Everything about data, big data and their opportunities

Federated Learning – Efficient Machine Learning That Respects Privacy?

In the financial industry, customers expect high standards with regard to data protection and the integrity of their own data. Nevertheless, from the perspective of value creation, it is essential for banks to evaluate customer data using statistical methods and algorithms. Banks are thus caught in a conflict between maintaining data privacy and enforcing their own business model. To address this problem, the concept of “federated learning” has become established on the market in recent years, in which the data used for model training is always stored decentrally and the models are trained decentrally.

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“Data-centric AI” – A shift in the AI mindset?

The traditional approach to AI focuses on the process of training the model. The underlying data is often a secondary concern. This approach works particularly well for Internet corporations, as they have vast amounts of data and the capabilities to analyze it. In contrast, there is little potential for using AI in small businesses with this approach due to a lack of data. Therefore, it is worth taking a look at the data – moving away from model-centric to data-centric AI.

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What Exactly Is “Decentralized Finance”?

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) has been one of the dominant trends in digital assets at least since the DeFi summer 2020. Since the summer of 2020, the digital assets community’s gaze has turned towards the possibilities of a decentralized financial ecosystem, DeFi applications have become highly popular and the prices of corresponding tokens have multiplied. Why is DeFi seen as having such great potential and what does this mean for regulated financial institutions? In the next three blogposts, I will outline these and other questions, show different perspectives and provide an outlook on the opportunities for regulated financial institutions in the context of DeFi. To get started, this blog post will outline the functionalities of DeFi applications, present selected use cases, and highlight opportunities and risks in this context.

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Open Banking and the (Eternal?) Crucial Question: Market-Driven or Regulated?

For a good four years now, open banking has been a topic considered relevant by the Swiss financial industry. This was triggered in particular by the EU regulation PSD2, which became valid for all member states in 2018 and was subsequently implemented. Various players have been working on this topic since then, but implementation is progressing slowly.For this reason, the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) feels compelled to make a clear announcement. Regulation seems to be getting closer.

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Five Data Strategies for Banks

Ideally, a bank’s data strategy should be derived from its corporate strategy. Possible goals of the data strategy can be process optimization with associated cost reduction, better customer understanding (which can also lead to cost reduction or revenue optimization), or the development of new business models. The following blog post provides an overview of which data strategies for banks there are generally and which use cases can be observed in practice.

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Cross-Company Data Exchange in a Cross-Industry Trust Network – Added Value for Customers, Companies and Partners! 

More extensive business cases such as opening a bank account or an account with a FinTech require several minutes of time each for a low-value-added customer experience – wouldn’t it be great if you could skip all the tedious steps relating to data collection during onboarding and start right away with the advisory service or the effective satisfaction of your core needs? These and other questions have been considered for a little more than half a year as part of a workshop series of the OpenBankingProject.ch (OBP) and discussed together with more than 30 companies from the Swiss financial industry. This article is intended to provide an overview of the background, initial delivery results as well as the current state of knowledge of the efforts within the OpenBankingProject.ch workshop series.

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Synthetic Data – The Future of Data-Driven Financial Services?

One of the biggest challenges in this context is the handling of bank-specific and personal data and its processing by artificial intelligence (AI). The basis of data-driven services is a high-quality and up-to-date database. But not all companies have a large enough database to train an algorithm, and the sharing and basic use of some data is strictly limited – sometimes even within the company. To counteract these problems, the concept of synthetic data has become established.

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Gaia-X – A Revolution for the Financial Industry?

Cloud solutions are faster, more flexible and less expensive than on-premise solutions. However, the best-known cloud infrastructures – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and IBM’s Red Hat – all have one thing in common: they are headquartered in the USA and are therefore subject to the (decidedly lax) US data protection “law”. This makes using the services difficult from a data protection perspective, especially for financial institutions. The European Gaia-X project could be a real alternative.

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Towards a Framework for Understanding the Potentials of Tokenized Assets

When attempting to assess the potential of tokens for their business, decision makers face the challenge that while there are tons of technical literature on token design, there are no simple decision support tools to help identify suitable use cases for their own business.
Therefore, we conducted a study to derive archetypes that can be observed in a variety of existing token-based solutions. These archetypes provide companies with an initial starting point for addressing the benefits and potential applications of token-based solutions.

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Classification of Blockchain-Based Applications: A Conceptualization from a User Perspective

Despite many known advantages, it is still difficult, especially for practitioners, to identify concrete application areas for blockchain-based applications. This article takes this as its starting point and presents a sector-independent typology of application fields, which not only serves to analyze existing blockchain applications, but also provides users with an orientation as to which general possible uses there are for the blockchain and how complex an initial implementation of the respective applications can turn out to be.

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An Analytics Marketplace for SMEs

For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), AI offers enormous potential for scaling and increasing efficiency, but for these companies in particular there is no alternative to using GAFA services because they themselves lack, for example, machine learning knowledge or the necessary data to train algorithms. An analytics marketplace could solve these challenges.

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Open Banking White Paper – The Future of Collaboration in Corporate Banking

According to a survey, 90% of bankers are convinced that open banking can increase the organic growth of banks by 10%[1]. A global banking survey also found that 86% of banks plan to use open APIs in the next 12 months to enable open banking capabilities[2]. To address this development and better understand the opportunities and implications of the trend towards opening up a banks’ own IT infrastructure, the Business Engineering Institute and Commerzbank have jointly authored an open banking white paper on the future of corporate banking collaboration. In this white paper, we explored the overarching questions of what the open banking concept is all about and how it will change value creation, particularly in corporate banking.

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Open Banking Summit 2020 – Opportunities and Implementation Scenarios for Open Banking in Switzerland

Recently, the Swiss Bankers Association published an overview that outlines the status of open banking in Switzerland and formulates requirements for its further development of open banking. These requirements include the clear strategic positioning of Swiss banks and the joint development of standardized APIs for data exchange between financial institutions and third-party providers. The aim of this overview is to “support the dialogue in the financial center”, as Richard Hess writes in the initial contribution to the blog parade of the Swiss Bankers Association. The Open Banking Summit of the standardization initiative OpenBankingProject.ch pursued the same goal on September 10th, with various presentations focusing on these two requirements.

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The Convergence of Distributed Ledger Technology and Artificial Intelligence Exemplified by the Lending Process (Part 1)

The distributed ledger technology (DLT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are two promising technologies that are at the top of their hype cycle. Scientists assume that the convergence of the blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence offers considerable opportunities, such as accelerating the pace of service, process and business model innovations. However, the information available in the current literature and research on how such an integration could be implemented in practice is still sparse. Over the next week, this series of articles will explore how specific elements of DLT and AI can be combined to achieve potential technological convergence, and what significance this convergence has for the lending process.

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Structuring Open Business Capabilities – A Structuring Approach for API Initiatives

APIs represent an important component of the digital transformation towards networked business models. This inevitably raises questions: Do I start by providing an API developer portal or an overall strategy? Which infrastructure components should be used and to what extent should I provide central guidelines? How can I prioritize possible activities? The “API House of Digital Business” provides assistance in answering these questions.

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Reflections on the Future of Swiss Banking

The financial sector is currently facing one of its biggest challenges with the Corona pandemic: A collapse in economic growth, high unemployment, credit defaults and volatile stock markets. Furthermore, the old problems such as pressure on margins, increasingly intense competition, the shift of the customer interface towards innovative fintechs and the ubiquitous digitalization have not yet been solved. These developments challenge traditional business models of local banks, but also offer opportunities for those who are willing to change or reinvent themselves.

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Are we heading for a happy society?

In a few years’ time, new or further developed sensors in smartwatches will not only record the wearer’s movements, but also their heart rhythm and breathing as well as their stress levels via measuring their skin surface tension. Around the world, thousands of developers are working on the new possibilities, hundreds of investors are evaluating the economic potential, and millions of consumers are waiting for the new gadgets. Will intelligent machines such as smartwatches with such capabilities bring us one step closer to a happy society?

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