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Technology

Cloud-first bank: Standard Chartered, Microsoft team up

Standard Chartered’s digital transformation into a cloud-first bank will enable it to offer new banking experiences.
Standard Chartered’s digital transformation into a cloud-first bank will enable it to offer new banking experiences.

Standard Chartered Bank and Microsoft have announced a three-year strategic partnership to accelerate the bank’s digital transformation through a cloud-first strategy. This will allow it to leverage Microsoft Azure in its bid to become a cloud-first bank.

This partnership marks a significant milestone for Standard Chartered in making its vision for virtual banking, next-generation payments, open banking, and banking-as-a-service a reality. Leveraging Microsoft Azure as a preferred cloud platform, the companies will also co-innovate in open banking and real-time payments to help the bank unlock new banking experiences for clients. 

“Cloud is a cornerstone of Standard Chartered’s strategy to meet the present and future banking needs of our clients. Cloud providers have invested massively in the reliability and automation of infrastructure and platforms. Using cloud services improves our ability to be agile and innovative, while increasing our operational efficiency and resilience. As disruption in the financial industry continues, we can focus on client benefits by deploying our solutions quicker and allowing for faster integration of new business models and partners. To realize our digital ambitions, Standard Chartered has chosen Microsoft as a strategic partner and this partnership marks a major milestone for the bank in adopting a cloud-first approach,” said Standard Chartered Group Chief Information Officer Michael Gorriz in a press statement.

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A Life Less Analog Technology

Edusuite platform keeps schools running amid pandemic

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As I’ve previously mentioned in this column, education is very dear to my heart. That’s why I was happy to learn that Philippine startup Edusuite aims to help improve the educational system here with its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered school management system for
K-12 to college. This allows schools to focus less on administration and more on education.

Now, I’m a techno-optimist and a big believer in AI. I love Edusuite’s vision of having AI co-manage the school together with human administrators. Otherwise, as Edusuite Co-founder and President Niel Dagondon pointed out at the press briefing on July 29, you are using software but still just manually administering the school. But how challenging is it to get school officials to adopt this mindset and allow AI to co-manage?

“I have to admit that it’s not going to be a fast process. Sometimes we launch Edusuite with a school and it takes them sometimes as much as two years to enable all the features that Edusuite has. And what we did is to make it in a way that we can turn off the AI-specific features one by one. So if a school does not trust the system to do the AI at the start, they’ll be able to do the planning their way. For example, if they don’t want the student advising module to automatically advise the student, they can just turn it off and have someone on the backend manually approve each time a student would take a certain number of subjects. So it’s not going to be automatic, that as soon as they implement Edusuite, all the AI features are turned on,” Dagondon said.

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Technology

IBM shows high cost of compromised employee accounts

Compromised employee accounts are the most expensive root cause of data breaches. This is based on the findings of the 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report that IBM Security announced today.

Compromised employee accounts are the most expensive root cause of data breaches. In fact, data breaches caused by compromised employee accounts cost US$1M more than the average data breach. This is based on the findings of the 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report that IBM Security announced today.

Sponsored by IBM Security and conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report is based on in-depth interviews with more than 3,200 security professionals in organizations that suffered a data breach over the past year. This global study on the financial impact of data breaches revealed that these incidents cost companies US$3.86M per breach on average. Meanwhile, the average cost in ASEAN is US$2.71M.

As companies are increasingly accessing sensitive data via new remote work and cloud-based business operations, the report sheds light on the financial losses that organizations can suffer if this data is compromised. A separate IBM study found that over half of employees new to working from home due to the pandemic have not been provided with new guidelines on how to handle customers’ personally identifiable information, despite the changing risk models associated with this shift.

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Technology

Cloud-first world is new normal, says IBM Asia Pacific GM

IBM Asia Pacific General Manager Brenda Harvey says businesses must rethink how work can be done and services are provided in a cloud-first world. Image credit: IBM / Ray Chua
IBM Asia Pacific General Manager Brenda Harvey says businesses must rethink how work can be done and services are provided in a cloud-first world. Image credit: IBM / Ray Chua

Is your business ready for the cloud-first world? It’s not enough to reopen your business. Rethink your strategy for the post-pandemic world.

In her keynote that kicked off IBM Cloud Forum 2020, IBM Asia Pacific General Manager Brenda Harvey stressed that cloud computing will not only help businesses overcome the challenges posed today by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cloud computing will also be the vital building block that ensures your business will survive in the cloud-first world that is emerging.

“This crisis has proven beyond a doubt that hybrid cloud is underpinning platforms that are redefining businesses and ecosystems as we emerge smarter and more resilient through COVID-19. Before I get into the specifics around cloud and AI, one thing I hope that we have all learned from this crisis is the power of collaboration and trusted partnerships to solve problems, overcome challenges, and rethink how work can be done and services provided,” Harvey said.

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Technology

Social robots: Will they make technology more human?

Imagine social robots that can see and perceive us as humans.

Imagine social robots that can see and perceive us as humans. That will not only detect our faces, but also understand what our facial expressions mean. That will remember us and instantly recognize us when they see us again.

Well, we don’t have to imagine, because social robots already exist. In fact, on June 16, I was in a webinar with a social robot. As you may know, I love robots. This robot was in my favorite city, Stockholm, which I’ve fortunately visited four times. To be fair, its human colleagues at the Swedish startup Furhat Robotics were the ones conducting the webinar. Namely, Furhat Robotics Co-founder and Senior R&D Engineer Jonas Beskow and Product Owner Nils Hagberg.

Beskow and Hagberg demonstrated in real-time the impressive visual perception of the Furhat robot. To interact socially with humans, a robot needs more than facial recognition. They gave an in-depth presentation on the algorithms that power the robot. This is how computer vision gives the Furhat robot situational awareness and social intelligence. It readily recognizes a human face and quickly understands what his or her facial expression means, and how to respond accordingly.

Will social robots help people become less afraid of robots and AI, and do you see social robots becoming an integral part of human society, I asked Beskow and Hagberg after the presentation.

“Personally, yes, I definitely do. This is why it’s very important how we design our social robots and how we design interactions with robots. I think this is the core of what Furhat Robotics is doing. That we’re trying to make these interactions as friendly and engaging and we’re trying to bring all the positive qualities of human interaction into this mix,” Beskow told Digital Life Asia.

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Technology

SG-based lawtech startup INTELLLEX raises $2.1M

Continuing its mission of modernizing knowledge-based industries, Singapore-based lawtech startup INTELLLEX has completed a US$2.1M funding round.

As professional services firms adapt to the new normal, their knowledge management platforms will also need to evolve. Continuing its mission of modernizing knowledge-based industries, Singapore-based lawtech startup INTELLLEX has announced today that it has completed a US$2.1M funding round.

Quest Ventures led this round of funding. Participating were ​Thomson Reuters,​ ​Insignia Ventures,​ ​K3 Ventures and a Singapore government-backed venture capital fund. In conjunction with the funding, Jeffrey Seah, Partner at Quest Ventures, will join the INTELLLEX board of directors.

“INTELLLEX believes underutilized knowledge is dead weight. With the INTELLLEX platform, we convert such dead weight into knowledge assets that yield multiple and repeated value for our clients. With this round of funding, we will expand our service delivery across EU and APAC and accelerate development of new product offerings,” INTELLLEX Co-founder and Co-CEO Chang Zi Qian said in a press statement.

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Technology

Digital education platform offered for free by IBM

IBM Executive Chairman Ginni Rometty said the free digital education platform will help prepare students for the workplace of the future.
IBM Executive Chairman Ginni Rometty said the free digital education platform will help prepare students for the workplace of the future.

IBM believes the digital era should be an inclusive one. To make sure students all over the world will be equipped with the right digital skills for the future, the tech giant has launched a free digital education platform called Open P-TECH. It is now available to students and teachers worldwide, who can register at the site.

“I’ve always believed that IBM is a builder of technology. It’s our job to also prepare society to interact with that technology. That’s responsible stewardship,” said IBM Executive Chairman Ginni Rometty in her session at the Think Digital conference.

Rometty talked about Open P-Tech in this session with musician, businessman, and philanthropist will.i.am. They discussed the future of education, skills development, and the digital workforce in the post-pandemic world.

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Technology

Every company will be an AI company, says IBM CEO

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna says this is a pivotal moment in history that will transform every company into an AI company. Image credit: John O’Boyle
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna says this is a pivotal moment in history that will transform every company into an AI company. Image credit: John O’Boyle

Twenty years ago, experts predicted that every company will become an internet company. To survive in the post-pandemic world, however, your company must now become an AI company.

“Today, I am predicting that every company will be an AI company. Not because they can, but because they must,” said newly appointed IBM CEO Arvind Krishna in his inaugural keynote at Think Digital.

Krishna has taken over the helm of the more-than-a-century-old tech giant in interesting times. Not only is the company making big bets on AI, hybrid cloud, and 5G, but also the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic. He pointed out, however, that these three technologies will power digital transformation, which will be necessary for businesses to survive in the post-pandemic world.

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Technology

AI adoption to accelerate in new normal, says IBM

Rob Thomas, Senior Vice President, Cloud and Data Platform, of IBM, says companies are becoming more comfortable with AI adoption.
Rob Thomas, Senior Vice President, Cloud and Data Platform, of IBM, says companies are becoming more comfortable with AI adoption.

As the COVID-19 pandemic reshapes the world, AI adoption will help businesses recover and restart. To this end, IBM has announced today new AI-powered capabilities and services, including IBM Watson AIOps.

Built on Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Watson AIOps will be a powerful tool for automating a company’s information technology infrastructure. It runs across any cloud and works in collaboration with an ecosystem of partners, including Slack and Box.

“The crisis in many cases is going to accelerate what probably would have happened anyway. And I think AI is a great example of that. Companies are slowly getting comfortable with the idea of AI and it being their friend, and that it drives transformation. I like to say AI is not going to replace managers, but managers that can use AI will replace managers that cannot,” Rob Thomas, Senior Vice President, Cloud and Data Platform, of IBM, told Digital Life Asia at the press briefing for its Think Digital conference.

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Technology

AI for business gets boost with new IBM Watson tech

AI for business: Project Debater
The Project Debater AI was not only a good debater, but also an aspiring comedian

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is hardly elementary for AI for business. IBM Watson, however, will now have a better understanding of the language of business. This is thanks to the incorporation of new technologies from IBM Research’s Project Debater.

Project Debater made headlines in 2018 when the IBM AI successfully debated humans and even made jokes. The new IBM Watson technologies represent the first commercialization of Project Debater’s groundbreaking NLP abilities. Now companies can reap the benefits of an AI for business that understands idioms and colloquialisms in conversational English. IBM Watson will not just analyze human language for information. It can now also understand the thought and opinion of customers. This is in line with IBM’s vision for the relationship between humans and AI in the workplace.

“This combination of human and machine makes AI both powerful and transformative. It’s why IBM refers to AI as augmented—not artificial—intelligence. This is a critical difference. IBM believes in systems that can enhance and scale human expertise, rather than those that attempt to replicate human cognition,” IBM Philippines Chief Technology Officer Lope Doromal Jr. told Digital Life Asia via email.