Advances in Information Technology and Industry Applications

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Customer loyalty will be determined by convenient and innovative delivery of products and personalized services. In the '70's and '80's, banks were marketing to a generation raised on old style banking: personal interaction at a banking office. That generation was disdainful of "impersonal" service and afraid of computers. Convenience was having a "branch" in one's neighbourhood. Today, personal service and convenience are still the critical factors in the banking relationship, but they are defined differently. Consumers still want to bank with a financial institution they "know," and one who "knows" them, but they do not necessarily want to go to the bank.

They are not afraid of computers and technology; they embrace them. Convenience is doing their banking when they want, and where they want. They are now comfortable with personal computers and other electronic devices. They expect fast, efficient, and accurate service And the only way to cost effectively provide the instant, quality service that customers demand, and that the competition provides, is through intensive use of the most advanced information technologies and through good people trained in the use of these technologies.

For all these reasons, the banks delivery systems are completely changing. The new Delivery Systems. The increasing cost of building brick-and-mortar branches, decreasing cost of computers, high delivery costs and slow revenue growth force a relook at the conventional delivery systems. Moreover, growing comfort of technology usage by the customer is rapidly fostering usage of non-branch channels for routine transactions.

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The new strategy changes the focus of the branch from being a high cost transaction center to a provider of a wide range of services like telebanking, customer service kiosks, ATMs, and remote electronic banking. New Marketing Opportunities. As the new technology is so expensive banks need to use the new systems to do more than deliver information and basic services. Banks need the ability to also sell insurance and investment products to get a better return on this investment. Telephone banking can bring financial services to the home or office, especially if they are affordable screen phones.

By noticing how much interest the customer expresses, the bank can market stock quotes and insurance quotes. Interactive videos are new technology that banks can make available to the customer to maintain personal contact while still lowering the expense of delivery service. With an interactive video an expert employee is not needed in each branch. Complex life insurance products, open brokerage accounts, customized product illustrations can be widely available where needed.

The interactive videos will be cost effective expertise. The internet is a medium to allow banks to offer products to customers outside the normal customer base of a branch. Banks are aware of the customer's need for these services and plan to make them available before other sources do. Early experiences with electronic commerce in the banking industry, which has been a pioneer in the use of electronic systems, can be used to learn of some potential dangers and issues to be taken into account.

The use of Automated Teller Machines and electronic home banking systems has increasingly allowed customers to bank outside of traditional bank facilities, for most of their usual transactions. This was consistent with the cost-savings strategy of most banks, which discovered that electronic transactions were about seven times less costly compared to the manual handling of these transactions by a bank teller. Nevertheless, the fact that customers' only contact with their banks was through rather unsophisticated electronic interfaces, and the major difficulties in integrating the legacy systems of a typical bank, prevented banks in many cases from selling additional products to customers cross-selling.

In some European markets, the insurance companies took opportunity of that to grab business from banks, selling savings products to customers through their extensive distribution network. Similarly, the decrease in human interaction with customers could also lead to a less sophisticated understanding of their needs, as they're not always able to express comments, criticisms or requests for new products while interacting with machines. This should lead to a design of electronic commerce systems which incorporate capabilities for customer understanding and for proactive selling of new products.

Electronic business transactions can only be successful if financial exchanges between buyers and sellers can occur in a simple, universally accepted, safe and cheap way. Various systems have been proposed, some of them based on traditional mechanisms e. The key here will be to find a few widely accepted mechanisms, which can be used by most actors.

The recent agreement between Mastercard and Visa on one security standard for credit card transactions over the Internet, and its backing by most major software vendors is one step in the right direction. This doesn't diminish the need for more specialized systems, for instance to allow microtransactions, the exchange of very small amounts of money a few cents in exchange for information or services.

These new payment mechanisms will in turn enable new business models such as pay-per-article newspapers. During the last civil war , eighty percent of the Lebanese infrastructure was destroyed.

The remaining twenty percent are now outdated. The Lebanese banking sector was heavily affected by the war. They lacked the information technology revolution in the banking sector. It becomes a strategic necessity for the Lebanese banks to implement the new technologies at all levels, transactional level, managerial level and executive level.

In the 's they started implementing IT capabilities to change the work organization, raise the productivity, cut costs and deliver the best services to their customers and increase their profits in the same time. Most of the Lebanese bankers believe that IT will enable them to face the foreign competition and the possible consequences of the coming peace. Technology Adoption. The vast majority of the Lebanese banks have set very high standards of excellence for themselves in terms of technology, state-of-the-art facilities, customer service and customer orientation with all facets of operations totally computerized.

The banks also make extensive use of communication technology to provide off-site banking facilities including ATMs. Their ambition is to position themselves as technology-driven banks offering superior services to both their clientele classes - the corporate customer and the retail customer. The corporate customer typically requires quick disposal of loan applications and maximum returns from the cash balance. The needs of the corporate customer are functions of the speed of response.

Technologically the answer to this is a reliable network connecting branches that run on-line. The first steps. At the early stage , Lebanese banks started to build their databases and automate their work procedures. Most banks have adopted ready made packages for their internal operations. Currently, these banks are replacing their old information systems. The banks branches are planning to provide state-of-the-art services to their customers enabling a rapid growth of the bank's performance in a very competitive marketplace. Different approaches are followed in the Lebanese banks to acquire and implement the new technologies.

Banque du Liban et d'outre-mer BLOM , for example, has developed its own complete banking information system. While Ban k Audi followed another strategy and purchased an on-line information system providing a real time on line branch network with an up-to-date banking and customer information to senior management, middle managers, end users and business analysts.

The major reasons behind adopting or developing new information systems are:. The competition. The Lebanese banks are also planning to offer the entire range of services like telebanking, ATMs, etc. They also respond very actively in the marketplace in introducing new products and services.

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Arab bank started to install ATM machines in Other banks followed, by establishing in a network called Link Network, using Link cards. About 25 banks have joined this network and are sharing now its almost 60 machines located in the major cities of Lebanon. The central bank is expecting that about ATM machines will be installed in Lebanon by the year Lebanese banks are also introducing remote banking services. Arab bank was also the first bank in Lebanon to offer this service.

Early in , Arab bank installed an interactive voice response system, called Phone Banking. At the same time, it introduced the computer based remote banking service which is called Corporate banking. However these services are providing only inquiry facilities because they are off-line systems. Technology Assessment. The diffusion and successful implementation of IT in Lebanese banks is not an easy process. Lebanese banks are facing enormous challenges in mastering the new tools provided by IT.

An important constraint to the diffusion and success of IT implementation is the telecommunications infrastructure, another obstacle is managerial practices and organizational weaknesses. In the following section, I will analyse and discuss these obstacles. In evaluating banks'use of technology, we look at both the technology in place to serve today's customer and the plans for serving tomorrow's.

The first objective is to examine the bank's deployment of technology relative to what is available, tested, and proven to enhance bank performance. The second is to examine the bank's preparation for the future.

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We want to answer the following questions: The most important issues to be analysed are :. Telecommunication infrastructure. The greatest obstacle to real time electronic banking in Lebanon is the telecommunications infrastructure. Telecommunications in the banking sector is a major factor to the success or failure of any application or service. The Lebanese telecommunications infrastructure was devastated by the civil war. The process of rehabilitation and modernization of this infrastructure started in According to the recovery plan developed by CDR the telecommunications rehabilitation plan will be completed by the year This means that banks will not be able to rely on the public network until The result of such situation is a delay in implementing new services and products like remote banking, electronic funds transfer, real time bank information systems.

Experts project mobile traffic to increase even further in , and mobile applications, consumer capabilities, and payment options will be necessary for businesses. The fastest-growing companies have already established their mobile websites, marketing, and apps for maximized security and user-friendliness. Cloud apps are also available for companies to use for on-the-go capabilities. Big data is a trend that allows businesses to analyze extensive sets of information to achieve variety in increasing volumes and growth of velocity.

Big data has a high return on investment that boosts the productivity of marketing campaigns, due to its ability to enable high-functioning processing. Data mining is a way companies can predict growth opportunities and achieve future success.

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Examination of data to understand markets and strategies is becoming more manageable with advances in data analytic programs. This practice in information technology can be observed for its potential in data management positions for optimal organizations. Database maintenance is a growing sector of technology careers. To convert various leads into paying customers, big data is an essential trend to continue following in Another current trend in the IT industry is automated processes. Automated processes can collect information from vendors, customers, and other documentation. Automated processes that check invoices and other accounts-payable aspects expedite customer interactions.

Machine processes can automate repetitive manual tasks, rather than assigning them to employees.

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This increases organization-wide productivity, allowing employees to use their valuable time wisely, rather than wasting it on tedious work. Automation can even produce more job opportunities for IT professionals trained in supporting, programming, and developing automated processes.

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Machine learning can enhance these automated processes for a continually developing system. Automated processes for the future will extend to groceries and other automatic payment methods to streamline the consumer experience. Trends in information technology emerging in are new and innovative ways for the industry to grow. These movements in information technology are the areas expected to generate revenue and increase demand for IT jobs.

Pay attention to these technological changes and unique products that enhance business operations. Artificial intelligence harnesses algorithms and machine learning to predict useful patterns humans normally identify. Smart machines take human decision-making out of the equation so intelligent machines can instigate changes and bring forward solutions to basic problems.

Companies are rallying around artificial intelligence in the workplace because it allows employees to use their abilities for the most worthwhile tasks, along with management of these smart machines for a more successful system.

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The U. Army is applying artificial intelligence measures from Uptake Technologies to vehicles mainly used in peacekeeping missions for repair purposes.

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Their predictive software will reduce irregular maintenance and hone in on machine components that are more likely to deteriorate or get damaged. Predictive vehicle repairs can grow and extend to civilian purposes in the coming years. AI face recognition is beginning to help with missing people reports, and it even helps identify individuals for criminal investigations when cameras have captured their images. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology , face recognition is most effective when AI systems and forensic facial recognition experts team up.

AI will continue to promote safety for citizens in the future as software improvements shape these applications. Medical AI is another trend that reflects surprising success. Given patient information and risk factors, AI systems can anticipate the outcome of treatment and even estimate the length of a hospital visit. Home AI systems are also increasingly popular to expedite daily tasks like listening to tunes, asking for restaurant hours, getting directions, and even sending messages. Many problem-solving AI tools also help in the workplace, and the helpfulness of this technology will continue to progress in AI careers are increasing in demand, but the nature of AI skills is shifting.

AI projects have caught on throughout many businesses, but the outlook of company leaders is more than the projects are returning without properly equipped personnel to implement strategic AI advances. Positions related to AI are necessary to fulfill the potential of these enterprises. Technology that includes virtual reality is becoming prevalent.

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The software of virtual reality is making many industries prepared for various scenarios before entering them. The medical profession is projected to use virtual reality for some treatments and interactions with patients in the coming years. Virtual training sessions for companies can cut costs, fill in the need for personnel, and increase education. According to Gartner , by , virtual simulations for selected patients with specific illnesses will reduce emergency room visits in America by 20 million.

These simulations will have intelligence capabilities, so virtual-reality care can still provide patients with proper attention. Virtual-reality professionals will be in high demand in coming years as the technology catches on in various industries. Specialized fields are the main places where virtual reality has caught on, but experts project it will become more applicable to other technological advances.

Backgrounds in optics and hardware engineering are particularly sought-after skills. Augmented reality is a more versatile and practical version of virtual reality, as it does not fully immerse individuals in an experience. Augmented reality features interactive scenarios that enhance the real world with images and sounds that create an altered experience. Augmented reality can impact many industries in useful ways. Airports are implementing augmented-reality guides to help people get through their checks and terminals as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Retail and cosmetics are also using augmented reality to let customers test products, and furniture stores are using this mode to lay out new interior design options. The possibilities for augmented reality in the future revolve around mobile applications and health care solutions. Careers in mobile app development and design will be abundant, and information technology professionals can put their expertise to use in these interactive experiences.

Blockchain data, like the new cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is a secure method that will continue to grow in popularity and use in This system allows you to input additional data without changing, replacing, or deleting anything. In the influx of shared data systems like cloud storage and resources, protecting original data without losing important information is crucial. The authority of many parties keeps the data accounted for without turning over too much responsibility to certain employees or management staff.

For transaction purposes, blockchain data offers a safe and straightforward way to do business with suppliers and customers. Private data is particularly secure with blockchain systems, and the medical and information technology industries can benefit equally from added protection. Shared company systems and the growth of the Internet leave a high amount of personal and company data at risk to breaches. Redesigned systems and new firewalls and gateways will be added to the services companies need to bolster their technology. Cybersecurity is a concentration of IT that will help secure clouds and improve the trust between businesses and their vendors.