2017 in France:  More time with digital media per day than TV & More time with mobile devices then desktop and laptop time – eMarketer

Source: Media Time Will Tilt Digital in France in 2017 – eMarketer

Next year will mark a major milestone for media consumption in France. According to eMarketer’s latest forecast of time spent with media, the average adult will spend more time with digital media per day than TV, a first for that country. Also next year, time spent with mobile devices will surpass desktop and laptop time.

Average Time Spent per Day with TV* vs. Digital Media by Adults in France, 2013-2018 (hrs:mins)

In 2017, eMarketer estimates, adults in France will spend almost 4 hours per day online on desktop or laptop PCs or with nonvoice mobile activities. This compares to 3 hours and 51 minutes watching television. Daily TV viewing time will actually rise slightly, by 0.1%, while total digital media consumption will be up by just over 5.0%.

In another first for the country, next year adults in France will spend more time accessing the internet through mobile means rather than desktop or laptop PCs. This year, the average adult will spend 1 hour 41 minutes on nonvoice mobile activities, compared with 1 hour and 44 minutes of internet use on desktops and laptops.

Average Time Spent per Day with Desktop/Laptop* vs. Mobile Internet by Adults in France, 2013-2018 (hrs:mins)

Although mobile media consumption is booming, this year adherence to traditional media, such as print and radio will still be relatively popular in France. This year, eMarketer expects, adults will spend 35 minutes a day with print, compared with 3 hours and 46 minutes for digital. Time spent with both newspapers and magazines is forecast to drop this year, by 3.1% and 2.4%, respectively. By 2018, eMarketer predicts, adults will spend just 34 minutes per day with print, compared with 4 hours and 7 minutes for digital.

“Over 70% of France’s internet users also have a smartphone this year, eMarketer estimates, and that share will reach 76% in 2017,” said senior analyst Karin von Abrams. “At the same time, all major online information and service providers—not to mention Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networks—now cater for mobile users with sophisticated, user-friendly apps or mobile sites. So it’s no surprise to find that mobile devices claim an increasing share of time spent on the web. We expect that trend to continue in 2017, as well.”

– See more at: https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Media-Time-Will-Tilt-Digital-France-2017/1014720?ecid=NL1010#sthash.2DiuMpyc.dpuf

2016: Digital — which includes mobile — is neck-and-neck with TV ad spend in the US – eMarketer

Source: Ad Agency Clients Are Most Interested in Advertising on TV – eMarketer

Roughly half of US ad agency professionals said their clients are most interested in advertising on spot TV or spot cable—more than any other medium including digital, mobile, streaming video and radio, April 2016 research revealed.

Media on Which Their Clients Are Most Interested in Advertising According to US Ad Agency Professionals, April 2016 (% of respondents)

Media buying and selling software provider Strata surveyed 84 US ad agency professionals who were at the media director level or higher at agencies of varying sizes. When it came down to the advertising media their clients were most interested in, TV was the top choice.

Digital was second. Indeed, 31% of US ad agency professionals said their clients were most interested in advertising on that medium. Few respondents said their clients were most interested in advertising on mobile.

US Total Media Ad Spending, by Media, 2016 & 2020 (billions)

eMarketer estimates that digital—which includes mobile—is neck-and-neck with TV ad spend in the US. eMarketer expects outlays on digital ads will hit $68.82 billion  in 2016, while TV spending will total $70.60 billion.

Nevertheless, no other medium can challenge TV’s dominance of the US advertising market. According to eMarketer, spending on every other medium combined, which includes print, radio and out-of-home, doesn’t come close.

– See more at: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Ad-Agency-Clients-Most-Interested-Advertising-on-TV/1014270?ecid=NL1002#sthash.IQZrlkF4.dpuf

Refugee crisis in a digital age – BBC Media Action (Transforming lives through media)

Transforming lives through media

BBC Media Action is the BBC’s international development charity. We use the power of media and communication to help reduce poverty and support people in understanding their rights. Our aim is to inform, connect and empower people around the world.

We work in partnership with broadcasters, governments, non-governmental organisations and donors to share reliable, timely and useful information. Our projects reach over 200 million people ≈ population of Pakistan, nation

“>[≈ population of Brazil, nation] in 28 countries and are made up of debate shows, dramas, radio and TV programmes, public service announcements, mobile phone services and face-to-face communication.

We also provide mentoring and training for journalists and development professionals. An extensive research and evaluation process underpins all that we do; it strengthens our work, helps us to evaluate impact and reach and increasingly contributes to the exchange of ideas in the policy sphere. Our overarching goal is to help people make sense of events, engage in dialogue and take action to improve their lives.

Exclusive Telco Research Identifies a Clear Switching Process and Social Media Recommendations (Socialyse (Havas) & Twitter)

Paris – Exclusive research from Socialyse (Havas Group’s social media solution) shows that 63% of “switchers”i will change their mobile device, and 23% will change their device and carrier. The study identifies a clear switching process including four key phases –Information Gathering, Active Research, Decision Making and Deal Hunting. It also demonstrates the important role of social media: 25% will turn to Twitter to inform their decision, and Twitter ranks among the Top 5 point of contacts for research.

Socialyse Global Managing Director Séverin Naudet comments: “The mobile phone industry is extremely dynamic. With total worldwide mobile phone shipments of just under 2 billion units, the mobile phone industry will grow by over 10% this yearii. We’ve been working closely with global telco companies, and this study really demonstrates not only how social is a powerful business solution, but how Twitter, in particular, can influence and impact the purchase decision. Social brings ROI to advertisers.”

Telco Infographic_07112016

Key Consumer Insights about Switching

The research provides keen insights into consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding switching their mobile devices and carriers:

  •   There are 3 key consumer motivations for a switch: improving current equipment, ie device and/or price; urgent needs like breakage or theft; and rewarding customer outreach at contract end-date. There were some differences by region: a higher level of motivation related to contracts in Europe and a higher level of motivation to change devices, plans or carriers in Latin America.
  •   For devices, the Top 5 criteria for a switch were (in order): Price, Technical Characteristics, Operating System, Camera Quality and Brand.
  •   For carriers, the Top 5 criteria for a switch were (in order): Network Coverage, Network Quality, Price, Internet Speed and Included Services.
  •   Despite being confused at first, most people feel positively about the change.
  •   Twitter users stay informed with news and deals available on the market, are more likely to be both experts and influencers for others seeking new devices or carriers, and are more at ease with switching.
  •   78% make their decision to switch in 1 month or less.Bruce Daisley, VP of Europe at Twitter, says: “Twitter plays a daily role in the lives of our users, and this research highlights how useful it can be in helping people across Europe make informed decisions about the telecom brands they turn to and the mobile products they buy. There are important lessons here for these brands and the industry. We found similarities in how people  approach switching from London, to Berlin, Madrid and Paris. And what’s fascinating is that Twitter can help make the process more positive. That says a lot about the platform.”

    Using Twitter to Influence Switching

    In addition to the consumer insights, the study also delivers clear recommendations on how to activate Twitter for telcos:

    •   With 25% of all respondents turning to Twitter to inform their choice of smartphone or carrier, use an everyday Twitter strategy and targeted messaging to reach users at the right time and right place.
    •   As a key touchpoint at each phase, tailor Twitter targeting to reach consumers at each distinct step in the Telco switching process: Information Gathering, Active Research, Decision Making and Deal Hunting.
    •   Consider influencer partnerships with Niche to combine the benefits of impartiality and trust with the existing power of utility and information that brands’ tweets have to drive purchase.
    •   Twitter is most impactful in the stages leading to a final decision in the switching journey. Combine an everyday strategy with TVxTwitter to drive campaign success.
    •   Twitter users tend to be more influential among their peer groups as layman experts in the telco field; Connect with and cultivate brand advocates on Twitter to grow a valuable base of earned brand coverage through outreach & advocacy.
    •   Seed promotions one month prior to the launch of a new device/plan to align with the average consumer switching cycle of 30 days.

      Methodology

      Research institute CSA contacted smartphone users aged 18-50 who have or will change their mobile device and/or plan in the past/next 3 months, across the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Mexico. The study included two phases: 1) a qualitative analysis including focus groups and one-on- one interviews, and 2) an in-depth qualitative online survey.

     

    About Socialyse

    Launched in 2013, Socialyse is the social media solution of Havas Group. Socialyse provides a unique integrated and synchronized social media offer, including strategy, content, media and analytics. Innovative tools include the Social Rating Point and the powerful Socialyse Newsroom. With specialized talent and best-in-class technology, Socialyse guarantees both performance and prices. With over 720 social media experts based in 38 local offices and operating in 80 countries, Socialyse combines the agility of a startup and the strength of a powerful global network.

    Contact

    Robert Fridovich
    Tel +33 146933715
    Mob +33 632063816 robert.fridovich@havasmg.com

10 technologies que les fournisseurs de smartphones ne peuvent plus ignorer – ZDNet

  • Le marché du smartphone sature. Vite vite, il faut trouver de nouvelles technologies différenciatrices dit le Gartner. Batterie, immersion, personnalisation, affichage, connectivité ; le point sur ce qui pourrait changer.

Source: 10 technologies que les fournisseurs de smartphones ne peuvent plus ignorer – ZDNet

Les 10 technologies ciblées par le Gartner pour 2016 et2017 :

  • Recharge rapide : Qualcomm promet 80% de recharge en 35 minutes via sa technologie Quick Charge 3 de recharge rapide. La plupart des géants du secteur et de la communauté scientifique planche sur la batterie en elle-même et sur les matériaux employés. Quick Charge 3.0 est disponible cette année sur les processeurs Snapdragon 820, 620, 618, 617 et 430. Le Gartner promet que cette technologie peut changer la donne pour de nombreux fabriquants.
  • Chargement sans fil : Qi, un des projets les plus abouti en la matière, en est à sa seconde version. Une batterie pourrait être rechargée en 30 minutes avec cette nouvelle mouture. Surtout, Qi bénéficie d’une liste de partenaires importante (Asus, HTC, Huawei, LG Electronics, Motorola Mobility, Nokia, Samsung ou encore Sony).


Recharge de smartphone sans fil proposée par Ikea. (Source : Ikea)

  • Réalité virtuelle et augmentée : La réalité augmentée ne concerne pas que les lunettes HoloLens assure le Gartner. Elle peut être utilisée sur un smartphone ou une tablette, à des fins de traduction par exemple de signalétique physique, ou de maintenance prédictive. Côté réalité virtuelle, on croise désormais nombreux smartphone pour des dispositifs tels que le Samsung Gear VR ou le LG 360 VR.
  • Authentification biométrique par capteur : L’authentification biométrique devrait permettre de aux utilisateurs d’assurer la sécurité des paiements mobiles et de stocker des données personnelles plus détaillées sur les smartphones. Le Gartner mentionne que la démocratisation de l’authentification biométrique devrait permettre d’accélérer ces usages. Le cabinet précise que la détection d’émotions et d’humeur est une piste suivie par certains constructeurs.
  • Assistants personnels virtuels (APV) : 40% de l’interaction mobile sera facilitée par des agents intelligents d’ici 2020 assure le Gartner. Déjà, 74% des utilisateurs de smartphones utilisent fréquemment des APV, au moins un par jour (38%) et plusieurs fois par semaine (36%).
  • Ecrans souples / courbés : Samsung est le dernier fournisseur a avoir fait parler de lui sur ce sujet. LG est aussi sur les rangs. “Le problème est de trouver les bons cas d’usage associés car pour le moment personne ne sait vraiment quoi faire avec” explique Richard Windsor, analyste chez Edison Investment Research.
  • USB Type-C : Le standard USB-C est encore loin d’être généralisé, mais ce standard est amené à se répandre assure le Gartner. Mais il faudra avant faire le ménage.
  • SIM embarqué (e-SIM) : La bonne vieille carte SIM amovible va-t-elle finalement disparaître ? Apple et Samsung y travaillent. Intégrée et soudée directement dans les terminaux elle permettra aux usagers de changer d’opérateur sans avoir à remplacer la puce. Un gain de temps et une plus grande souplesse à la clé pour les clients et, pour les fabricants, la possibilité d’affiner le design des terminaux débarrassés d’un logement pour une SIM amovible.
  • Le Gartner mentionne enfin deux autres technologies, les solutions de caméra à multiples lentilles et le Wi-Fi 802.11.

Ces 10 technologies ont été sélectionnées après avoir analysé cinq impacts potentiels :

  • La batterie
  • Une expérience immersive
  • Une expérience personnalisée
  • La technologie d’affichage
  • La connectivité

Ce sont ces domaines dont l’amélioration permet potentiellement de réduire les soucis des utilisateur de smartphone, proposer des nouvelles capacités, ouvrir de nouveaux modèles d’affaires, ou créer de nouvelles expériences.

7 Big Trends That Are Shaping the Future of Digital Advertising | Adweek

Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report is one of the most closely watched reports in the tech industry, and this year’s presentation underscores the growth of mobile, particularly on social platforms that now control the bulk of ad spending and time spent by users.

Source: 7 Big Trends That Are Shaping the Future of Digital Advertising | Adweek

Mary Meeker KPCB/Snyder

Here’s a look at seven of the most interesting stats in Meeker’s more than 200-slide deck presented at Re/code’s Code Conference today.

1. Desktop ad revenue is relatively flat, while mobile is exploding
Marketers are sick and tired of hearing about “the year of mobile,” but Meeker’s presentation shows that mobile is indeed far outpacing desktop-based ad revenue.

Internet ad revenue hit $60 billion ≈ net worth of Bill Gates, 2011

≈ cost of 1980 US drought
≈ all real estate in Staten Island, NYC, 2010

“>[≈ all real estate in Bronx, NYC, 2010] in 2015, more than a 20 percent increase over 2014. Mobile ad revenue grew by more than 66 percent, while desktop was up just 5 percent.

Meanwhile, consumers are spending 25 percent of their time on mobile, which grabs 12 percent of ad budgets. By Meeker’s estimation, that means there’s a $21 billion ≈ US video game industry, 2010

≈ Yale university endowment in 2011
≈ US’s 2009 investment in renewable energy
≈ net worth of Larry Page, cofounder of Google
≈ net worth of Sergey Brin, cofounder of Google
≈ cost of 2004 Hurricane Ivan
≈ Harry Potter movie franchise revenue
≈ cost of 2005 Hurricane Wilma
≈ net worth of Charles Koch, American business man, 2011

“>[≈ NASA budget in 2011] untapped opportunity for U.S. brands to catch up with how people consume media.

By comparison, consumers spend 22 percent of their time on their desktops, and advertisers allocate 23 percent of budgets to desktop advertising.

2. It’s Google and Facebook’s game to win
Like it or not, Mark Zuckerberg has created an advertising juggernaut. Between 2014 and2015, Facebook’s ad revenue grew 59 percent, with the bulk of ads running on mobile devices. Meanwhile, Google’s ad revenue was up 18 percent over the same time period.

While Google’s increase may seem modest compared to Facebook’s, consider that all other digital players collectively increased their ad revenue 13 percent.

Together, Facebook and Google controlled 76 percent of internet advertising.

3. Consumers are annoyed by online ads
Meeker’s presentation included data from video company Unruly suggesting that the boon in online advertising isn’t great for consumers.

Ninety-two percent of 3,200 internet users surveyed said that they’d consider using an ad blocker, and 62 percent of people said that they are annoyed by preroll ads. The study also found that 81 percent of video ads are muted and require consumers to click to play sound.

4. Mobile rules for ad blocking
Speaking of ad blocking, Meeker also presented new research from PageFair finding that more than 400 million users globally block ads served on the mobile web compared with200 million desktop users.

The results should be taken with a grain of salt, though, since PageFair’s technology helps publishers work around ad blockers and mobile ad blocking has only been “a thing” for a year.

5. Shorter is better
Meeker pointed to two Snapchat campaigns—one for Spotify and one for Universal Pictures’ Furious 7—from last year as examples of how short videos work in mobile.

Universal sponsored a Live Story for Miami’s Ultra Music Festival in March 2015 that generated more than 14 million views. And in December, Spotify increased subscription intent by 30 percent when it ran a campaign within the Discover section promoting its top artists of the year.

6. Millennials are still on Facebook
Despite constant reports that Facebook isn’t cool for teens and young adults, the social platform still reaches the most millennials, according to the comScore data Meeker shared.

The data measured the average monthly minutes per visitor, with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat claiming the most reach.

Interestingly, Yahoo-owned Tumblr only reaches a little over 20 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds but averages 200 minutes spent per user each month. Twitter meanwhile reaches more than 50 percent of millennials but averages considerably less time spent.

7. Chat is the future
Brands are increasingly embracing bots and chat-based marketing—and for good reason.

The chart below shows the quick rise of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat in the past six years and how they compare to site-based Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

5 trends in mobile advertising – Mobile Marketer – Columns by Marco Rigon

Source: 5 trends in mobile advertising – Mobile Marketer – Columns

Marco Rigon

Marco Rigon is Paris-based global head of Mobext

Mobile World Congress 2016 has been an inspiring event for those involved in mobile advertising.
The Barcelona, Spain-based conference provided a great forum for catching up with the latest developments, including programmatic mobile, location-based targeting and, crucially, the need for creativity to justify interrupting consumers’ very personal mobile experiences.
Remember, mobile users average 3 hours and 40 minutes each day on their phones, longer than we probably devote to eating, cycling or intimacy.
So here are my top takeaways for marketers to stay relevant for mobile users.
1. Think user-centric, not site-centric, advertising on mobile 
The programmatic trend has hit mobile. This year, a huge number of players from the programmatic world came to MWC, including Sizmek and its mobile platform StrikeAd, Rubicon Project and AOL.
Audience planning and accurate targeting are clearly moving center-stage in mobile marketing, too.
Mobile programmatic is a new user-centric approach, combining data to activate true audience planning.
Until now, the mobile industry had a site-centric approach.
If you wanted to reach affluent people in Paris, you put something on Le Monde’s site.
Now we know that when this same affluent person is getting bored waiting for his plane, he is playing Candy Crush. So it is worth reaching out to him on Candy Crush because that is where he has time available and is more receptive to the message.
The beauty of programmatic is that none of this data is personally identifiable.
2. See where consumers go and find out who they are 
Location-based marketing is a growing area of mobile advertising and one that no other media can replicate.
See where your consumers are going, understand who they are and how to speak to them.
For marketers, the ability to know at all times where users are located opens extraordinary opportunities.
In addition, not only does GPS data provides great insights about users, but this data can also be activated to create actionable audience segments based on real behavior.
By gathering location – life spaces – and immediate usage data, we know so much.
Every morning before 8 a.m., an average user logs on through an IP address in Brooklyn, New York. He must live there.
Between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m., he arrives in Midtown Manhattan, where he buys a bagel. This information interests Dunkin’ Donuts. He bought a Starbucks coffee through its application, and then worked all day on Park Avenue. He is a CSP+ category consumer.
We even know that every year in June, he visits Barcelona for a week. We know a lot about this person, but not his name. Imagine the marketing possibilities.
3. Mobile apps and experiences beat ad blocking 
Ad blocking has been much discussed last week in Barcelona.
Of course, the best way to tackle ad blocking is to stop annoying people. This does not mean you need to stop advertising, but you have to be relevant and you have to give value to the user.
Remember, ad blocking affects sites but does not touch mobile apps at all. For brands, this means creating a new marketing paradigm.
Mobile creates considerable value by generating new and sustainable business models such as Nike + and Starbucks Mobile Order and Pay system.
Above all, we need to help marketers develop mobile experiences that create value and build long-term relationships with consumers.
4. A true cross-device approach starts with mobile
Mobile-first creativity is one of the keys to success.
You cannot go cross-channel and simply transfer a Web campaign to mobile. You must start from where people are spending the most time – mobile – and simplify for where they are spending less time – the Web.
Forget boring banners and things that make no sense for the user.
In addition, mobile allows you to capture sensors from gyroscope, camera, the pinch screen to zoom in and out and, soon, Virtual Reality and 360 video.
For example, an immersive car ad using the gyroscope puts you inside the vehicle looking round as it is driving along. Try doing that with a laptop.
5. The opportunity to seize is mobile video
The explosion of mobile video has transformed the way content is consumed and shared on mobile platforms.
Nowadays, social content is inherently mobile, allowing users to live instant experiences. Periscope and Meerkat come to mind.
YouTube and Facebook rack up millions of hours of views. Snapchat has realized that vertical video is the future, since most of us use mobile in the vertical orientation. This is preferable to landscape orientation, which leaves empty blocks on either side of the screen – which brands are paying for and people are not looking at.
The TEADS stand at MWC highlighted its native video offer. Pre-roll advertising is not the right way forward. Pre-roll on mobile is even more annoying than on the Web.
Instead, consider “inRead” formats, with video positioned in premium content and only launching when in view on the screen. Then consumers are led to a full mobile experience afterwards. This is much more user-friendly.
MWC GIVES ME hope that mobile advertising is moving in the right direction.
Marketers are putting the needs of the audience at the heart of their strategies.
A new focus on creativity as a way of engaging with consumers through mobile, combined with the use of data for better targeting, is just the boost that mobile advertising needs.
Having said all that, the truth is that mobile will probably be obsolete in 15 years’ time.
This inert object that we check 200 times per day will be forgotten because of mobility.
Mobility is itself on the move, becoming part of the cityscape through the Internet of Things and Smart Cities and, at the same time, becoming intimate with humans through wearables such as watches and shoes.
Tomorrow, mobile will become our second skin, fully connected. So now is the time for brands to truly get to grips with mobile as the future beckons.
Marco Rigon is Paris-based global head of Mobext, Havas’ mobile marketing agency. Reach him at marco.rigon@mobext.com. 

Italy Leads the EU-5 in Mobile Internet Access – eMarketer

Over half of Italy’s adult web users went online via mobile at least once weekly in October—compared to a third in France and Germany

Source: Italy Leads the EU-5 in Mobile Internet Access – eMarketer

Italy’s long-standing financial troubles have been a major roadblock to government investment in infrastructure, including the networks required for 21st-century communications systems. Improvements are still needed—but thankfully most consumers no longer struggle with underperforming fixed-line phone and internet connections, according to research from the Office of Communications (Ofcom) – UK, which covers nine countries: Australia, Japan, Sweden and the US as well as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK (the EU-5).

Media Activities Conducted Weekly by Internet Users in Select Countries in Western Europe, Oct 2015 (% of respondents)

Italy offers the clearest case in the EU-5 of mobile devices eclipsing more traditional connections. Fixed infrastructure is less crucial to online access, for example. In October 2015, just 68% of adult web users in Italy used fixed broadband weekly or more often to go online, compared with 79% in the UK and 84% in France. Similarly, in Italy only six in 10 internet users made phone calls each week with a fixed-line phone at home, compared with 70% in Spain and 78% in Germany.

Overall, 89% of web users in Italy used a mobile phone or smartphone weekly in October 2015, Ofcom reported. Only Spain registered a higher incidence of mobile use that month, at 91%.

Italy was even further ahead in mobile internet use. It was the only European nation sampled by Ofcom in which more than half (51%) of online adults used a mobile handset at least once per week to access the web. Spain came closest to equaling this, with 49%. But in France, Germany, Sweden and the UK, the share of respondents going online with a mobile phone weekly was no more than 33%.

Mobile Data and Device Metrics in Italy, 2014 & 2019

Ofcom’s data tallies with eMarketer’s view that smartphones are fast becoming the key device for Italy’s internet users. An estimated 83.2% of that group will have a smartphone in 2016, and that share is expected to pass 92% in 2018.

Cisco Systems has also pointed to rapid growth in smartphone penetration in Italy, forecasting that the number of advanced handsets in use will reach 63 million in 2019. Moreover, smartphones are predicted to account for 68% of all data traffic in Italy that year, as the share of traffic passing via laptops and desktops shrinks to 5%.

– See more at: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Italy-Leads-EU-5-Mobile-Internet-Access/1013375?ecid=NL1002#sthash.tSLWS4e7.dpuf

Can Today’s Banks Become the ‘Bank of the Future’?

While the banking industry understands the need to more digital, considerable changes will be required in order to make this a reality.

Source: Can Today’s Banks Become the ‘Bank of the Future’?

As the consumer is becoming more digital, the banking industry is being transformed. Consumers are becoming accustomed to instant communication, one click service and real-time contextuality. This comes at a time of increased competition. A study looks at how global bankers are responding to these increased expectations.

Now more than ever, banking needs to step out of its collective comfort zone, digitizing and diversifying in response to the changing consumer. While branches aren’t vanishing as quickly as some predicted, banking can no longer follow branch-centric models. Instead, the ‘Bank of the Future’ represents an omni-channel, client-centric, self-directed digital model that many banking executives admit may be beyond their scope.

A report from Oracle titled, “Banking is Changing … With or Without the Banks,” surveyed more than 100 executives at major retail banking institutions globally, which revealed a desire amongst banks to invest in digital strategies … but also stark differences in progress.

According to the report, digitization of the entire banking organization is viewed as the primary enabler of banks’ business objectives. Regardless of whether the focus is increasing revenues or profitability, decreasing costs or meeting regulatory guidelines, digitization is seen as a central investment priority.

Current_banking_priorities

Overall, 94% of banking executives interviewed say that having a digitized omni-channel customer engagement strategy is important to their future success, with 37% admitting that future success of their business is ‘entirely dependent’ on digital customer engagements. Despite the recognition that digital technology initiatives are urgently needed, 88% told Oracle they see significant challenges in moving toward digitization.

The Fintech Challenge

Every publication talks about the transformation of banking and that today’s retail banking competitive landscape is far removed from what existed a decade ago. Much of this change has been highlighted by the rising influence of new digital competitors that are impacting all levels of banking.

“No longer do retail banks simply vie for customers against other retail banks. Instead, we are witnessing an influx of new, tech-savvy, digital competitors – FinTechs – all eager for a piece of this lucrative financial pie,” the report said.

The foundation of these changes is caused by changing consumer demographics and expectations. “The world’s largest demographic, born after 1980, are now millennials. These customers have grown up in the era of Facebook and Amazon; an era of instant communication, one-click purchases and 24 hour delivery. If a supplier can’t provide a service, they don’t wait – they find someone else who can,” says the report.

More than half believe that both private label banks, alternative payment providers and even credit card providers will be major competitive threats – a greater percentage than are worried about other traditional high street players.

's_perceived_threats

The Digital Delivery Gap

The banking industry is not standing still as these changes in expectation and competitors occur. Most organizations recognize that digital customer engagement is the way to respond to the changes in the industry. Key services that are among the most important to adopt, as noted by the respondents in the report, include mobile payments and real time data synchronization, spend analytics and even digital advisory services.

Despite all being recognized as important by over 80% of banks, there appears to be a failure to commit to delivery of these services, with only 24% providing real-time synchronization, 19% providing location-driven services and only 30% currently providing real-time analytics. In other words, the gap between importance and ‘ability to deliver’ is more than 60% for three of these capabilities. And while the importance of providing mobile payments is viewed as the most important component of digital engagement, the gap in capabilities is still 50%.

Oracle believes one of the reasons for the lag in delivery of digital capabilities is the comfort of current relationships. While these relationships served banking well in the past, banking needs to change their underlying processes to accept these new forms of data specially in the content of real-time digital processing.

Banking’s_preparedness_for_digitization

“Omni-channel customer engagement is not a ‘bolt-on’ product that can simply be added to existing systems to give a little bit more functionality”, says the study. “It needs to take a fresh perspective – wiping the established ‘offline’ board clean and asking ‘how should we be doing this in a digital world’?”

Unfortunately, only 23% are currently approaching omni-channel customer engagement with a fresh, digital mindset. Instead, a ‘bolt-on’ approach is how the majority of retail banks (77%) are approaching digital channel engagement, either replicating offline banking capabilities online, or adding a small amount of additional functionality. Change is happening however.

For instance, while 74% of banking organizations aren’t yet able to facilitate the digital on-boarding of customers currently, within the next two years this figure is expected to drop to 24%.

Banking_approach_to_digital_engagement

Challenge to Digitalization

Why are so many banks yet to develop a real-time, digital customer engagement offering when there is an acknowledgment of the importance of this capability? The key challenge lies in legacy systems, with nearly all banks (89%) mentioning the challenge of overcoming their legacy systems as a barrier against omni-channel engagement. The high cost of implementation (89%) and lack of suitable technology (75%) were also seen as hindering efforts to become truly digitized.

Barriers_to_engagement

Beyond the innovation and investment needed to change legacy systems, Oracle blames the banking industry’s defensive mindsets, with banks focusing on preventing customer defection, complying with legislation and reducing the cost base, rather than actively seeking growth and improvement. Currently, retention of customers is prioritized above revenue as the key impetus to digitization, with 83% claiming customer loss as a prime motivator.

Is Delivering the ‘Bank of the Future’ Possible?

The banking model for the future will be customer-centric as opposed to being driven by products and services. This model will enable an information-driven and value centric relationship as opposed to being based on the bank’s needs. While 48% of the banks believe that customers in the future will want to use a bank where tasks can be completed in real-time across multiple synchronized digital and offline channels, there is only a limited belief that the industry will be able to live up to this challenge.

Nearly one third believe that most banks will be operating with disconnected digital channels in five years with 22% believing that most banks will have failed to adopt digital at all. The discrepancy between what banks think customers’ will want, and what the market will be able to deliver, is greatest in North America and the European markets, but no more than one third of banks in any region believe that banking will be able to provide truly synchronized, digital omnichannel banking within five years.

Omnichannel_banking_models_in_five_years

According to Oracle, “Failing to meet customers’ expectations is dangerous in any industry; it could be lethal in an environment where the competitive landscape is becoming ever-more congested.” While there is clarity of what is expected by the consumer, there is definitely less assuredness if banking will be able to keep pace with expectations given the level of investment and commitment required.

It’s time for virtual assistants: Operator & M (Facebook)

Operator: Your next shopping experience starts with a text

Operator wants to “unlock the 90% of commerce that’s not on the Internet”, CEO Robin Chan tells me. After two years in stealth, Chan was finally willing to give TechCrunch a peek at his startup, which he sees as the convergence of the biggest themes in tech: mobile, messaging, and the on-demand economy.

Operator calls itself a “Request Network”. It’s an app that uses a network of human ‘Operators‘ to fulfill customer requests. It can handle a broad range of commercial requests. For now it’s focused on “high-consideration” purchases that may require expertise or have lots of options to choose from.

Mr Camp co-founded Uber along with Travis Kalanick. Operator does not have any formal agreements in place with the ride-hailing app, but is closely watching the development of UberEverything, Uber’s logistics and delivery service, as a potential partner.

The upcoming holiday season is poised to be the first big test of digital concierge services as consumers turn to Christmas shopping or make reservations. A challenge for traditional mobile commerce has been getting customers to complete the purchase — users often find it too time-consuming or inconvenient to input their credit card number into a webpage on their smartphone, for example — and digital concierges are trying to change this

Facebook’s new virtual assistant for Messenger, M, is pretty darn impressive.

It can arrange to have flowers delivered. It can warn you that it’s likely to rain. It can snag you hard-to-find tickets to the upcoming “Star Wars” movie.

At this point, M can do pretty much everything an actual human assistant might be able to do, short of picking up your dry cleaning. (Although it could arrange to have it delivered!) That’s great news for Facebook. The company is rolling out M as a way to keep people using Messenger and, eventually, get them shopping inside of it. An assistant to make that easier will certainly grease the skids on those efforts.

But there’s actually a simple reason for why M is so advanced. For the most part, M is much more human than it is software. Or rather, it’s powered by actual humans much more than it is by software.

The artificial intelligence technology used to power M is still in a very early stage, which means that while the system is learning some of the basic responses for popular requests, human moderators handle the bulk of the interactions with actual users, according to Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer.

“It’s primarily powered by people,” Schroepfer explained. “But those people are effectively backed up by AIs. The idea here is, you can ask it any question, not just the set of questions that it’s capable of. The thing that’s cool about this is it gives us a much wider training set, like what are the things people actually want it to help them [with].”

messenger-assistant-1

In other words, making it human-powered versus machine-powered allows Facebook to get a more authentic glimpse at how people want to use the product.

Right now, Facebook is training M with supervised learning, a process where the computer learns by example from what human trainers teach it. If a user asks A, you respond B. Eventually, the idea is that M will know enough to operate without a human handler. Facebook has a team of people building neural networks — applications that help machines think and act like humans — and many of those applications are already live inside of M, Schroepfer says.

That doesn’t mean that M will fly solo any time soon. The feature is only available to a small group of beta testers in Silicon Valley, and the technology needs to become much less human-dependent before Facebook passes it out more broadly, Schroepfer said.

“The reason this is exciting is it’s scalable,” he added. “We cannot afford to hire operators for the entire world to be their personal assistant.”

Schroepfer also showed off a new tool Facebook is building that can actually describe what’s in a photo, and vocalize it through a verbal Q&A process with a user. So, if you asked Facebook what was in a picture, it could — without ever having seen the picture before — respond correctly, based on other photos it has seen. This tech hasn’t rolled out to users yet, but Schroepfer hopes that someday it will.

These efforts are part of a much broader push from Facebook to dive into artificial intelligence and deep learning as a way to personalize its service. It has one of the world’s top deep learning experts, Yann LeCun, running its AI division; the eight-person team from machine-learning startup Wit.ai, which Facebook acquired in January, is running M. The company won’t say how many operators it’s using for M, but BuzzFeed found that Facebook is using outside services like TaskRabbit to complete some of the requests.