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WeBank, IBM and Other Organizations Jointly Held the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning in conjunction with IJCAI 2019

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Once a concept, AI is now ushering in a key stage of application. What’s the solution to the data silos among businesses? Given the enhanced regulation on data at home and abroad, what’s the solution to data privacy and security concerns? What’s the status quo of Federated Machine Learning and how to establish an ecosystem for FML in the future?

WeBank, IBM and other organizations jointly held the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning for User Privacy and Data Confidentiality (FML’19) in conjunction with the 28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-19) on Aug. 12, 2019, to further discussion on these issues.

President of IJCAI, Chair of FML Steering Committee, Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang delivered opening remarks at the workshop. Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad from IBM and Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google presented keynote addresses. In the panel discussion, top scholars from WeBank, Bar-Ilan University, IBM, Squirrel AI, Google, Huawei, Clustar, Sinovation Ventures and many other renowned enterprises and universities shared and discussed their findings and experience in FML as an emerging AI technology.

This workshop received 40 papers, of which 12 were presented during the workshop, 19 presented via poster. Awards include Best Theory Paper Award, Best Application Paper Award, Best Student Paper Award, Best Presentation Award. Selected high quality papers will be invited for publication in a special issue in the IEEE Intelligent Systems journal. All these attracted numerous scholars to engage in discussions and join efforts for building the FML ecosystem.

Experts from IBM and Google Share Groundbreaking Findings with a Focus on the Theory and Application of FML

Privacy and security are becoming a key concern in our digital age. On 25th May last year, the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the EU, the toughest Act on data privacy protection, stressed that user data collection must be open and transparent. A series of laws and regulations from China and overseas also pose new challenges to the traditional way of handling data and model for cooperation. Seeking ways for AI to adapt to this new reality became top priority, a demand that led to this workshop on FML.

A wealth of solutions and breakthroughs were shared by Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad from IBM and Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google in their speech on FML.

Besides how FML can help tackle challenges in the business world, Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad also shared the concept of Fusion AI, which means to train models on widely distributed data sets, but fuse them to produce one equivalent to what centralized training would yield. “Unlike traditional machine learning, in Fusion AI, model parameters are shared and data is not transferred, which makes Fusion AI model better than models that moving data centrally.” Given the widely distributed data, the development of Fusion AI and FML became ever important and imminent.

“FML enables machine learning engineers and data scientists to work productively with decentralized data with privacy by default,” said Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google. He also shared with us how FML works and its use cases at Google. In the case of Gboard, as on-device data is privacy sensitive or large or is more relevant than server-side proxy data, and labels can be inferred naturally via user interaction, the application of Federated RNN compared to prior n-gram model can increase the accuracy of next-word prediction by 24%, and the click rate of prediction strip by 10%.

Major Figure Panelists Discuss the Way Ahead for FML

The moderator of the panel discussion, AI Principal Scientist of WeBank Dr. Lixin Fan joined panelists including Professor Benny Pinkas from Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad of IBM Academy of Technology, Chief Architect of Squirrel AI Dr. Richard Tong, Research Scientist of Google Dr. Jakub Konečný, Dr. Baofeng Zhang from CTO Office of CBG Software in Huawei, Executive VP of Clustar Dr. Junxue Zhang, VP of AI Institute in Sinovation Ventures Dr. Ji Feng and other experts in a host of in-depth exchanges with attendees, to shed light on the way ahead for FML.

Experts shared thoughts in the panel discussion on questions including but not limited to: How to meet the security and compliance requirements? Is there a way to extend the value of data while observing user privacy and data security? Given the classic trade-off between data regulation and development of AI, how to achieve the long-term goal of establishing a stable and win-win business ecosystem?

List of Award-Winners

Best Theory Paper Award, Best Application Paper Award, Best Student Paper Award and Best Presentation Award selected by all attendees were announced at the closing of the workshop.

Best Theory Paper Award: 
Preserving User Privacy for Machine Learning: Local Differential Privacy or Federated Machine Learning? By Huadi Zheng, Haibo Hu & Ziyang Han;

Best Application Paper Award: 
FedHealth: A Federated Transfer Learning Framework for Wearable Healthcare. By Yiqiang ChenJindong WangChaohui YuWen Gao & Xin Qin;

Best Student Paper Award: 
Quantifying the Performance of Federated Transfer Learning. By Qinghe JingWeiyan Wang, Junxue Zhang, Han Tian & Kai Chen;

Best Presentation Award: 
Federated Generative Privacy. By Aleksei Triastcyn and Boi Faltings.

President of IJCAI, Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang, Chief Architect of Squirrel AI Dr. Richard TongandVP of AI Institute in Sinovation Ventures Dr. Ji Feng presented the awards.

“The mission of this International Federated Machine Learning Workshop is to facilitate further understanding in the academia, business community as well as legal and regulatory institutions by promoting the establishment of FML ecosystem in the hope that more businesses will join and build a platform for students aspired to work in FML to find research teams that suit them,” said Professor Qiang Yang.

Held Aug. 10-16, 2019 in Macao, China, IJCAI-19 is one of the leading International Academic Conference on AI, attracting over 3000 AI research personnel and experts. The 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning (FML’19) was a highlight for experts joining this event. Visionaries in the academia and industrial sector expressed the willingness to be part of the effort for academic research, application of FML in the future, and the development and boom of AI ecosystem.

Fintech

Credify announces seed investment by BEENEXT and DEEPCORE

Vlad Poptamas

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Credify Pte Ltd is proud to announce it has successfully closed a USD 1M seed round investment with two leading Venture Capital funds: BEENEXT and DEEPCORE.

Credify provides Universal Identity and Trust System solutions to companies active in e-commerce and finance. Credify’s Universal Identity product acts as a personal data bridge, connecting consuming services like e-commerce marketplaces and lending platforms with institutions that possess valuable, yet untapped information like identity verification results and credit scores. In this way, Credify enables entirely new revenue streams for these traditional organisations in a completely secure and data privacy compliant manner.

On top of this powerful identity system, Credify is developing an innovative credibility mechanism that addresses issues inherent to the trust systems we rely on in e-commerce and digital lending, like fraud and manipulation, that lead to an estimated USD 1T in transacted value being negatively impacted every year.

Chosen out of 250+ companies around the world, Credify is one of the outstanding startups in Plug and Play Japan’s 2020 FinTech Accelerator program. Credify was also awarded the UK Tech Rocketship: Future of Financial Services Award 2019 by the UK’s Department of International Trade and Scottish Development International.

This funding round allows Credify to enhance the development of its suite of products, further localize its software development operations in South East Asia, and move ahead with its live client engagements. ASEAN nations represent the fastest growth opportunities globally in FinTech and E-commerce: USD 72B FinTech market with 72.5% CAGR by 2020, and USD 102B E-commerce market by 2025. At the same time, South East Asia fraud rates in finance and e-commerce are one of the highest globally. Credify aims to tackle these issues with its leading-edge technologies.

Credify CEO Makoto Tominaga expressed his excitement: “This investment from BEENEXT and DEEPCORE represents far more value than the capital that will assist us as we execute on our vision to elevate trust in digital economies. Both firms bring with them strong networks within our target markets and deep understanding of the strategic and practical execution necessary to transform early stage businesses to large-scale growth enterprises. Credify could not have asked for better partners in this early stage of our journey, and we are overwhelmed with appreciation to have this opportunity to work with both teams for many years to come.”

BEENEXT CEO Teruhide Sato shared his thoughts on the investment: “We were impressed by the quality of Credify’s multi-disciplinary team and the technology they have developed which provides great synergies with some of our portfolio companies. We look forward to supporting Credify in its business development and expansion in South East Asia and beyond.”

DeepCore commented: “We appreciate the Credify team’s deep understanding of the industry’s pain points and the ability to implement cutting-edge technologies, such as blockchain, into systems to solve issues. We hope that the excellent team that has developed the business at KERNEL HONGO will expand its business to the world by solving issues in areas where counterparty risk occurs.”

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Consumers Are Willing to Share Personal Data in Exchange for Better Customer Experience, Broadridge Study Finds

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Amidst a backdrop of increasing emphasis on data privacy via the introductions of the General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act, nearly half of consumers in North America (45%) would be willing to share their data if it meant that it would enhance their customer experience (CX), according to a new study from global Fintech leader Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:BR).

The annual study, which surveys the opinions of more than 3,000 individuals in North America on topics relating to consumer experience and essential communications, revealed that consumers’ desire for enhanced experiences coincided with an even stronger sentiment around the need for more data privacy legislation. In fact, more than 84% want more legislation that increases their ability to protect and control the personal data they provide companies, as well as greater transparency on how their data is used.

“Data privacy concerns are at a peak, and yet consumers are placing immense value on their experiences and are willing to share more of their personal data if it enhances the services they receive in return,” said Matt Swain, managing director and practice lead for communications consulting services at Broadridge. “Data is the bedrock of customer experience and providers of essential communications, like bills and statements, have a significant opportunity to modernize the way they customize consumers’ experiences. This can only be done if they are clear about what data is needed, how it will be managed and, ultimately, how it will improve the lives of their customers – on and offline.”

Demand for Paperless Communications Rises, and Companies are Missing Out

When it comes to essential communications, interest in going digital is growing. Compared to the 45% who prefer paper, two out of three respondents (67%) switched at least one bill or statement to paperless in the last year.

Although there’s increasing demand for digital bills and statements, the data suggests a missed opportunity for companies to grow paperless adoption, customer engagement and convenience at the onset of the relationship, while cutting costs. Only four out of 10 consumers were asked to go paperless when they opened a new account and 29% said that they were never asked at all.

In terms of motivations for going paperless, most respondents (72%) agree that reducing clutter was their primary reason for switching to online communications from their providers this past year.

Helping Consumers Take Financial Control with Advanced Features

Consumers making the leap to paperless are also increasingly looking to get more out of their bills and statements so they can take control of their finances. In fact, 72% would prefer advanced options, such as customizable dashboards, to control the look and feel of bills and statements. For those who have investment or retirement funds, insights and recommendations on their activities and spending relative to their financial goals are increasingly important (59%).

Interestingly, nearly one-third (29%) of respondents say they never review their bills or statements for reoccurring “zombie subscriptions,” which often hit consumers’ bank accounts unexpectedly.

Beyond customization of communications, consumers also want centralized delivery and storage options for bills and statements in the cloud (40%), particularly when it comes to accessing important and time-sensitive financial information. More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents say having all their financial documents in one archived location would make things like filing taxes much easier.

“Companies have the opportunity to transform the customer experience through bills and statements,” added Swain. “By reframing these household communications, companies can create more meaningful engagement with their consumers, helping simplify and organize their bills and statements, while also creating new layers of brand equity and additional revenue opportunities.”

To download the report, click here.

Methodology
Broadridge Customer Communications commissioned ENGINE to conduct a CARAVAN Omnibus Survey. The 45-question survey was administered between November 6-13, 2019, to 3,006 U.S. and Canadian residents ages 25 and older. The sample was weighted to current U.S. and Canadian Census data for age, gender and region. The figures are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level with a margin of error of ±2 percentage points.

 

SOURCE Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.

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Hitting $12B in AUM, Carson Doubles Down on Cutting Tech Costs for Partners

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Carson Group, one of the fastest growing financial services firms in the country, announced that as of April 1, 2020, Carson will cover technology costs for all partner firms—encompassing software platforms Salesforce, Orion, Smarsh and Egnyte. eMoney will also be covered as of May 1, 2020. Instead of spending time and money evaluating and adopting technology, wirehouse advisors, IARs and RIAs in the Carson Partners network can now, more than ever, focus on what matters and maximize the value they deliver to the families they serve.

Carson President Teri Shepherd said, “Reaching $12 billion AUM is a testament to our advisors and their dedication to serving nearly 32,000 families across the United StatesWe want our partners to have the resources to continuously reinvest in optimization and growth. Paying for the tech stack is the latest example of our commitment to helping advisors serve their clients while empowering them to focus on being the CEO of their business.”

Carson Group had unveiled plans to eliminate the financial burden on advisor businesses leveraging the Carson CX (client experience) at its flagship industry-wide Excell conference in Chicago in May 2019. Plans for discounted services and direct cost savings to partners were among the key messages shared during Carson’s Partner Summit that takes place during Excell each year. The team announced zero costs on Orion Advisor Services fees within advisory accounts, which averaged a savings of more than $22,000 per advisor firm.

Bob Huntley, Founder and Wealth Advisor of Texas-based Carson partner firm Wise Counsel Wealth Management said, “I cannot tell you how exciting it is to be part of this movement Ron Carson has built. I am already making plans to reinvest 100 percent of the savings back into growth this year.”

This commitment to eliminating tech costs is the latest in an ongoing rollout of Carson CX (customer experience) releases and technology enhancements to help make complex issues simple for advisors and investors across the country. Over the past year, the organization has rolled out several value-added advisor services and support to its ecosystem, including an expanded brokerage solution, M&A consulting to help its advisors grow their practices, succession planning, and cash management options through its partnership with Galileo Money+, a new mobile-only banking service, available exclusively through financial advisors.

Carson Group serves advisors and investors in more than 120 partner offices across the country, including 24 Carson Wealth offices. In addition to being a mainstay in the Barron’s annual list of top wealth management firms, Carson Group remains among the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies, has been recognized for two consecutive years by InvestmentNews as a top-50 firm for Best Places to Work for Financial Advisors, and was recently awarded a Best Places to Work in FinTech by American Banker.

 

SOURCE Carson Group

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