Technology is advancing so rapidly that, according to one IBM expert, “by 2015, we will have enough computing power to match the power in the human brain.”
Daniel Yellin, director, Software Technology Services and Software for IBM Research, Hawthorne, N.Y., said trends are moving in a direction that will put “tremendous computing power at our fingertips.”
Speaking at the recent IASA Educational Conference and Business Show held here, Yellin told participants that such technology advances would allow insurers to “evaluate the value of your customersas lifetime customersto your enterprise.” He added that real-time analytics and fraud detection are also just around the corner.
Insurance, and financial services overall, are changing technologically in two ways, he explained. First, more and more companies are moving away from “doing everything on their own” and are outsourcing some operations. “Companies are interacting with each other much more, and that leads to best-of-breed products.”
Second, he noted, insurance companies are trying to break down information “silos” based on products and distribution channels in order to share distribution and to leverage data components across different enterprises.
Such progress, Yellin said, is and will be fueled by increasing computing ability. “Technology isnt just doing the same things faster, but it enables new things to be done,” he asserted.
“The dramatic improvement in information technology will continue,” he noted. In the area of data storage, he pointed out that while a DVD today contains an entire movie, “in the future, on a single device, will be Blockbuster [Video].”
One technology that will enable business advances is grid computing, which takes advantage of the unused processing power in idle computers within an enterprise, said Yellin. “Computers hooked together on a grid can use unused power to do calculations you couldnt do before,” he pointed out. This means that while a financial advisors computing resources today may be able to analyze a portfolio in about four minutes, “on the grid, it would be seconds,” he stated.
On the other hand, Yellin indicated that the reign of Moore’s Lawwhich holds that computing power will double every 18 monthsis coming to an end, in that progress will be somewhat slower. The main barriers to continuation of such increases are physical, involving power consumption and heat problems, he said.