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Open banking revolution coming

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New regulations encouraging open banking may bring additional operational challenges, but research shows open banking has the power to transform the global banking landscape over the next decade, writes JACOB MORGAN of Forrester.

Open banking is the next step in the digital banking evolution. By participating in partnerships and collaborative ecosystems, banks will be able to further their drive to enable customer outcomes.

Digital technologies such as APIs will sit at the heart of open banking as software and accessibility drives further disruption and business models evolve. Open banking blows apart the insular nature of many banks and will transform the banking landscape, as noted in the new report: The Open Banking Revolution is Imminent.

There have been a number of moves from global regulators and banking advisory committees pushing for a move towards open banking over the past few years. Europe is less than a year away from implementing the second phase of the Payment Services Directive (PSD2). The Open Banking Development Group was set up to devise a global Open Banking Standard late 2016 and Australia and the UK have also seen moves towards legislated open banking standards.

The regulators are promoting open banking to drive innovation and increase competition in the market, to benefit the customer.

While these are lofty ideals, few understand either the full implications or the opportunities offered by open banking.

Among the common misunderstandings is confusing open access with a relinquishing of control. While interfaces are public facing, banks do not need to relinquish access control, management of data and services, or the ability to monetise access.

APIs will open up collaborative ecosystems which can enable real-time connections and collaboration opportunities for banks and their partners. Allowing third parties access to product catalogues, business processes, data and business processes, banks can expand their presence, boost sales and increase revenues. Moreover, some banks are already experimenting with open developer platforms which are driving innovation.

However, there are potential downsides to the new requirements, unless banks put their customers at the heart of their future strategies.

Open data will allow for granular product and service comparisons, which could lead to dissatisfied customers switching banks.  Open standards will also amplify interoperability which will, in turn, foster collaboration. New products and services will drive competition into the market and could pose a threat to banks which are complacent. A more open environment will also make barriers of entry far lower. For banks which have been used to the prohibitive licensing and regulatory hurdles, having a flood of nimble, new entrants could pose a further business threat.

True open banking transformation will not happen overnight and Forrester believes that this may only materialise over the next decade. However, the report details some actions which banks can take in the shorter-term to prepare for the future.

This includes building a strategy which is centred around what future partners will need from the engagement, including developers and third-party partners. The company has also advised banking professionals to spend some time determining how they will build their future ecosystems as well as the role they would like to play in it.

Finally, the research cautions that banks should build flexibility into their strategy. Prioritising investments that will ensure fast response times in the technology as well as the processes and skills will drive agility into the organisation and better prepare it for the future.

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Smash hits the
Nintendo Switch

Super Smash Bros. delivers what the fans wanted in the latest “Ultimate” instalment, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the latest addition to the popular Nintendo Smash series, has landed on the Nintendo Switch with a bang, selling 5-million copies in the first week of its release. The game has been long-anticipated since the console’s release, as many fans consider iy to be a Nintendo staple. And the wait was well worth it.

It features 74 playable fighters, 108 stages, almost 1300 Spirit characters to collect while playing, and a single-player Adventure mode that took about three days (or 28 hours) of gameplay to complete. The game offers far more gameplay than its predecessors, making it the Smash game that gives its players the best bang for their buck.

For those new to the game, the goal is to fight opponents and build up their damage score (draining their health) to knock them off the stage eventually. This makes the game seem chaotic, as many players jump around the platforms as if they were on quicksand, in order to avoid being hit by the other players.

It also services two kinds of players: the competitive and the casual.

Competitive players can be matched on the online service by skill ranking to enjoy playing with similarly high-skilled opponents. This is especially important in e-sports training for the game, and for players wanting to master combos against other human players. The casual gamer is also catered for, with eight-player chaos and button-mashing to see who comes out luckiest. This segment is also important for those wanting to learn how to play.

Training mode is also a place to go for those learning to play. It offers “CPU” players that are graded by intensity to train as a single player to learn a character’s moves, combos and general fighting style. More challenging CPU players can also be used by competitive players to train when there isn’t a Wi-Fi connection available.

Direct Play features in this game, allowing two players with two Switch consoles to play against each other over a direct connection – no Wi-Fi needed. This is especially useful to those who want to have a social gaming element on the go, similar to that of the cable connector of the Gameboy.

Click here to read Bryan Turner review of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

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Win Funko Fortnite in Vinyl

Gadget and Gammatek have nine Funko Fortnite figurines to give away.

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A Funko Pop figurine based on a character set is indicative of reaching the heights of pop culture. It is no surprise, then, that the world’s biggest online game, Fortnite, has its own line of Funko Pop figurines. The Funkos are modeled on the characters in game, including Drift, Ragnarok, Dark Vanguard, Volar, Tracera Ops, and Sparkle Specialist.

Now, local Funko distributor Gammatek has released the Fortnite figurines in South Africa. To celebrate, Gadget and Gammatek are giving away a set of three Funko Fortnite figurines to each of three readers (9 figurines in total). To enter, first click on your favourite Funko Pop on the next page and post the Tweet that appears. Then, follow Gadget on Twitter.

You can put the tweet in your own words, but entries must have the competition’s hashtag (#FunkoFortnite) and mention @GadgetZA to be considered valid.

Click here to select the Funko Fortnite character you want to tweet.

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