Tech Trends Driving Higher Education in 2021 and Beyond

The campuses that were bustling with life a year ago now have a deserted look. The dormitories, classrooms, and practical rooms all wait for normalcy to return. The pandemic has impacted all walks of life, and the universities are no different. As per the latest New York Times survey comprising 1,900 American colleges and universities, there have been 397000 cases and about 90 deaths due to the coronavirus.

The explosion of the virus and the regulations to curb the spread have expedited the adoption of technology. Universities that were warming up to technology before the pandemic are now swiftly embracing technology to overcome the pandemic’s challenges and chart out their future course of action.

Here are the top trending technologies that have got the education industry’s attention and are sure to have a long-standing impact on the education industry and system.

AI drives operational and administrative efficiency

AI’s impact on the education sector or specifically in higher learning institutes can be manifold. Many universities or institutions are already leveraging AI to deliver time-sensitive academic and admin tasks, increase enrollment, improve IT processes and amplify the learning experience. A Wall Street Journal article noted that the Georgia Institute of Technology addressed 40% of student’s queries using an AI-powered chatbot assistant freeing up humans to tackle complex questions. AI could also spell good news for students with hearing and visual impairments by refining language translations and providing improved access.

While AI’s potential has been a topic of discussion at institutions, its adoption in the education industry is still lagging. A 2019 survey revealed that implementation was the most significant challenge institutions faced in adopting AI. Only 41% of universities have chalked out a strategy on utilizing AI. Another major deterrent is the cost involved, with 57% of institutions having a separate budget for AI projects.

Hybrid learning delivers continuity, convenience, and safety

With the contagious virus on the prowl student, health and safety have become priorities for institutions. The learning environment is poised for a significant overhaul. Hybrid learning or blended learning is the best option available to institutions. The students’ young age on campus is another reason hybrid learning is a perfect fit for the current day and age. Statistics from Bill and Melinda Foundation reveal the 55% of today’s college and university students are Gen Zers. The new generation of students is well averse to using technology. Pew Research highlighted that 95% of Gen Zers have access to smartphones while close to 97% use one of the major learning platforms.

A recently concluded survey by the Institute of International Education has revealed that 9 out of 10 universities in the US plan to implement the hybrid learning model across their campuses. 92% of institutions participating in the survey suggested looking at a wholly revamped instructional plan starting fall 2020.

Immersive, engaging, and impactful learning experiences using AR/VR

Not long ago, the thought of remote learning, especially for higher education, was a distant dream. The biggest challenge to any such suggestion was the impact of in-person classes conducted by the professor in charge, the face-to-face interactions, live demonstrations, and the practical sessions. The emergence of the coronavirus and the social distancing regulation compelled colleges to go digital. Every need has a solution. In this case, the need for real conversations, universities turned to AR/VR that had already made inroads into the classroom. As per Burroughs, 2018 and Internet2, 2019, as of 2018, 18% of universities and colleges had fully deployed VR, 28% had used it to some extent, and 32% were testing the technology. Gartner predicts that by 2021, 60 higher education institutions in the United States will focus on using VR to create simulations and put students into immersive environments.

Through its Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning (VITaL), San Diego State University’s Instructional Technology Services is using VR capabilities to teach students astronomy. Students in Western Carolina University’s (NC) School of Nursing are using VR to virtually attend to rare emergencies and understand how to attend to such instances. In another compelling use case, Fordham University’s (NY) Gabelli School of Business teaches its students lessons in leadership and teamwork using VR. Students in this particular exercise walk on a 1400 foot skyscraper urged by team members or guided by fellow students to diffuse bombs.

Robust ‘anywhere’ learning systems with cloud technologies

Campuses are sophisticated systems similar to bustling cities. Apart from learning systems, they provide transportation, campus safety, accounting, administration, and everything else required to run a well-oiled system for the residents, in this case, the students. All these facilities provided by the institutions need to run cohesively. Embracing the cloud enables institutions to create a data-centric mindset and rely more on quantifiable data measurement to drive and assess enrollment functions. Institutions are adopting cloud products to leap towards process re-engineering to aim for system-wide digital transformation. The approach will reduce information silos and enable standardization of data driving information sharing, boosting efficiency and sustainable growth.

The pandemic has put an enormous financial burden on institutions. Budget cuts for public institutions and diminishing private funds and endowments have further crippled institutions’ financial capability to harness cloud capabilities helping colleges and universities balance their expenses while benefiting from the high-standard IT services.

The Julliard School for performing arts having its physical presence in New York, will be training 800 students from 42 different countries. The faculty will be training all these students from its campus in Manhattan. The cloud powers Julliard’s digital foray.

Conclusion

Like every other industry, the higher education domain needs a revamp. Campuses across the United States are increasing digital transformation speed to face any unforeseen eventuality. Trigent is at the forefront of enabling institutions and universities to quickly and efficiently utilize technology advances. Our domain expertise empowers institutions to promptly ramp-up capabilities backed by our technology experts.

Let us together build a digitally strong foundation for an empowered future. Call us today.

3 ways to beat the competition and stay ahead in the Media and Entertainment industry

The media and entertainment sector saw quite a few changes with respect to content development, aggregation, and delivery as major players in the business adopted new strategies and agile approaches to leverage the changing consumer demands. Everything evolved in the M&E industry; mainstream movies battled with the growing popularity of digital OTT content while music records and CDs were replaced by music streaming apps and Apple iTunes. Then there was the pandemic which despite posing several challenges also offered an impetus to the M&E industry.

As Deloitte’s global TMT industry leader Ariane Bucaille explains, “There have been five years of change in five months due to the pandemic. Covid-19 has been a catalyst – an unwelcome one, but still a catalyst – for needed changes across the TMT landscape.”

The fast-evolving OTT landscape

The global OTT market size that stood at $171B in 2020 is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 29.4% to touch $1,039B by 2027. Ad-supported VoD platforms are doing increasingly well amidst the pandemic with ad revenue of the five major ad-supported streaming platforms namely Hulu, Peacock, Roku, Pluto TV, and Tubi touching 31% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020.

47% of households have increased their use of content streaming services, 60% of respondents have signed up for free trials of subscription video on demand (SVOD) services due to the pandemic and a good 15% are ready to become paying members once the free trial concludes. From 35% in Q1 2019, the churn rate among OTT services in the United States has gone up to 41% in Q1 2020. The United States, which is also one of the largest OTT markets in the world, tops the national average at 8.55 hours of viewing time spent on OTT video content as compared to the global average of 6.8 hours per week.

As the market continues to see growth in the number of M&E studios and OTT service providers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to win this race. It is certainly challenging to create your own niche in this overly crowded market, though there’s a lot you can do to stay ahead and rise above the noise.

We believe M&E companies can get a competitive advantage if they meet the new demands of consumers by concentrating their efforts on 3 fronts – Experience, Technology, and Marketing.

Here are our top recommendations for you to consider to underpin the M&E domain like a pro:

  1. Tailor-made viewing experience to retain customers

Consumers are in demand as they continue to grab free trials, seek original content, and balance costs between paid, premium, and ad-supported services. They are quick to choose, sign up and cancel as well, as research indicates that 62% signed up to watch a particular show and cut the service once they were done while 43% canceled the same day once they realized they did not want it anymore.

This gives little or no time for providers to level up and respond. Besides, viewers are jumping from one platform to another as more immersive platforms see the light of the day. From live to connected TV, desktops to mobile, and new immersive platforms driven by Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) – the transition is for all to see. Advertising models are being revised too in order to factor in this paradigm shift making way for native, vertical, 360-degree, and programmatic ads. Ad-supported video streaming services (AVOD) are also being well-received.

M&E companies must study and monitor consumer behavior closely to understand whether certain behaviors are temporary or are pointing towards a permanent shift in preference. For instance, ‘watch party’ became quite a trend wherein groups of people watched movies and other video content together using popular social media platforms, but whether the trend will continue even after the pandemic is something that needs to be seen.

  1. Technologies to spur growth

The media and entertainment ecosystem can benefit a great deal if companies rest their strategies on technology foundations to navigate their infrastructures to next-generation architectures. The ones that play pivotal roles include:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – AI is the key to personalization as consumers continue to look for personalized content recommendations from service providers. Recommendations apply to both contents as well as ads that users may be inclined to watch. AI in tandem with machine learning will also offer insights into the payment preferences of consumers. In fact, 66% of respondents had in fact opined in favor of having an AI-powered digital assistant too.

Augmented /Virtual Reality (AR/VR) – We’re now seeing increasing adoption of digital technologies like AR/VR as the wave of innovation sweeps over M&E. With continuous advances in AR/VR, both will play an important role in offering rich, deeply engaging, multisensory experience. While cloud, edge computing, and 5G will move VR forward, AI technology will continue to push AR into the realm of mainstream. AR market value is predicted to go up to USD 200 billion by 2025 from just USD 5.9 billion in 2018.

Digital transformation – As technology continues to prove its worth, M&E companies are now making more investments in the development of intelligent enterprises. Higher efficiencies and lower operational costs while staying aligned to business objectives have become their forever goals. The focus is now on digital transformation. As Jennifer Cooper, Global Head of Media and Communications Industry Strategy & Solutions, Microsoft points out, “The disruption created by COVID-19 has agitated the industry into accelerating innovation and digital transformation in areas that were previously only in planning stages of cloud migration. The stage is set for an industry-wide metamorphosis.”

Stringent data privacy measures – As instances of a data breach and misuse of consumer data continue to plague the minds of viewers, M&E companies should invest in disruptive technologies such as AI and Blockchain to protect their identity and also detect and block deepfakes. When leveraged correctly, blockchain offers transparency, immutability, and decentralization to help distinguish between a real and a fake video and verify the legitimacy of content.

  1. Marketing mantras to strike a chord with customers

The way you promote your content can make a world of difference to your M&E business. Here’s what you can do:

Grab their attention – There’s a lot to see when it comes to digital content but consumers will almost always remember how they feel when they engage with the content. For instance, ‘live’ content never disappoints viewers because it gives them the feeling of witnessing everything first hand. Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries for instance asks viewers to share their opinions & findings on episodes aired making the whole experience more engaging and personal.

Go multi-platform – Often overlooked, yet very important for your entertainment app success is to ensure that you meet your customers on different platforms. For instance, non-subscribers will not have access to trailers of upcoming shows and seasons unless you promote them through targeted advertisements and postings on different social media platforms.

Advocate ethical practices – It is important that topical issues are handled with sensitivity. It is becoming increasingly common to participate in societal revolutions one believes in. Make sure that you have content fact-checking policies in place to ensure that you adhere to ethics and transparency and imbibe them well in your brand culture.
Leverage the power of personalization – You can maintain a good rapport with your followers by engaging with them through social media advertisements, push notification strategies, and emailers announcing a new season launch, etc. Without being intrusive, you can connect with them and stay on top of their mind through these simple but effective gestures.

Sharpen your competitive edge with Trigent

It’s easy to reimagine your M&E business growth with a specialist by your side. We can help you chart your digital journey successfully with robust apps designed to succeed while delivering value and experience to consumers consistently. Together, we can study consumer behavior to come up with a more nuanced approach to empower you to lead in this overly crowded market. Our agile technologies at the helm of strategies are just what you need to stay ahead.

Book a consultation today. We’re just a click away.

Four disruptive technologies for Banking in 2019

In the brave new world of banking and financial services, technology has become the key to a locker filled with goodies. As a result, it is not impossible to imagine a future where opening a bank or a financial company is as simple as connecting an appliance. In that world, a robot could guide an investor on the best possible options or you could walk into a bank manned by robot tellers. PWC’s report titled ‘Financial Services Technology 2020 and Beyond: Embracing disruption‘ envisages a future where the impossible will become reality. While this list may seem a little too futuristic, banks and financial services organizations are already feeling the tremors of new technology waves that are disrupting existing business models to pave the way for faster, smarter, cheaper operations.

Here are a few emerging technology disrupters:

Distributed ledger technology (DLT)

Algorithms are enabling the collaborative creation of digital distribution ledgers that are far smarter than their paper counterparts. Distributed ledgers are asset databases that can be shared across multiple devices, sites, and geographies where participants can own identical copies of the ledger. Used for various purposes, these ledgers are stored in cryptographic forms and accessed with electronic keys and signatures. Participants, based on rule-based permissions, can update these ledgers, whenever required.

Accelerating change in financial services through Digital Transformation

Distributed ledgers are beneficial to banks as they can reflect changes on a real-time basis. As they are extremely secure, they prevent unauthorized entries, making corruption virtually impossible. As a technology solution, distributed ledgers reside on top of existing applications. Within the field of distributed ledgers, block chain is one more method of distributed ledgers. However, block chain is restricted to a sequential model while DLs do not necessarily fit into a sequential pattern when distributing ledgers. Distributed ledgers may be a good first step forward with immediate benefits for the banking sector.

Artificial Intelligence

Robo-advisor – Fancy though the name sounds, robo-advisors have been around for over a decade. However, it is only in the recent past that this concept has gained popularity. Robo-advisor is an algorigthm-based AI for automated financial advice. This concept has become especially popular for small investors with limited investment options. However, even in cases of larger investments requiring complex decision-making, robo advisors help to automate activities such as tax losses and rebalancing. Robo advisors are useful for single investment goals, and are very good with automated portfolio rebalancing.

As an add-on service, banks can provide value-added services to customers using robo-advisors. Customers can, thus, benefit from customized financial plans and automated investing. One of the key advantages of robo-advisors is the ability to negate human-made calculation mistakes. Uncolored by human emotions, robo-advisors rely purely on algorithms and numbers, reducing chances of errors in investment decisions. In the competitive world of banking, robo-advisors can combine the derive intelligence on existing customers to offer customized investment plans that are beneficial to banks and customers.

e-KYC and identity

Know Your Customer (KYC) is a process adopted by businesses who offer products and services to traders, customers and agents. It is also a process followed by financial services organizations to adhere to regulatory requirements and also to target segment customers. Till recently KYC was a physical activity which required human intervention. While several organizations continue to rely on physical KYC, some forward thinking financial institutions are incorporating eKYC as a procedure for information and verification on customers. By minimizing paperwork and manual labor, eKYC presents a huge opportunity for banks to reduce operational costs without compromising security and information. eKYC reduces paper dependencies thereby helping to avoid identity thefts, and eliminating forgery. Banks can adopt eKYC as it is extremely secure. In the future, eKYC would be the first step forward in a world of secure, paperless transactions.

Cybersecurity

According to the 2017 True Cost of Fraud Study from LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, financial services companies earning at least half of their revenues through digital channels incur up to $3.04 in costs for every dollar lost to cyber-fraud. However, as per the same survey, banks that adopted a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity experience less than 50 percent of the average losses attributed to lapse in cyber security. To ensure cybersecurity, banks are leaning on digital identity intelligence, advanced behavioral analysis, clear-box machine learning technics and integrated risk based authentication. With over one billion new internet users entering the field on an annual basis, the fear of cyber threats can be extremely overwhelming. However, digital identity-based authentication is helping to control fears while providing a real boost to this industry.

To summarize, technology disruptors are providing opportunities and challenges to the banking sector. While challenges such as data breaches, cyber attacks and compromised data will be a fear factor, banks that want to meet the heightened needs of customers should plunge ahead and adapt digital technologies for competitive success.