Category Archives: Technology

The safe view of autonomous cars

A former GM car factory in Detroit
Credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr

There are three key factors which affect car insurance – accidents (claims), theft, and the policy holder.

Here’s a thought about autonomous cars and accidents: “A total of 25,160 people were killed or seriously injured in the year ending September 2016, up by 6 per cent from the previous year, and 182,560 casualties of all severities.” Of that 25,160, around 5% are caused by drink-driving. The current estimate is that 1,380 people were killed or seriously injured when at least one driver was over the limit.

Whilst these figures only overlap by a few months (the drink driving numbers are for the year 2015), let’s combine them as there’s nothing to suggest there was any statistical anomalies around that time.

According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, “in 2014 driver/rider error or reaction were cited as contributory factors in 74% of accidents”. I doubt driver or rider skills changed much between 2014 and 2016, so some simple maths shows that around 18,618 people were killed or seriously injured by a car driver or rider who was at fault for the accident. Continue reading The safe view of autonomous cars

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

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

Insurance Digital Transformation case studies

Insurance is perfectly positioned for a radical digital transformation over the next few years (or maybe months) – customers feel they don’t get value from insurers (unless something goes wrong, at which point they see the value); there is a general poor to dreadful customer experience of most insurers; there are still antiquated business models (why do we still have to buy annual policies? Why can’t we have subscription-based or pay as you go policies?); and then there’s the fact that most car insurers don’t make much profit in the first year of a new customer either.

Here is some insight from two recent insurance events where the main topic has been about digital transformation, disruption and innovative ideas. Continue reading Insurance Digital Transformation case studies

Book review: The Fintech Book

The Fintech Book, a paper version of a decent blog. Sticky bookmarks are mine and do not come as standard
The Fintech Book, a paper incarnation of a decent blog. Sticky bookmarks are mine and do not come as standard

The Fintech Book is a crowdsourced compilation of articles from 168 authors. It’s more of reference book for a reader to dip in and out than reading cover to cover.

The articles are a range of medium to long blog posts, often with accompanying graphs or diagrams. The design layout is well presented with a nice orange theme. Every so often there’s a graphic which has been pasted into the book in its original format, which breaks the nice theme.

It would have been nice to have seen some real heavyweight C-level managers from the big banks or financial institutions provide some ‘keynote style’ Fintech posts in the book. Or at least provide a review of the book among the other 21 endorsements on page one as you open the front cover to add some immediate credibility. Authors from Lloyds (twice), PwC and McKinsey have provided articles, and job titles like “Business Analyst” and “Senior Manager” appear regularly in authors’ descriptions. I don’t intend any disrespect to them – perhaps these are the thought leaders in these organisations. Continue reading Book review: The Fintech Book