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For an insight into recent trends within the Internet of Things, this month Finance Monthly spoke to Alex Sutherland, innovator and CEO of UK-based Artificial Minds - a company dedicated to the advancement of technology for the connected world with a vision to create computers that interact with people. The company currently specialises within the Internet of Things (IoT), providing a secure and simple way to give households and industrial devices intelligence. Below, Alex tells us about the hottest topics being discusses in connection to IoT, as well as the potential implications of the further development of this technology.


Can you tell us a bit about the services that Artificial Minds provides and the clients that you work with?

Artificial Minds created an IoT operating system called Cortex, which is designed with plug and play connectivity, efficient data management and intelligent automation. This system can be installed on to any device, it will automatically configure itself to a network, allowing it to transfer data to a user, and thus - allowing a user to monitor information. Cortex will learn how best to make use of the connected devices within its environment by learning from the data they provide.

For example, one of our client is a hydroelectric company Derwent Hydro, which has used Cortex to monitor water presser, water flow and voltage information from its turbines. They have also been able to use Cortex to intelligently control a robotic arm to clear any debris from turbines. Cortex is currently being used by over 40 hydroelectric sites across the United Kingdom.


What are currently the hottest topics being discussed in relation to the IoT?

The hottest topics within IoT currently are security, voice assistants, cars and fifth generation wireless systems (5G). Security is a big issue with anything connected to the internet, due to hacking. This is an issue IoT will overcome in the coming years, maybe with the help of Blockchain or with offline methods. Voice assistants such as Alexa, Google and now even Cortana are entering the home. In the consumer sector of IoT, there seems to be an enjoyment controlling things with your voice - if you look at this year’s CES, a toilet that can be flushed with the aid of Alexa. Additionally, vehicles are becoming fully autonomous sooner than it was predicted with the assistance of AI.

And last but not least, it is of course worth mentioning 5G, which is set to transform the IoT landscape in terms of more secure networks and allowing devices to be connected without the need of Wi-Fi.

Looking into the near future, what do you anticipate for the development of the IoT?

I anticipate that once IoT would have solved its security issues. This will allow the healthcare industry to adopt IoT for hospitals for efficient operations and in hospital monitoring. Prisons could use IoT to monitor Inmates, identify contraband and alert for any behavioural or health issues. I also anticipate that there will be a lot more consumer adoption of IoT outside of wearables, so that more homes will in fact be ‘smarter’. For example, one will be able to interact with every room and object in your home or style your rooms based on your mood.

The world as a whole will be adopting IoT, so that the concept of Smart cities will be in full function and will begin to make an impact in society by providing greater benefits to it, such as safety. There will be more cars on the road that will encompass IoT for traffic management, fuel control and of course - self-driving. I believe that what is to come from the second generation of IoT is immeasurable.


What do you hope to achieve in the future with Artificial Minds?

Artificial Minds is growing the Cortex ecosystem into a fully capable AI for the world. We have started by implementing machine learning, which is designed to give your devices intelligence by learning, predicting, identifying and questioning the actions of devices and the environment around it. By the end of 2018, we would have Augmented Reality (AR) built into the platform and will grow it to see how we can evolve this with holography and further immerse the world into a full IoT experience. We’re taking steps to revolutionize IoT for the next generation. Within the next few years, Cortex will be the ecosystem of choice for IoT.

The world of banking and financial services is still seen as one of the more conservative sectors of the economy today but if organisations operating across these marketplaces want to drive competitive edge and business advantage in the future, they can no longer afford to ignore the consumer-driven pull towards the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Finance Monthly hears from Russell Bennett, chief technology officer at Fraedom, on the past and future of |AIs journey from consumer to the commercial world.

People are used to these technologies in their everyday lives. They are used to smart software telling them what they want to buy next even before they realise it themselves.

Today, it’s increasingly vital that banks, financial services organisations and financial departments within enterprises are all in touch with these trends. They need to start looking at the benefits that analytics and other predictive technologies can bring them. Their employees and customers will expect them to do so.

The good news is we are starting to see the use of AI growing in the commercial finance environment now. So far, use cases have mainly been around streamlining operational processes.

Take the introduction of digital expenses platforms and integrated payments tools, both of which have the potential to significantly improve a business’s approach to how it manages cash flow. By having an immediate oversight, through live reporting of all spending from business cards and invoice payments, as well as balances and credit limits across departments and individuals, businesses can foresee potential problems more quickly and react accordingly – and they can go beyond this too. All these services become even more powerful when combined with technologies like machine learning, data analytics and task automation.

We are also seeing growing instances of AI and automation being used to streamline payment processes in banks. Cards can be cancelled, or at least suspended, quickly and easily and without the need to contact the issuing bank, while invoices can also be automated, to streamline business payments. This means businesses can effectively keep hold of money longer and at the same time pay creditors more quickly. Moving beyond straightforward invoice processing, intelligent payments systems can be deployed to maximise this use of company credit lines automatically.

Looking ahead, we see a raft of applications for AI in the payments management field around analysing data with the end objective of spotting anomalies in it. With the short and frequent batches of payments data used within most enterprises today, it is unlikely that even the best trained administrator would be able to spot transactions that were out of the normal pattern. The latest AI technology could be used here to tease out anomalies and pinpoint unusual patterns or trends in spending that could then be investigated and addressed.

They also have the potential to shape the way that payments are made in the future. One of the hottest topics currently under discussion across the commercial payments sector is the thorny issue of integrated intelligent payments. How can enterprises use the latest available artificial intelligence technology to work out the best possible payment option for each individual transaction?

Accounts payable teams will soon need to be able use payments platforms to assess not only how much working capital they have on their corporate cards and what rates they have on their purchasing cards but also what the most sensible choice for payment method would be for each every payment, be it BACs, wire, cheques or even just old-fashioned accounts payable.

Indeed, there is likely to soon be a case for this kind of technology to effectively ‘fit in’, in process terms, between the accounts payable department, and the payment itself, helping the business decide what makes best sense for them as a payment methodology based on the business rules and existing deals that they have in place today.

Future Prospects

We also see a raft of applications for AI in the payments management field around analysing data with the end objective of spotting anomalies in it. With the short and frequent batches of payments data used within most enterprises today, it is unlikely that even the best trained administrator would be able to spot transactions that were out of the normal pattern. The latest AI technology could be used here to tease out anomalies and pinpoint unusual patterns or trends in spending that could then be investigated and addressed.

While this area remains in its infancy within the banking and financial services sector, with technology advancing, financial services organisations and the enterprise customers they deal with will in the future will be well placed to make active use of AI that will help clients track not just what they have been spending historically but also to predict what they are likely to spend in the future.

AI will ultimately enable businesses to move from reactive historical reporting to proactive anticipation of likely future trends. We are entering an exciting new age.

Written by Gavriel Merkado, REalyse

In innumerable ways, technology has shifted the power paradigm from the elite to the many and has empowered investors to make better investment decisions. Big data and smart algorithms mean more information, quicker, which ultimately leads to less risk for investors.


Illiquid vs liquid assets

The enabling power of technology is particularly true for liquid assets such as stocks and bonds. Advancements in financial markets technology and data systems have led to transactions become safer, cheaper and faster. Technology has provided a more systematic approach to investment compared to previous methods based more on human instinct and intuition.

Utilising technology to make better investment decisions around illiquid assets is more complex. It’s harder to track the value of illiquid assets like collectibles, art and property due to a lack of transparency around pricings. While these assets have previously had to substitute speed for clarity, there’s now a growing trend of using technology to combine the two to help produce better returns.


Property investment

Prop tech is one area that is enabling better investment decisions. At REalyse we empower property developers to efficiently make informed decisions about where, when and what to invest in. Using big data analysis REalyse tackles the unpredictable element of the market, allowing users to anticipate potential risks, while also cutting the time spent on weeks of personal market research.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platforms such as LendInvest have established a marketplace for investors to find and invest in new and existing property loans. By removing the need for a mortgage, these platforms help investors remain in control of how much they invest in conjunction with other investors. Similarly, companies, such as Yielders, have created opportunities for people to invest in property with shares as little as £100, permitting amateur investors to become equity owners.


Art/collectibles investments

Another example of tech enabling better illiquid investments is Arthena. This platform enables investors to make better decisions around the value of a piece of art. By taking into account the artist’s career, the year the piece was created and an analysis of art auction results, it helps to predict the risk and return on investment.


Financial investments

In the financial world, the rise of robo-advisors has given investors the opportunity to consult detailed data and information before making decisions at the touch of a button. Industry leaders, such as Nutmeg and UBS SmartWealth have provided their customers with around the clock access to their investments, giving them full clarity and transparency without having to consult a wealth advisor during working hours.

Blockchain has made dramatic steps in transforming the investment industry. Forbes reported last year that it could be Wall Street’s most game changing technology advance since the internet. In a highly regulated industry such as investment, Blockchain provides a transparent way to digitally track the ownership of assets before, during and after transactions, and it has the potential to transform everything from how stock exchanges operate to how proxies are voted.

Allocator is another tool transforming the investment management industry by streamlining the process to access the information investors need, in real time and in a format that’s useful. Fund managers control who they share information with and what exactly each investor can access.

Hedge funds are also now incorporating artificial intelligence to give investors quick, accurate and transparent data. An AI fund, such as Emma AI, is designed to operate autonomously in context of wealth management, financial analysis and research.



More than ever before, technology is empowering the investor to take control of their assets. From property to finance across liquid and illiquid assets it is transforming investment decisions.  As we enter the dawn of AI and machine learning, the technology will only get smarter, more intuitive and more effective. Being a technology innovator in the investment sector is a very exciting place to be right now.




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