Failing to keep pace with the proliferation of big data and the increased power of machine learning could also prevent companies from making a substantial shift from standalone processes to more collaborative environments.
Here are the frontiers of technology that startups and institutions will get cracking on by 2018.
1. Fintech and blockchain are established areas that continue to present unique problems
One of the main regulatory problems is that Bitcoin users are assigned a private identity, although every transaction on the bitcoin network is publicly visible on the blockchain. This, in turn, raises the issue of security as cryptocurrency uses public key cryptography to protect transactions. For this reason, regulators and financial players must engage in a constructive dialogue to find proper solutions.
Banks are using blockchain in other ways – not to hide identities, but to verify them. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), together with OCBC Bank and HSBC, has completed a proof-of-concept for a Know Your Customer (KYC) blockchain in collaboration with Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
The KYC blockchain runs on a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) platform that enables structured information to be recorded, accessed and shared across a distributed network using advanced cryptography. It allows banks to collect, validate, and share customer information in a secure way, making a complex and highly regulated process possibly more efficient.
2. Bigger is better
In the digital age, the universe of data keeps expanding, leaving some companies in disarray when it comes to making effective use of unstructured data from a wide variety of sources. Having a big set of data at their disposal makes companies’ appetite for hypotheses and trends even bigger.
It is a challenge to develop algorithms that can successfully query varied data sets and deliver meaningful results. Big data can be fed into a machine-learning algorithm trained to process and reproduce the right behavior, while experts need to be able to manage data chaos.
According to IBM, demand for data scientists is expected to grow 28 percent by 2020, so mid-size companies and startups that lack the skills, resources, and capabilities will find it hard to bank on their business potential. In this regard, the MUFG Digital Accelerator programme offers companies the tools and the expertise necessary to achieve their full business potentials.
3. Quantum computing is in its infancy but has huge potential
Quantum computing is likely to have the biggest impact on industries that are data-rich and time-sensitive. It’s especially useful for optimization problems present in many industries, such as supply chain and finance, but are difficult to solve, given the large amount of data needed and the current processing power of computers.
Across industries, quantum computing shows promise in helping to determine attractive investment portfolios, supply chain on a global scale, and ads customers see based on hundreds of their attributes. Quantum computing can even help detect fraud and prescribe personalized medicine.
The development of quantum computing is an expensive process and takes time. The technology is still maturing, and there are some hurdles left to overcome in order to build fully scalable quantum computers.
2018 could be the year in which some applications are brought to light. IonQ, an early-stage company developing quantum computing for commercial applications, plans to bring general-purpose quantum computers to market by late 2018.
4. PropTech, IoT, and robotics are game changers in construction and sales
For quite some time now, the real estate sector has been ripe for disruption by the use of new technologies. The often-dubbed “proptech” is the real estate version of “fintech”.
Most proptech companies promise to automate the process by giving house-hunters with real-time listings and much-faster search options. Apart from property search engines, other opportunities areas include crowdfunding websites, smart building firms, construction planning, and leasing and liquidity. Spatial-mapping robots could provide virtual tours of properties and help potential homeowners make decisions.
Robotics would be required to build hardware for spatial mapping or microsensors. This is especially needed as the Internet of Things can benefit real estate by lowering utility bills, increasing surveillance, and providing information on parking availability, among others.
Looking to 2018
With 2018 just around the corner, it’s not too early for organizations to evaluate their technology priorities for next year. Startups can help to figure out how technology can continue to meet the changing needs and demands of key industries.
The MUFG Digital Accelerator programme offers innovative companies a chance to demonstrate their solutions for real issues and for some of the problems outlined above. Companies can expect to gain valuable knowledge from bank experts and get access to a global network of clients, investors, and partners.
MUFG will provide participants with the tools and a dedicated working space in Tokyo to create and sharpen their business models. They will guide participants to launch their businesses through the program. The attending startups will have an opportunity to present their business plans in front of plenty of investors on Demo Day and be financing assessed if they meet all specific requirements.
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