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Auto industry races into metaverse at CES

The auto industry is getting a tantalizing taste of the metaverse at the huge CES technology show: One gadget on display in Las Vegas is an in-car television system, developed by French parts maker Valeo, that needs no remote. To change the channel, drivers or passengers wearing a headset make a simple swipe in the air with their hand, and sensors in the car detect the movement.  For users who dislike the feel of a full headset, sensors on a vehicle’s exterior make it possible to integrate actual pedestrians or landscapes into virtual reality (VR) images, said Ghaya Khemiri, who leads the Valeo project. And if sensors detect that a person is feeling stressed, the system can offer soothing images to promote relaxation. Movies on the windshield – Holoride, a start-up backed by automaker Audi, is already selling a virtual reality headset intended solely for rear-seat passengers. The system allows users to watch a movie or play a video game using a controller, and synchronizes VR content to the movements of the car to prevent nausea. A new version introduced by Holoride at CES can work in any car. German automaker BMW presented a concept car for upcoming models that combines “the real and virtual worlds.” The system showcases a potential project involving augmented reality images projected on the windshield — such as the car’s speed or direction — and could even transform the entire windshield into a screen to watch a movie. “Although a fully immersive, interconnected metaverse remains years away, mobility stakeholders can already capture real business value from the technologies designed to enable it,” said a report from the McKinsey consulting firm. Italian carmaker Fiat launched what it called “a metaverse store” where clients can research, configure and even purchase a vehicle with the help of an online assistant. Remote repairs – If technologies continue to improve — notably the “haptic” devices that simulate a touching sensation — consumers could virtually “examine a highly realistic replica of a vehicle, opening its doors, feeling its seats, accelerating onto a highway – just as they would with a real car,” McKinsey said.  And if a vehicle breaks down, a technician could remotely guide a user to make simple repairs. The metaverse can play a role in designing new products or more easily testing them in differing environments. Alexandre Corjon, the head of innovation for French parts maker Plastic Omnium, came to CES to explore ways his company could apply the new technologies. The metaverse could, for example, make it possible to show a client how a recycled material might react in a specific form and “demonstrate to the designer the effect that would have” on the vehicle, Alexandre Corjon, the head of innovation for French parts maker Plastic Omnium,  said. It could also show the Industry Auto  industry virtual reality sell automobiles rear-seat passengers global management team electric and autonomous car CES technology show car television system superiority of a new product. The group might also experiment with using the metaverse for meetings of its global management team — saving them the hassle of hitting the road in the first place.

Key cyber fraud trends to look out for in 2023

According to Statista, online fraud increased by 285% in 2021 as the fallout of the pandemic continued, as businesses globally lost $20 billion over that period. Macroeconomic Backdrop & The Pandemic – The ongoing global slowdown is expected to cost more than $17 trillion, nearly 20% of the world’s income. Identity Theft & Synthetic Identities – Identity fraud, especially synthetic identity fraud, is a growing problem that can cause significant losses for individuals, businesses, and financial institutions. While it can be challenging to quantify the actual losses due to synthetic identity fraud, detecting and tracking this type of fraud is difficult as identities are created using a combination of real and fictitious information. Almost 8-12% of the identities verified by the Bureau in 2022 turned out to be fraudulent. Money Mules –  Money mule schemes disguised as legitimate jobs are likely to percolate through internet job sites, unregulated online forums, and social media groups in 2023.  FIs should remain diligent in detecting money muling activity and be aware of changes to the demographics of potential mules. UPI Fraud – India’s United Payment Interface(UPI) has revolutionized the digital payment ecosystem, emerging as the most preferred digital payment method for Indians. However, fraudulent activity on this channel has been escalating in recent times. According to the complaints reported on the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (NCRP) between the first and second quarters of 2022, UPI  fraud has risen by 34%. The corresponding uptick in cybercrime complaints, in general, is 15.3%. This trend might continue, given the surging percolation of UPI payments in our daily lives.  Crypto Scams/Rug-pulls – The ongoing, heightened volatility in the market for crypto-assets provides the perfect backdrop for scammers to play on narratives centered around fear and greed. These scammers typically impersonate new businesses to offer fraudulent tokens. In 2023, the Bureau anticipates that cryptocurrency scams will increase by 25%, as fraudsters might increase the use of deep fakes to deceive victims into parting with their money.BOT Attacks – A bot attack is the use of automated web requests to defraud or disrupt a website, application, API, or end-users. Such attacks started as simple spamming operations but have branched into complex, multinational criminal enterprises over the past few years. Fraud Trends in Web3 / Metaverse – Identity verification has emerged to be a major issue for Web3 organizations. Scaling up product offerings in this space requires carefully curating users with valid identities. At the Bureau, we foresee a growing trend of institutional use of such technology. This requires enterprise-grade controls to mitigate fraud and compliance risk. 

Quick commerce may find it tough to bag new users, investors in 2023

When the Covid-19 pandemic arrived on Indian shores, the one requirement that everyone locked up at home felt was that of quick buying and even quicker delivery. And out of this trend came the new buzzword Quick Commerce which attracted big bucks. Over the past 12 months, these same investors who applauded cash-burning are now not interested.  A report published quotes Aadit Palicha of Zepto to suggest that funding has all but evaporated in 2022 and things go further downhill in 2023, given the tough private equity conditions as well as the precarious conditions that some of these VC-backed companies face. He believes that far greater unit economics and better execution would be the key to revival. Zepto itself hasn’t raised any money in spite of appointing investment banking firm Avendus Capital to argue their case. Of course, the company raised a whopping $200 million in May to go up the valuation chain at around $900 million. In fact, Palicha’s mantra seems to be in vogue as Dunzo, Blinkit and Instamart have followed suit on enhancing unit economics.    Is there light at the end of the cash burn? Of course, they do perceive a silver lining in terms of how the local departmental stores have responded to these Quick Commerce players. In the absence of a delivery mechanism, several have closed down, especially in and around Bengaluru, which provides the likes of BigBasket and Blinkit with more options to enhance unit economics.  That said, the arrival of government-backed ONDC into the local commerce arena could be causing a few butterflies in their stomachs, given that the open network experiment works on the very principle of delinking the functions of a seller from that of payment and delivery. What this means is VCs could get even more concerned about burning more cash in 2023, preferring instead to wait and watch what ONDC and its network participants can come up with.   

Bite-sized content booms as viewers’ attention spans fall

Instagram reels, YouTube Shorts and many Indian short form video services have seen a huge uptick in users and engagement in the country following the ban on Chinese app TikTok. The genre in itself has seen a massive 150% CAGR growth and the year 2021 is estimated to have ended with 180-200 million users for short video apps according to a recent BCG report. Meanwhile, the attention span of the users has dropped by 25% — to eight seconds — in the last few years. High-speed Internet along with shrinking attention spans has led to content being consumed anytime and anywhere, players say. With more content being created in regional languages, this is an opportunity for both viewers in non-urban towns and the creator economy, besides brands using cultural nuances to connect better with target audiences. “With shrinking attention spans, there is a constant desire for fresh and engaging content among users. People have started paying more attention to shorter content formats for bite-sized entertaining content that can be consumed anytime and anywhere. As more content is being created in Indian regional languages, more Indians across urban and non-urban regions are engaging with such snackable yet relatable content. The creator economy is also getting a boost in India due to this trend with several sustainable monetisation opportunities. Short video apps are also optimized for the scroll – there’s no space for decision fatigue, unlike TV and OTTs, and the content and platform come together to make it highly addictive, making users spend more time than they plan to, agreed Shreya Agarwal, head of FilterCopy, a Pocket Aces owned channel for short videos. She added that platforms also invest in and experiment with features to make it easier. For example, Instagram helps users edit their selection of videos and images to the beat of trending audios.

India’s internet industry expected to reach a valuation of $5 trillion by 2023

The internet industry in India is expected to grow up to $5 trillion in valuation by 2030, according to a Redseer Strategy Consultants. With 780 million users, India is home to the second largest internet user base in the world. “As digital will continue to play a significant role, India’s internet GMV (not valuation) will grow to about $1 trillion by 2030, equivalent to $5 trillion in public and private market cap,” the report said. An average Indian internet user spends 7.3 hours per day on their smartphone, among the highest in the world; most of these users are from tier 2 cities and beyond. The majority of content is consumed from online messaging platforms, social media, over-the-top (OTT) content, YouTube streaming, and short-form videos. “There is a new trend in content consumption where the time spent on user-generated content is 2X of platform-generated content,” the report said. The increase in digital consumption and penetration especially in tier-2 cities proved the primary growth driver for India’s digital advertising ecosystem. Going forward, India is expected to witness a massive surge in digital ad investments instead of driving sales. The Redseer report also reflected on the fate of Indian tech startups. In that context, it said that India is likely to see over 100 matured, large-scale, and profitable/path-to-profitability startups. 

Amazon to enter electricity trading

Amazon.com Inc. has secured a category-III power trading licence in India and is building a portfolio of wind and solar power to sell on local electricity exchanges. Amazon has signed power purchase agreements totalling 720 megawatts (MW) with Vibrant Energy, ReNew Energy Global, Amp Energy India and Brookfield Renewable, and is seeking to sign more such accords. The American retailer has established AEI New Energy Trading Pvt. Ltd for trading clean energy in India. Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing unit of the e-commerce giant, operates several data centres around the world, including India, that consume a significant amount of electricity. To help offset its carbon footprint, AWS has committed to using renewable energy and has invested in wind and solar energy projects globally. In addition, AWS also works with customers to help them cut carbon footprint and increase the use of renewable energy. Amazon, the largest corporate buyer of clean energy in the world, aims to power its operations with renewable energy by 2025 and become carbon neutral by 2040.

India’s Digital Public Goods Buildout is Amazing

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella lauded India’s strides in the adoption and work with digital public goods and termed it to be “phenomenal”. He also said digital public goods infrastructure driven by India is applicable globally. He was speaking at the Microsoft Future Ready Technology Summit in Bengaluru.  “What’s happening in India with digital public goods is phenomenal. It’s just unbelievable for me to see India stack mature and use cases between the technology and the policy. There’s nothing like that I see anywhere else in the world,” he said.  New inclusive ways – Nadella also said the digital public goods infrastructure driven in India like Aaadhar, UPI, account aggregator system, ONDC, Open AI protocols could have global applicability. He also lauded the idea that the digital public good has new ways to use to make it possible for every society and economy to be more inclusive in India. “PM Modi’s vision, the programs, and the India stack have co-evolved and that’s just a virtuous cycle that is unlike anything else in the world. These are perhaps the greatest contributions that India can make to the world,” he said in a conversation with Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani. While Nilekani underscored the acceleration of India stack, he also mentioned the growth of the start-up ecosystem in India, that has powered the technology sector.

PSBs to Set Up Joint Digital Platform to Connect with Fintech Companies

Public sector lenders including the State Bank of India will jointly set up a unified cloud-based digital platform to connect with fintech companies and source loans through them on a revenue-sharing basis. Under the model, fintech companies will conduct all preliminary credit checks through a third-party application platform interface (API) and account aggregators. They will then upload the completed loan application onto this digital platform. Individual banks can access these loan requests and fund them based on their internal credit risk parameters, sharing a commission or fee with the originating fintech company. “The idea is that the fintech firms will onboard large corporates and their suppliers or dealers for supply chain finance (SCF) business,” a senior bank executive. The framework will allow state-run banks to tap the extensive resource base of multiple fintech firms, reducing their own cost of sourcing loans and investing individually in expensive platforms or technologies. “The initiative will be led by PSB Alliance Ltd, and we are in the final stages of selecting a technology service provider to develop and manage this cloud-based platform,” the official said. PSB Alliance Ltd has been set up by public sector banks to act as an intermediary for them.The proposed digital platform will be integrated with the core banking systems of each public sector bank for disbursements and reporting. It will subsequently connect other small and medium enterprise (SME) account service firms, helping banks provide credit underwriting, transaction management and other micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) lending products.The finance ministry has been pushing banks to explore synergies with new-age fintech firms.

Asia Pacific Predictions 2023
In 2023, the global economic downturn will dampen trade, but APAC cross-border commerce will grow rapidly. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement removes tariffs, promotes e-commerce, and eases barriers and restrictions to regional trade for small- and medium-sized businesses. The RCEP and regional payment networks will boost cross-border commerce by 20%. Modern cross-border payment networks are poised to replace the 50-year-old SWIFT system. QR code-based systems, multi-central bank digital currency pilots across Southeast Asia, China’s Cross-Border Interbank Payment System, and India’s Unified Payments Interface use modern technology like blockchain and APIs for interoperability. Less than 20% of APAC firms will implement a customer obsessed approach via an experience architecture enabled by customer-centric business practices, good data, adaptable platforms, and connected employees and partners. The rest will be left playing whack-a-mole across physical and digital channels. are forcing firms to publicly commit to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts, but pressure to act quickly will lead some to misrepresent or overstate their actions. Offenders could face penalties of US$10 million or more as APAC regulators follow in the footsteps of their US and European counterparts and clamp down on misleading ESG claims. More than 50% of online adults in APAC markets — Australia, metro China, metro India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore — trust consumer tech companies, according to Forrester’s Consumer Trust Imperative Survey, 2022. But the honeymoon is coming to an end. Trust in consumer technology companies will shrink by 15%. In May 2022, the software stock market recorded a dramatic decline in value. Meta reported its first-ever revenue drop. Post-pandemic, reduced tech dependency will combine with trust and privacy issues — including an inability to protect users from emerging risks and a lack of effective ethical measures in digital environments — to progressively erode consumers’ trust. We predict that by the end of 2023, consumers’ trust in tech companies will shrink 15%. But the reduction in consumer trust will reach far beyond the consumer tech category. It’s already happening: In 2022, consumer trust in banks fell for the first time in several years. Robotic process automation (RPA) is the first step on most enterprises’ automation journey, both to drive efficiency and productivity and as a stepping stone toward creating a broader automation fabric to turbocharge digitisation. While most large firms in APAC have adopted RPA over the past five years, many struggle to identify high-value processes to automate. Process intelligence will revive 20% of failing RPA programs. Modern task- and process-mining tools help aggregate data from application event logs, patterns from employees’ desktop interactions, and context from work communications and then apply machine learning and visualizations to blend data and surface insights. Firms use these insights to optimize work, Marketing technology (martech) spend and the number of categories and vendors have grown steadily for years. In 2023, increasing costs, fundraising struggles, and intensifying competition will force a market correction. Martech vendors across categories will scramble to differentiate — whether through focused functionality such as a customer data platform, mobile-specific solutions, or industry concentration like in hospitality or healthcare. Vendors in the enterprise marketing suite category are already breaking into specialized segments. With fewer vendors attempting to meet (and communicate) end-to-end marketing needs, B2C marketers will have an easier time matching solutions to their capability gaps. Forrester’s Future Of Work Survey, 2022, shows that 68% of employees who can work remotely say they hope to work from home more often than they did pre-pandemic. But not all leaders are convinced. Some firms, including Goldman Sachs, are forcing a return to the office. In 2023, we predict acute confrontations within companies that don’t listen to and collaborate with employees in shaping hybrid-work policies. Adherence to in-office policies is already sketchy at best, and the threat of attrition looms large. Forty percent of hybridworking companies will try to undo anywhere work and fail. As economic uncertainty enters the anywhere-work calculus, we predict that 40% of hybrid-working companies will try to undo their anywhere-work policies, telling employees to come into the office more frequently. Expect headlines that a major bank is firing employees who don’t comply. Leaders: Don’t be one of the 50% of companies that will battle their employees and suffer a loss of productivity due to labour unrest. augmented reality (AR) was invented in 1968, but it didn’t hit the global mainstream until 48 years later with Niantic’s 2016 launch of Pokémon GO, which made AR accessible and approachable with a smartphone game. Few consumers see this kind of value yet in the metaverse. According to Forrester’s Media And Marketing Benchmark Recontact Survey, 2022, the majority of online adults in metro China (55%), metro India (68%), and Australia (68%) prefer to have social experiences in person. The metaverse needs a “Pokémon GO” moment — and we won’t see it in 2023. In 2023, we’ll see lots of “metaverse washing,” but smart brands will bypass simple repackagings of old immersive media experiences and do new things. This will involve reimagining hybrid experiences to seek new sources of revenue, insights, and customer engagement. demand teams face waning leads-based contributions to revenue results, the number of these teams reporting into sales organizations will spike to 20% by the end of 2023. One in three tech execs will tackle talent challenges with alternative partners. First, in the Forrester Analytics Business Technographics® Business And Technology Services Survey, 2021, 42% of APAC services decision-makers in enterprise organizations said they expect to increase their use of freelance talent marketplaces to support a healthier on-demand talent strategy. Implementation of in-region digital industrial platforms will rise by 30%. Accounting for 45% of global industry value added, APAC’s manufacturing, construction, utilities, and other industrial firms will lead industry cloud adoption via digital industrial platforms (DIPs) that enable firms to connect and analyze industrial data, bridging the physical and digital worlds to deliver sustainable customer value. They also help firms improve product life cycles by connecting industrial applications to e-commerce and social platforms.

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