Automobile Commerce

10 मार्च 2021

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Dear Reader, 

The auto industry has been facing the heat to move digital more than ever as the pandemic has brought upon new challenges and deepened the need to shift toward digital solutions. Auto dealers have been slow to adopt digital car-buying solutions, but with lockdowns closing dealership doors, the pandemic accelerated the shift to omni-channel auto retail. 

Online car buying has taken off in a big way during the pandemic. According to Publicis Sapient, many digitally enabled OEMs are seeing increased, higher quality leads that are 30 percent more likely to buy and a two to four-fold surge in website traffic compared with pre-COVID-19. These online tools are, in some instances, responsible for more than 20 percent of new leads during the second quarter of 2020. 

More recently, a number of digitally focused disruptors such as Carvana, Carmax and Tesla have entered the market, offering unique, omni-channel experiences like flexible return policies, virtual auctions, home deliveries, online negotiation and virtual trade-in valuations. These digital leaders recognized a shift in customer expectations and focused on creating seamless user experiences across the entire shopping journey. 

Online used car seller Vroom noticed a considerable growth in demand as a result of the pandemic, with people turning to digital methods for purchasing cars. Similar to its competitor Carvana, Vroom offers no-haggle pricing and a no-questions-asked return policy. Another Used car marketplace Shift Technologies went public via SPAC in October 2020. Shift allows users to buy, sell and finance cars online. The company offers a "buy it now" option that allows a buyer to purchase a vehicle online without a test drive. Similarly, Cazoo, a UK based company, sells refurbished cars online, delivers them to customers' homes within 48 hours, and offers a seven-day free returns policy. 

Then there are digital platforms that help the dealerships move their businesses online. Take for example, Modal which makes software for car dealerships to move the entire buying process online. Another company, Digital Motors builds a car-buying platform for auto retailers, dealerships, brands and manufacturers. 

The new car ownership model of subscription offers ease and convenience to customers like never before. Switzerland-based Carvolution offers car subscriptions where Customers pay a monthly price for a vehicle and are free to switch cars as they like. 

We believe that, the winners in this industry will be defined by how quickly they adapt to technological innovations. The dealers and OEMs who adjust can thrive, while those reluctant to change will fall further behind. 

Credits : Akhil Handa,Aparna Anand

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Automated Forest Restoration

Dear Reader,  
Forest restoration has the potential to reverse land degradation through restoration or rehabilitation of degraded land. It can be a climate change mitigation strategy, and could provide other co-benefits, including increasing forest productivity, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. It provides aesthetic and socio-cultural benefits, such as the potential to improve the livelihoods and resilience of forest-dependent communities.  
Zurich based, GainForest, uses artificial intelligence to reverse deforestation. Its algorithms analyze data from satellites, drones and field monitoring to measure sustainable land use. It’s an app that aims to help maintain and restore forests. GainForest gets funding from the crypto community to provide finance to community members if they maintain their patch of land for an agreed duration. The GainForest team uses publicly available data from Global Forest Watch to monitor and evaluate community success. It is also developing advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to help forecast future forest cover. 
Flash Forest is Canada’s first-to-market and largest drone reforestation company using UAV hardware, aerial mapping software, automation, and biological seed-pod technology to reforest the planet at a rapid pace. It is a reforestation company that aims to plant at 10 times the normal rate and at a fraction of the cost of traditional tree planting techniques. With drone engineering, it brings new levels of accuracy, precision and speed to the reforestation industry. By 2028, the start-up aims to plant a full 1 billion trees. 
Brazil based startup, Treevia, has developed a remote forest-monitoring system called SmartForest. It connects forests around the world into the internet to ensure more sustainable use of natural resources. The solutions offered by SmartForest include digital asset registration systems, forest research using high-precision data, hazard assessment and specialised forestry consultation.  
Satelligence helps companies achieve a deforestation-free sourcing and production of palm oil, cocoa, coffee, soy, and other commodities. Building on artificial intelligence, satellite technology and supply chain data, the company provides daily insights into the global performance of agricultural production and supply chain risks. Satelligence maps and monitors forests, planted palm areas, deforestation, and fire impact. 
Deforestation and forest degradation continue to take place at alarming rates, which contributes significantly to the ongoing loss of biodiversity. As per Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations the area of primary forest worldwide has decreased by over 80 million hectares since 1990. Current deforestation rates worldwide are unsustainable. Efficient and quality reforestation techniques are essential to rapidly implement solutions to our global ecological crisis.
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Banking with Cognition

In the last two years alone, 90% of the world's entire data has been created. With an ever-increasing deluge of information being generated across the globe, traditional algorithm-based systems have been unable to derive maximum value from available data.
In order to address this challenge, some innovative techniques like Cognitive Computing have been developed which mimic the way the human brain works. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that Cognitive Computing will save US companies $ 60 billion a year by 2020 and lead to a 20 % improvement in IT efficiency for financial services firms by 2022.
This technology, inspired from IBM’s supercomputer system ‘Watson’, holds huge promise in banking as well. Cognitive Banking has been employed by few banks to improve loan underwriting process. Australia’s ANZ Bank applied cognitive computing in market data, financial statements, product disclosure statements etc. to save 1,000 man-hours of back office activity. With increased automation, loan application processes for more than 150,000 customers of the bank have been streamlined.
Cognitive Computing has improved Wealth Management Services as well. Using cognitive systems, banks can analyse multiple sources of investor information to explore the latest market changes, calculate risks and limits to provide customised recommendations based on customers’ personal profiles. DBS Bank from Singapore has already implemented this technology to offer highly customized investment ideas for its customers based on their present and future needs in wealth management.
Back home in India, Yes Bank is combining the power of Cognitive Computing and APIs to improve the digital experience of bank’s partners, developers and corporate clients. On the other hand, InspireOne Technologies, one of the first users of Cognitive Computing in India, has built a product that assesses employees’ leadership capabilities by gathering intelligence through employees’ e-mail communications.
Considering major industry challenges such as commoditization, discerning customers and disruptive competitors, it is high time for banks and financial institutions to adopt innovative techniques like Cognitive Computing. As per Accenture’s research, in 2015, only a fifth of the technology investments were allocated to innovative projects such as cognitive analytics.
Credits : Akhil Handa>

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