It is time once again for Eurovision, the annual kitschy Europop extravaganza, taking place this year in Vienna, Austria.
Here’s what’s probably going to happen :
- Viewers will be treated to a few out of the ordinary performances
- Everyone will be complaining about regional voting blocs
- Like most competitions that involve competing against other European nations (and doesn’t include the use of bicycles), the UK entry will flop.
But we’re going to be a bit bolder than that.
We’re having a shot at predicting who is going to follow in the footsteps of Conchita Wurst as the winner of the contest.
Our model is not based on the quality of the songs (or the lack thereof), but on an average of votes each participating nation received over the past 12 years, which is then adjusted for factors that include present day geopolitics, form in more recent editions, past performance and tempo.
Sceptical about this approach? In 2011, the winners, Azerbaijan, were in our top-three, and then in 2013 we backed Azerbaijan, who came second. We have now spent the last two years tinkering with the model and hope the improvements we’re introducing mean that our projected winner will be the one to take it all.
So without further ado, the Guardian data prediction for Eurovision 2015 winner is…
Genealogy’s controversial “Face the Shadow” references the mass murder of 1.5m Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915. It was originally called “Don’t Deny” – Turkey still contests that it was not a genocide, and this title was deemed too political by Eurovision organisers.
Other countries our model expects will make the top 10 include Serbia, Sweden, and Azerbaijan.
The predicted top 10
What about the losers?
Our model suggests that France may be on course to receive nul (zero) points with Lisa Angell’s N’oubliez Pas.
Bear in mind that a country getting zero points has not happened in the final since UK pair Jemini’s off-key performance of Cry Baby in 2003.
Despite that historic low point, we think the UK may defy (low) expectations and not finish last, or thereabout. The reunion of boyband Blue and an appearance by Andrew Lloyd Webber have helped drag up Britain’s median score (contrary to what the popular press might say).
Nevertheless, our model does still expect the UK to join France in the lower end of the table along with Lithuania, Germany, Cyprus, Estonia and Slovenia.
The predicted bottom 10
One participant our model cannot account for is this year’s dark horse: Australia
For the simple reason that Australia is not in Europe (despite some wanting to import its immigration points system).
Our neighbours from the other side of the world are entering for the first time to celebrate the 60th year of the song contest, and as a result there is no historical data for how Australia performs in European song contests.
It is unclear whether their tune, by Guy Sebastian, will be embraced, rejected or if people will get confused and think he is the Austrian entrant.
WARNING: please do not hold us responsible for any bets you may place as a result of this statistical exercise. It’s all a bit of fun.
Are there voting blocs?
Yes. And they have pretty much always worked how you think they would:
Scandinavia groups together (a habit it also has in football tournaments) – for example since 1998, Sweden has got an average of 10 points from Denmark. Other close relationships include Slavic countries, Greece and Cyprus, Ireland and the UK, as well as a bloc comprising several – but not all – former Soviet nations (or what some may refer to as Russia’s customs union).
The last 14 Eurovision winners have all been from different nations and our prediction of Armenia would continue that trend.
On the background of a recent study revealing that UK mobile banking users are set to double to 32.5 million by 2020, banks need to tailor their customer experience models heavily towards mobile devices, with the fundamental focus on creating a “mobile-first” strategy, if not the more radical “mobile-only” strategy, write Anil Gandharve and Avishek Mukhopadhyay
According to our opinion there are three critical areas that will set banks aside from their competition come 2020, these being increasing use of wearables, expanding the utility of the mobile wallet beyond payments and advanced features in mobile banking, going beyond pure transactions.
Wearable technology is one of the most recent disruptions in the banking industry, while some may view it as a mere fad, others view it as the future of technology. By investing and rolling out wearable-centric features, banks can reduce marketing costs, enhance customers’ experience, gain enormous publicity and most importantly grow closer to their customers. Some of the early services rolled out by banks include checking bank balances, payment confirmations and reminders; however future use-cases will make these basic transactions look primitive. In coming months we will see services such as the transfer of money being completed using smartwatches through voice based instructions. Going ahead, banking functions such as determining credit limits will be linked to health parameters captured by a smartwatch.
Despite the importance to stay relevant and innovative, banks need to remember that customers still turn to them for traditional services such as borrowing money when needed and growing savings with minimal risk. Therefore, there is a fine line in calculating the right balance between traditional and modern business models when striving for customer trust and loyalty.
Integrating Mobile Wallet With Utilities Other Than Payment
The next steps towards mobile banking include integrating wearable devices with mobile payments, so that they can work in tandem to enrich the Mobile Wallet experience through additional utility services including the likes of hotel keys, airline loyalty cards and identity cards like driving license or voters’ identity. This may also lead to the possibility of payment through other mechanisms such as gift cards. Integrating your social network within mobile wallets can make sharing, gifting, lending seamless.
Today’s fast-paced and technology driven society has labelled it ‘reasonable’ for customers to demand things now, while waiting is simply ‘unacceptable.’ Competition within the mobile wallet space is just getting started, so in order to stay ahead of the game, banks need to already be adopting this strategy into their customer experience model; faster and secure payments equal happier customers.
Advanced Mobile Banking
Mobile banking is growing and developing at rapid speeds, to maintain customer loyalty and satisfaction banks need to aim for higher levels of innovation to enhance the customer journey and keep ahead of the game. This means moving beyond simple transactions and hosting more advanced features such as personalisation, advanced visualisation features, integrating social media features and introducing more third party services by leveraging API based ecosystems. A majority of banks are integrating features such as remote check deposits, capturing of user details through mobiles, peer to peer transfers, and personal finance management within mobile banking applications. The use of communication platforms such as Skype and FaceTime allows customer service and advisory to be in touch with customers at any time throughout the day.
Furthermore, we will see banks turning to social media to tackle the dated challenges of traditional banking, and cultivate customer trust through online communities. Banks are rapidly coming to terms with the fact that their competition is not only fellow banks or financial institutions but the likes of modern day online giants like Amazon, Facebook and Uber.
Whether they want to accept it or not, digital is a game changer and banks need to start channelling a large part of their IT investment into digital initiatives. With competition emerging from unusual sources, mostly driven by evolving technology, the banking industry will no longer remain the same as we know of it today. Leading up to 2020, banking will undergo a huge digital disruption powered by the changing consumer behaviour of Digital Natives, and modern day banks will be short sighted to see other banks as their only competitors.
After a memorable wedding day…
Wedding photographer James Day tells us that he recently pulled off the “craziest stunt” of his career thus far: delivering the final wedding album to the newlywed couple at the end of their wedding day.
The bride, Jane, is the identical twin sister of Day’s wife, and the groom, Michael, is himself a successful wedding photographer in Australia.
“I knew I had to do something absolutely insane for [them],” Day writes on his blog. “I just had to go all out […] This is without doubt the biggest stunt I’ve ever pulled off. I did what everyone else told me would be impossible. I knew with the right team we could make it work.”
Day partnered with a number of companies to turn this idea into a reality. A digital processing lab “just down the road” from the wedding helped edit the photos throughout the whole day and well into the night. Fujifilm provided a photo printer and all the paper and ink needed. SanDisk provided SD cards and drives for storing edited files.
The album itself was put together using Pixellu SmartAlbums and featured a custom-made cover by Photo Mounts & Albums Australia.
With everything in place, it all came down to execution.
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