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Prepare to go predictive

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In our current digital age, insights into AI applications like machine learning can help businesses deliver ‘big value’ from their data. With this innovation, are South African businesses optimising their data resources, asks FRANS CRONJE.

In our current digital age, insights into Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications like machine learning can help businesses target the right customers and deliver ‘big value’ from their data. With this innovation at our fingertips the question arises, are South African businesses optimising their data resources?

It is important to consider why companies started collecting data.

Historically, data has been collected to report back upon either for legal requirements such as fulfilling Audit requirements, or for their own internal monitoring purposes. This legacy still influences many companies in what data they collect and how they store it. The result is that much of the data held by companies is not ready for predictive modelling and machine learning.

Subsequently, it should not be surprising that much of the innovation in predictive analytics and machine learning is driven from younger companies that were built when cell phones, laptops and easy access to the internet were commonplace.

An important consideration when it comes to data is the wide range of opportunities it enables, particularly for service-related industries which can use it to identify consumer preferences and, in turn, help in detecting where products or services can be improved. Almost every industry can benefit from compiling and building data from the education, transportation and consumer products sectors, to businesses in electricity, oil and gas, healthcare and consumer finance like banking and insurance.

Ultimately, instead of relying on intuition, companies who handle their data correctly can embrace predictive decision-making approaches, which – when coupled with automation – can provide cost savings as well as profit gains.

So how can businesses get the most out of their data? Considering data from the predictive point of view can help businesses realise how to improve their data management. When taking this perspective, it is easy to identify the veracity of system log data is really valuable or overwriting data to provide a current snapshot of the data can mean the data is no longer valuable for predictive modelling.

The problem and solution should take the company’s unique environment and challenges into account. How fast does a result need to be returned, where does the data arrive from and at what frequency?

We prefer co-location modes of consulting with our clients which helps us understand each client’s domain and allows us to create a solution that can be delivered relatively quickly through a small team.

In terms of whether or not such capabilities can – or should – be out-sourced or developed internally, many organisations simply do not have the internal skills to implement machine learning applications. However, there have been developments locally to address this gap.

DataProphet is one of several collaborators involved in the design of the Postgraduate Diploma in Data Analytics and Business Intelligence which will be offered by the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of the Western Cape from January 2017.

  • Frans Cronje, Managing Director for DataProphet.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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