2017 digital predictions

This is now the seventh year of my digital predictions for the forthcoming twelve months (see here for 2016).

Supermarket checkouts - RIP in 2017 from Amazon Go?
Supermarket checkouts – RIP in 2017 from Amazon Go?

There are industry commentators and research analysts who release their predictions for the coming year. But I’m the only one brave enough to mark their homework at the end of the year! Last year I scored a respectable 61%.

Although President Trump and Brexit-at-some-point won’t have a direct impact on technology, there will be an indirect impact on consumer prices and investments into startups. Whether this affects the technology market in 2017 or later is difficult to say. Continue reading 2017 digital predictions

My Favourite Gadget, Book and App in 2016

Every year I list my favourite gadget, book and app from the last twelve months, so here they are for 2016:

Favourite gadget

A smartwatch. I never expected them to be this useful.

During the summer I ran my first marathon and bought a running watch to track my runs. The watch, a Garmin Forerunner 235, has a number of smartwatch features, including alerts that show on my phone, such as text messages, calls, Facebook alerts and so on, also show on my watch.

The watch also has a step and sleep counter, which I’d never as useful beforehand, but the step counter is moderately addictive. I can tell how well I sleep – I don’t need a watch to tell me.

Although the user interface on the watch is terribly over complicated, I still love the watch. Friends who have an Apple Watch still need to charge them daily, and the Forerunner can last at least a week.

Favourite book

The book that stopped me tweeting before boarding flights

I haven’t read as many books this year, but my favourite was ‘So you’ve been publicly shamed’ by Jon Ronson. I like Ronson’s style of writing, and I’m constantly worried (and telling the kids) of the dangers of a simple social media update upsetting others.

If you are interested in social networks, I thoroughly recommend the book. Since reading the book I try not to tweet when I’m boarding a plane, just in case autocorrect strikes.

Favourite app

I have a few friends who have started producing podcasts, and they use Podbean. I’ve been using the Podbean app for a while, but I still don’t find it very intuitive. It could be much simpler.

My favourite app for 2016 was Google Maps. Google have released a number of new, really good features. As a family we travel all over the UK. Google Maps has excellent voice recognition and smart route navigation, taking real-time traffic into account. But the 2016 killer feature is being able to search for something en-route, such as a petrol station or a specific restaurant. This is also voice controlled, and results are shown along the route.

 

This leaves me to wish everyone who reads this site, and your family, a wonderful holiday period, together with a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

Five trends from The Future of General Insurance event

Describing key insurance trends at The Future of General Insurance event
Describing key insurance trends at The Future of General Insurance event

This week I spoke at The Future of General Insurance event about our latest Insurance Industry Technology Trends report at Endava. Here’s a brief summary of the presentation.

Endava works in many industries, and we can see what companies outside of insurance do really well, that insurers can learn from. We have found 20 ‘trends’, of which we covered five most relevant ones to general insurers at the conference:

  • IoT (Internet of Things) are slowly redefining how consumers perceive ‘insurance’
  • Moving to mobile first interfaces
  • Using social media
  • The use of digital marketing in the insurance industry
  • Building self-service into systems

Continue reading Five trends from The Future of General Insurance event

Points to consider when designing your next mobile app

Percentage of people who have disagreements with their partner due to their mobile phone usage, by age from Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report
Percentage of people who have disagreements with their partner due to their mobile phone usage, by age

According to Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2016 report, mobile hasn’t just reached saturating point (over 80% of the UK now owns a smartphone – and still annually growing at 7%), it’s become embedded in our day to day (and night to night) lives. We don’t just own a smartphone, we let it take over our lives – foregoing sleep or partner and friends asking us to put the thing away.

Here are the highlights and takeaways (all are UK statistics, from 3,251 respondents) from the Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report:

  • 10% of smartphone owners check their device immediately on waking up, with over two thirds of us checking our phone within 30 minutes of rising.
  • 43% of us check our phones within 30 minutes of going to bed.
Suggestion: next time you want to spend time with your family or friends, forget your phone from Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report
Suggestion: next time you want to spend time with your family or friends, forget your phone
  • Half of smartphone owners aged 18-24 check their phone in the middle of the night (most of whom check the time, instant messages, social media notifications or email). If you’re not in that age bracket, it’s still 48% for 25-34 year olds, 37% of 35-44 year olds and 27% aged 45-54.
  • Next time you’re out with friends in a restaurant checking your email, or supposed to be out with the family, or just crossing the road, remember the two graphs above.

Continue reading Points to consider when designing your next mobile app

UK small businesses and charities still not digital

Six stats from the Lloyds UK Business Digital Index 2016
Six stats from the Lloyds UK Business Digital Index 2016

For many of us who work in the digital industry, we take it for granted that we can use services such as Facebook, JustGiving charity fundraising and email services. According to a survey released this week by Lloyds Bank, only half of UK businesses and charities have the necessary digital skills to improve their business or fundraising.

The number of charities who accept online donations has doubled since 2015 – from 24% to 53%. But even those charities struggle with other digital skills such as email campaigns, using mobile correctly and other optimisation. And back to the figure of 53% of charities accept online donations – this highlights how 47% do not. Continue reading UK small businesses and charities still not digital

Hedge Funds – the latest crowdsourcing industry

Good at math(s)? Then help others earn lots of money through a crowd sourced hedge fund algorithm
Good at math(s)? Then help others earn lots of money through a crowd sourced hedge fund algorithm

Good at maths? (For my American relatives, colleagues and readers, “Are you good at math?”) If you are, then the latest crowdsourcing industry might be lucrative for you… hedge funds.

Websites such as Quantopian, Numerai and Quantiacs allow anyone to create algorithms to make hedge funds more successful. When I say anyone, you’d need to be pretty good at maths and the Python programming language before even starting. Continue reading Hedge Funds – the latest crowdsourcing industry

I’ve found the best app and it’s not Pokémon

If you see these in the street, watch out for the impending stampede
If you see these in the street, watch out for the impending stampede

There is a trend for financial and retail companies to offer additional benefits at the checkout – whether it’s spreading payments for large purchases, insurance or charity donations. Some banks are offering ‘save the small change’ functionality, rounding the purchase up to the nearest dollar or pound and putting that change into a holding account.

I know a few people who collect small change (or a particular coin). Every day they put it in a jar, then at the end of the year they donate it to charity or buy themselves a gift. This is obviously harder to do with electronic payments at the moment.

With new challenger banking apps appearing on users’ smartphones, retail banks are starting to offer their customers value added services at the point of payment. Continue reading I’ve found the best app and it’s not Pokémon

Garmin Forerunner 235 ‘Smartwatch’ Review (I Love It)

The Garmin Forerunner 235. I wish I had as many hairs on my head as my arms. Nice watch though.
I wish I had as many hairs on my head as on my arms. Nice watch though.

After months of stating that I won’t get a smart watch, I’ve gone and bought one. Sort of. And I’m delighted with it. It’s the Garmin Forerunner 235.

I’ve been preparing to run a marathon since the start of 2016. During training my mile paces (timings) were all over the place. During a half marathon in May, someone suggested I get a GPS based running watch to keep my paces consistent.

After a little research I realised the decent ones are well over £200 and I didn’t want to spend that much. I found a way to get a 50% discount on the specific watch I wanted, the Garmin Forerunner 235, and now I’m hooked – not just on the running features. Continue reading Garmin Forerunner 235 ‘Smartwatch’ Review (I Love It)

Designing Self-Service From the Start

PremierInn Check In email - a good example of customer self-service
Premier Inn Check In email – a good example of customer self-service

One of the features of “a digital project”, is that the end user can become self-sufficient without needing to call the organisation offering the service or product. We call this self-service.

The first Internet services had a thin veil of self-service features, enabling companies to experience the cost savings of letting users perform common tasks.

Once this Return On Investment was proven, one of two things happened. Many organisations left the systems alone, stopped any further investment and patted themselves on the back.

Other companies redesigned the service to allow the maximum possible self-service touch points to maximise the future return on investment. They redesigned the self-service experience from the start. Continue reading Designing Self-Service From the Start