Entertainment & TMT Africa Leader.

Live content in an online world and digital media worth paying for

TMT Predictions includes a number of consumer forecasts as well. Deloitte Global predicts that live broadcast and events will generate over $545 billion in direct revenues in 2018. Despite consumers’ capability to consume content on demand or attend events remotely, live consumption is thriving. And in many cases, live content’s performance has been made more productive and profitable by digital.

Indicating an increasing willingness from consumers to pay for digital content, Deloitte Global also predicts that by the end of 2018, 50 percent of adults in developed countries will have at least two online-only media subscriptions, and by the end of 2020, the average will have doubled to four.

“Digital’s rise has augmented not dented the public’s appetite for media, which in 2018 will likely include over half a trillion dollars’ worth of all forms of live content,” said Casey.

The future of the smartphone

Smartphone adoption continues to grow. By the end of 2023, more than 90 percent of adults in developed countries are expected to have a smartphone, with ownership among 55-75 year-olds reaching 85 percent. And Deloitte Global predicts that owners will interact with their phones on average 65 times per day in 2023, a 20 percent increase on 2018.

At the same time, Deloitte Global predicts 45 percent of global adult smartphone users and 65 percent of 18-24 year olds will worry that they are using their phones too much for certain activities and may try to limit their usage in 2018.

“As smartphones continue to be a big part of our professional and personal lives, we are finding more of a balance and etiquette, especially in our personal lives, even as we continue to experience more opportunities in this exciting mobile ecosystem,” said Arun Babu, Deloitte Africa Telecommunications Leader.

Additional topics from Deloitte Global’s 2018 TMT Predictions include:

  • Augmented reality on the cusp of reality Over a billion smartphone users will likely create augmented reality (AR) content at least once in 2018, with at least 300 million doing so monthly, and tens of millions weekly, according to Deloitte Global.
  • Mobile only wireless home internet – For 2018, Deloitte Global forecasts that one fifth of North American homes will get all of their internet data access via cellular mobile networks. There will be significant variations by country, however. In Brazil, for example, nearly a third of all homes will be mobile only, but only 10 percent in some European countries. The differences between geographies are due to a range of technological, economic and demographic factors.
  • An increase in #adlergic – While three quarters of North Americans engage in at least one form of regular adblocking, only about 10 percent of this population engages in blocking ads in four or more ways – the “adlergic” population. Consumers who are young, highly educated, employed, and have higher incomes are more likely to be heavy adblockers.
  • TV viewing by 18-24 year olds: stable declines, but no tipping point – Deloitte Global predicts that traditional TV viewing by 18-24 year-olds will decline by 5-15 percent per year in the US, Canada, and the UK in 2018 and 2019. This rate of decline is a similar rate to the prior seven years and is not getting worse. Many forces that distracted young people away from traditional TV, such as smartphones, social media, and video piracy, are reaching saturation.
  • In flight connectivity takes off – One billion passenger journeys, or one quarter of all passengers, are expected to be on planes fitted with in-flight connectivity (IFC) in 2018, according to Deloitte Global. This is an estimated 20 percent increase from projected 2017 totals, generating IFC revenue close to $1 billion for 2018.

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How to rob a bank in the 21st century

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In the early 1980s, South Africans were gripped by tales of the most infamous bank robbery gangs the country had ever known: The Stander Gang. The gang would boldly walk into banks, brandishing weapons, demand cash and simply disappear. These days, a criminal doesn’t even have to be in the same country as the bank he or she intends to rob. Cyber criminals are quite capable of emptying bank accounts without even stepping out of their own homes.

As we become more and more aware of cybersecurity and the breaches that can occur, we’ve become more vigilant. Criminals, however, are still going to follow the money and even though security may be beefed up in many organisations, hackers are going to go for the weakest links. This makes it quintessential for consumers and enterprises to stay one step ahead of the game.

“Not only do these cyber bank criminals get away with the cash, they also end up damaging an organisation’s reputation and the integrity of its infrastructure,” says Indi Siriniwasa, Vice President of Trend Micro, Sub-Saharan Africa. “And sometimes, these breaches mean they get away with more than just cash – they can make off with data and personal information as well.”

Because the cyber criminals operate outside bricks and mortar, going for the cash register or robbing the customers is not where their misdeeds end. Bank employees – from the tellers to the CEO – are all fair game.

But how do they do it? Taking money out of an account is not the only way to steal money. Cyber criminals can zero in on the bank’s infrastructure, or hack into payment systems and even payment documents. Part of a successful operation for them may also include hacking into telecommunications to gain access to one-time pins or mobile networks.

“It’s not just about hacking,” says Siriniwasa.. “It’s also about the hackers trying to get an ‘inside man’ in the bank who could help them or even using a person’s personal details to get a new SIM so that they can have access to OTPs. Of course, they also use the tried and tested method of phishing which continues to be exceptionally effective – despite the education in the market to thwart it.”

The amounts of malware and available attacks to gain access to bank funds is strikingly vast and varies from using web injection script, social engineering and even targeting internal networks as well as points of sale systems. If there is an internet connection and a system you can be assured that there is a cybercriminal trying to crack it. The impact on the bank itself is also massive, with reputations left in tatters and customers moving their business elsewhere.

“We see that cyber criminals use multi-faceted attacks,” says Siriniwasa. “This means that we need to come at security from multiple angles as well. Every single layer of an organisation’s online perimeter need to be secured. Threat isolation is exceptionally important and having security with intrusion protection is vital. Again, vigilance on the part of staff and customers also goes a long way to preventing attacks. These criminals might not carry guns like Andre Stander and his gang, but they are just as dangerous – in fact – probably more so.”

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Beaten by big data? AI is the answer

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by ZAKES SOCIKWA, cloud big data and analytics lead at Oracle

In 2019, it’sestimated we’ll generate more data than we did in the previous 5,000 years. Data is fast becoming the most valuable asset of any modern organisation, and while most have access to their internal data, they continue to experience challenges in deriving maximum value through being able to effectively monetise the information that they hold.

The foundation of any analytics or Business Intelligence (BI) reporting capability is an efficient data collection system that ensures events/transactions are properly recorded, captured, processed and stored. Some of this information on its own might not provide any valuable insights, but if it is analysed together with other sources might yield interesting patterns.

Big data opens up possibilities of enhancing internal sources with unstructured data and information from Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Furthermore, as we move to a digital age, more businesses are implementing customer experience solutions and there is a growing need for them to improve their service and personalise customer engagements.

The digital behaviour of customers, such as social media postings and the networks or platforms they engage with, further provides valuable information for data collection. Information gathering methods are being expanded to accommodate all types and formats of data, including images, videos, and more.

In the past, BI and Data Mining were left to highly technical and analytical individuals, but the introduction of data visualisation tools is democratising the analytics world. However, business users and report consumers often do not have a clear understanding of what they need or what is possible.

AI now embedded into day to day applications

To this end, artificial intelligence (AI) is finishing what business intelligence started. By gathering, contextualising, understanding, and acting on huge quantities of data, AI has given rise to a new breed of applications – one that’s continuously improving and adapting to the conditions around it. The more data that is available for the analysis, the better is the quality of the outcomes or predictions.

In addition, AI changes the productivity equation for many jobs by automating activities and adapting current jobs to solve more complex and time-consuming problems, from recruiters being able to source better candidates faster to financial analysts eliminating manual error-prone reporting.

This type of automation will not replace all jobs but will invent new ones. This enables businesses to reduce the time to complete tasks and the costs of maintenance, and will lead to the creation of higher-value jobs and new engagement models. Oracle predicts that by 2025, the productivity gains delivered by AI, emerging technologies, and augmented experiences could double compared to today’s operations.

According to the IDC, worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics (BDA) solutions was expected to total $166 billion in 2018, and forecast to reach $260 billion in 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.9% over the 2017-2022 forecast period. It adds that two of the fastest growing BDA technology categories will be Cognitive/AI Software Platforms (36.5% CAGR) and Non-relational Analytic Data Stores (30.3% CAGR)¹.

Informed decisions, now and in the future

As new layers of technology are introduced and more complex data sources are added to the ecosystem, the need for a tightly integrated technology stack becomes a challenge. It is advisable to choose your technology components very carefully and always have the end state in mind.

More development on emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI, IoT, virtual reality and others will probably be available on cloud first before coming on premise. For those organisations that are adopting public cloud, there are opportunities to consume the benefits of public cloud and drive down costs of doing business.

While the introduction of public cloud is posing a challenge on data sovereignty and other regulations, technology providers such as Oracle have developed a ‘Cloud at Customer’ model that provides the full benefits of public cloud – but located on premise, within an organisation’s own data centre.

The best organisations will innovate and optimise faster than the rest. Best decisions must be made around choice of technology, business processes, integration and architectures that are fit for business. In the information marketplace, speed and informed decision making will be key differentiators amongst competitors.

¹ IDC Press Release, Revenues for Big Data and Business Analytics Solutions Forecast to Reach $260 Billion in 2022, Led by the Banking and Manufacturing Industries, According to IDC, 15 August 2018

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