Financial Technology Changes in 3 – 5 years

July 27, 2016

Fundamentals of banking is dissolving and being replaced with the new fintech world now to 10 yrs ahead.
The seeds are being sown now through the last 3-4 yrs. mobile banking, millennials, ubiquitous internet, evolving technology for distributed, libertarian controls being the triggers.
Conventional technology and process is fast turning a liability in this new order.

In the year 2018 and ahead any banking technology company  will find it tough to survive… as all the customers themselves will have a huge pressure on their profitability.

  • Security considerations are a reaction to the new fintech challenges.. Tighten and push the barriers higher
  • The millennials drive the change with less apprehension of risks in using alternate financial channels across mobile platform
  • Lower n lower durations for innovation in products in the market in future
  • Change in future can be driven from even just ease of use, minor margins, superficial payback et als.. with minimal guarantee of account security
  • Banks / FIs will have to downsize considerably, invest in morphing tech space, to get similar margins as the innovators
  • Aggregators, subscription based service, SaaS model will be key to margin reductions
  • Open APIs are fast becoming the future of Financial World, not imagined 3 – 5 years back…

Implications for Tech Firms:

  • Be lot more agile, startup like in modules : Reduce cycle times for new ideas/ innovations for go-to market
  • Take calculated risks in new product developments.. 90% can fail
  • Identify the whitespaces and invest in even lower spectrum of the market in newer products independent of the main product line
  • SMBs will be key to rolling out innovations not the traditional route from large FI downward
  • Hype cycle identification is key to move forward aggressively

Lending Products:

  • P2P Lending is going to be viral and spread to SMBs
  • Syndicated lending may be the most important area of expertise as all lending converges to syndication due to P2P lending
  • Fintech innovations like blockchain can be core to syndicated or any form of lending, need to invest on it
  • Innovate in faster processing / turn-around, lesser exception handling, reduce operations pressures / workarounds as implemented today for all lending products

Syndicated Lending:

  • Higher demand for straight through processing
  • More integrated front to back office origination
  • Crowd Lending integrated with main syndicated platform
  • Streamlined payments, billing in the servicing of Deals
  • Crowd or networked trading platform
  • Move from the niche segment of high value low volume product usage to high volume, straight through processing with multiple lenders and single borrower deals
  • Blockchain based settlement process replacing the Markit and Clearpar or even depository services like DTCC or Intralinks. Or these services will adopt some of the new blockchain based new platform
  • Open up the API…

Nice infographics: It is laden with huge significance for the future..





July 13, 2016

Payments market can be viewed as merchant trading onsite or core forex driven remittance payments. TransferWise is focused on the multi-billion-dollar foreign exchange remittances and non-remittance payments.  Its intent is a libertarian goal of free flow of money beyond borders addressing the issues of high hidden fees, exchange rates and time taken to effect the payments.

Market Size:

The World Bank reports the global market for remittances was about $580 billion in 2015 and forecast to exceed $700 billion this year, with UK only estimates of $21 billion.  TransferWise’s business strategy is built on scaling in volume and value with low margins, recently joined the Billion Dollar Unicorn Club.

Per Transfer Average Amount Comparison:

TransferWise: $2300
WorldRemit, Azimo, or Remitly:  $800 - $1200
CurrencyFair:  $5000+
JPMC and other banks: $12500 - $7500

Go To Market Strategy:

GTM strategy is to provide a blueprint for delivering a product or service to the end customer, taking into account such factors as pricing and distribution.

“TransferWise’s growth strategy is centered around referral channels. TransferWise’s phone reps stood out in their ability to quickly understand and resolve issues, doing it with some humor.” [Link]

TransferWise is laying new grounds on how to engage customers, in acting as its virtual army of individual PR agents, while giving equal splits to both referrer and the referred customers, as well as testing various referral amounts.

Transferwise has presence in more than 25 countries beyond all of Eurozone with about 35+ currencies it deals in.

[GTM Link]   |  [Currency and Countries Link]

Revenue Model and Monetize Customers:

Traditional banks, Western Union and the Money Shop typically charge between 5-8% for transfers, as well as forex and other hidden fees. TransferWise charges a flat commission, ranging from 0.5% in UK to  3% for transfer to Ukraine.

Transferwise has transferred more than $4.5 billion in transactions till now, with a growth of 15%-20% month on month. TransferWise had revenues of $13.8 million with a net loss of $11 million for the year FY 2014-2015. The loss of $11milion on a $14million revenue indicates a burn rate of 25 million dollars per year.

If TransferWise were to gain about 5% of the global remittance market, their annual revenue would exceed GBP 175 million a year (0.5% fee charged on 35 billion).

[Model Link]  | [Revenue Report]

Technical Architecture:

Total internet driven with no brick-mortar presence, it is not the most efficient/ cost effective transfer mode, but the one amongst the most tech savvy. Open (proprietary) APIs now drive a larger part of its future capabilities, in effect allowing it to be partners of nearly any banking entity across the world..


Critical Note:

In the highly competitive, price sensitive USA-to-India corridor, TransferWise ranks a low 7th, thereby be cautious of advertising fees and costs as its USP. This is a market that is headed for a showdown of low fees, nett charges and the trustability factor for the consumer. Stripping in public or such acts can catch eye balls, but to retain customers will be a challenge in the post Brexit, digitally connected fintech world.

Concluding Note:

Despite the usual risks, TransferWise has already shown that it can be a leader in technology, domain, marketing, branding and is poised well.

Game Of Chess On Bangalore Roads

July 4, 2016

Chess afficiandoes are very familiar with strategies of opening, middle and end game. The deeply intellectual feeling, chess evokes and the euphoria of winning the game over an opponent. Employ these strategies over and above the usual follies either side can commit. That euphoria is now matched only by beating the Bangalore traffic in reaching your destination in a decent enough timeframe.
As you leave home or your start point, you need to have mastered all the opening moves, the routes that you can take to reach the destination. e4…e5, well that is but just the first level of graduation for all the novices, who start off with a minimal plan and knowledge of alternate routes to be taken. The google maps or your own navigation app does help a lot, but knowing the terrain well is deeply important, as they fend you off to a dirt track or a messier route, if you are careless. Even better an opening strategy is to pick an early morning start or a mid-day run that can compensate for lack of planning.
The travail starts if you have picked the peak hours and about little way into the route you take, you have the massive pile up of cars and buses, not to mention the other sundry vehicles of all hues, to challenge your brains to pick the alternate route. Nxc6 check … ka8, the middle game attacks, patience as in chess is highly recommended, plan and replan with a deep breath and do not lose your temper any time ever. Use the google maps, all tools and apps including whatsapp, the FM updates to pick a suitable alternate escape route. The middle game strategy, is the most important, as it is in chess as it is complex with alternatives and often the situation you or the opponent commits the blunders. Nary a chance that you pick that hopefully less crowded road, provided it is not washed away by rains, that gives a smooth pass. You will find it blocked by a cow or a larger vehicle that has equally decided the same route you choose. Well the huge euphoria you can get when you pass by a service road easily to half a kilometer ahead when the main route is clogged, is mostly short lived as you land right at the start point of the pile up. Not to mention the dug up road from last night of what you always believed to be just newly laid and good for the year ahead. Chess games teach each one of us the virtues of deep thinking through the middle game, nothing should be left to chance. Given all the tools and apps, I am sure it is a novice who should be left trapped in these “chakravyuh” you can barely go back from more than midway through to your destination. But presuming you have done all, that can possibly be thought through on, you ought to be on the way to be the victor in this battle with the Bangalore traffic, if you discount your frayed nerves and exhausted feel.
The end game is usually the most interesting of it all, with just the last stretch, the proverbial “last mile” to go. Typically all powers and pieces are gone, you have to trust what you have is, what gets you through. But as in chess beware of strategies of the end game, there certainly can be the impossible 40 min pile up that should have been a 5 min run. So yet again keep watching the Google map updates of the traffic delays and if you see even the slimmest chance of the last mile turning monstrous, take a detour if you can around half the city, or park your car at the nearest parking area and walk it… Pawn to h8 queen, you know the huge smile you can sport that says you outsmarted your opponent even in the last stretch.
All in all, each day, twice a day you certainly can feel the adrenaline pump with the same spirit of a tennis star, the athletic Olympians if you keep the positive spirit in it all. Never let the yogic you go off guard for that will be easiest victory the most omnipotent opponent of ours looks for. Enjoy the ride each day knowing that you are winning the race daily..!!

Angular JS in Seaside

February 4, 2015

This is rather simple and quick combination of the two of the cool technologies: Seaside and AngularJS

In a snap over few hours could code out this simple angular js integration and promises to be much more..


Getting started:

I. Pharo-Seaside image:(Or plain Pharo 3.0 / 4.0 image, linked later for Teapot, takes longer to load)

In Pharo 3.0 Seaside.image workspace: download link

Gofer it
     url: '';
     configurationOf: 'SeasideAngularDemo';

     WAAdmin clearConfigurationCaches .  "Base Seaside image needs this.."

Start the Seaside Zn Adaptor from the Seaside Control Panel Or:

     ZnZincStaticServerAdaptor startOn: 8080 andServeFilesFrom: '.'.
Pharo 4.0 for now gives a Config load warning for ContextPart, ignore and proceed or pass on the fix if available
This serves the files in the css and js folder also from the base working directory of the Seaside launch.

Open:  http://localhost:8080/examples/angulardemo in a chrome / firefox browser and ie if you wish to..
Extended Demo: Asynch REST request-response beta with Teapot within the same demo:

II. New Pharo 3.0 / 4.0 image workspace: download link

Gofer it
  url: '';
  configurationOf: 'TeapotApplication';

"Teapot start and run "
TeapotRequestHandler run
Open:  http://localhost:8080/examples/basicformdemo in a chrome / firefox browser and ie if you wish to..

Fill in the form and submit..

Smart Cities: My Reflections

December 9, 2014

Well as ambigous as this term can get and all encompassing it is, I will attempt to bring forth my thoughts on this, drawing on my two fields of expertise spread over a decade each: Civil Architect and now an IT Architect.

We are in the midst of the change across the world driven by global economy as well as the last few decades of technological progress now converging on internet driven mass consumer systems, wireless or mobile device applications, inexpensive smaller devices and easily programmable embedded devices etc. . Smart City as a concept is evolving from these forces. Many large companies have spent nearly the last 7+ years on various technological aspects of Smart City including Intel, IBM, Cisco and others by their nature of engagement of various roles in urban/ governance management systems they contribute to developing.

Rio-de-Janerio is already touted as the example of IBM enabled Smart City with its central monitoring system and various implementation details. There are few more cities now also making their forays into implementing various systems. Barcelona is creating an environment in which companies can try new ideas and technologies within the urban realm. We in India also have our own efforts in various cities, need to bring them upto global standards and more comprehensive enablement.

First and foremost atleast in developing nation like India, the context of urban planning and architectural development has to be set right. The complete lack of urban architectural controls in most cities is just amazing reflection of lack of that sensibility which was possessed by our forefathers as in a Harrappan settlement, to any in the ancient times. Urban spaces are growing and controlled only by a regime of commercial and political interests, the minimal support for civic amenities and urban planning and its implementation barely done in earnest. That indeed has to be corrected and if “Smart City” with its rhetoric of “Smart” , “Innovation” , “Technology”, “Efficient Monitoring..?” etc. can enable that will be one great goal too for pushing the concept of the smart city, not just for the technological aspect.

Very relevant here is the “Apple” magic; the first wave of interest in Smart City aka Smart Planet has waned considerably. But I predict the second stable wave is set to take off across the world and that will provide for lot of activity that as an UK study indicates will be about 400 billion USD annually, and that is a conservative estimate with known sources of urban activities. Apple’s fortune almost always is built on the second wave innovation, never the ground breaking “never done before” works.

Smart Cities, term that has seen an awakening in Indian Context with the Union Government’s action plan to implement it wider and now with greater political will, than before. I will list some links, I see of interest, at the end of this post.

For most part of the concept of Smart City, the usual constructs of urban planning will continue to be the major enabler and the contraint, with the new age technology modifying, tweaking every aspect of that process and end deliverables, that may eventually result in a visible bigger shift.

I. Overview:

Smart City embraces fundamentally:

Organically growing, sustainable urban area that is enabled with new age technology in socially acceptable manner

Technology should be the enabler and not the pervasive factor to ensure a healthy socially sustainable living in the urban space.

The change should reflect in better city space across transportation means and infrastructure, facilities for hospitals, schools, market spaces, social spaces, as also a proper distribution of civic amenities of electricity, water, waste disposal,  effective policing and judicial systems.

A large list of conceptual areas are involved; some I enumerate below:

* Political: Obvious need for political affirmation and thereby inclusion of all sections of the society. Political mandate facilitates the processes and legal frameworks as well as governance mechanisms. Most technology applications are disruptive and potentially will be undone through irrational arguments if the accepted norms of rolling out change is not adopted.

* Governance, legal frameworks : Effective governance structure with relevant and new rules for a conceptually different urban space is essential. Legal enforcement to limit distortion due to technological change and organic growth is essential to sustainability.

* Urban Plan: Remote sensing based GIS system is typically used today for master plan creation, push for greater use of technology to enable better long term plans and monitoring thereof to adhere to initial plans. This can certainly gain a lot from increased use of specialized technologies now available easily.

* Transport Network: The backbone of any urban space is conceptualizing the pragmatic, capable network of transport that supports as much as possible, mass mode of transports for all residents. Limit individual means of transport to the least level as possible. Envisage and make provisions pragmatically feasible for future modes in say 30 – 50 years ahead. Interconnecting through web, mobile enabled tech of the various modes of mass transport to serve the urban population properly is important.

* Urban Health: Urban – rural divide always conjures up an image of healthy, open spaces of rural settings vis-a-vis the polluted, dense urban population that is inimical to healthier living. Core urban planning has to be fixed to address probably the 90% of this issue, the additional part can be thought through with technology including tele-medicine in every zone/ locality etc.

* Environmental Sustainability: The major thrust in current age is to find all solutions to keep the urban growth that is environment friendly. Go Solar, handle waste locally, limit waste creation, contain resource usage viz: water, electricity to the minimum levels, limit pollution to all forms of environment air, water, noise and earth through housing, industrial or business activities. Allow adequate green lung spaces across the urban space to be sustained.

* Sociological Construct:  The Smart City at its core is for the humans that should have balance to their living and quality of life improved with more use of technology not the other way around. Traditional urban planning theories should hold good and continued with, though with changing social mores, adaptation  be worked in to the plans and policies.

* Economic Sustainability: Technology should enable more economic activity in the city for the citizens and the local government. For the government it generates the required revenue to sustain the investments in modernizing civic amenities and provisioning long term technology assets, renewal on periodic basis etc.

[ Many others not enumerated herein … ]


* New Age Technology:  The enabler, to bring in better control, lower long term costs, assist just in time provisioning, provide real time alerts and controls for all forms of urban management.


Yes technology can enable a raft of possibilities for the SMART City, but need to first align it with the greater scheme of organic growth, the sociological impacts of catering to myriad sections of society, various urban activities etc.


II. Technology:

SMART City Technologies:

Given the caveat, let us set out and understand all the elements of technology specially over the backbone of an internet / Metropolitan area network ( Wifi / Wired as it may be). Most of these are already present and working albeit in fractured ways. Many new applications of technology or technology capabilities will evolve in the next few decades. Need to make them work and extend the technology ambit to include better coverage, sustainable long term without breakdowns, redundancy as in today’s systems.

Enable, promote as much citizen, business participation to evolve applications, systems to support adoption and growth of the Smart City technology.

* E-Governance Systems: The most essential enabler to get least effort is expended by residents, businesses, governance officials in ensuring the city works transparently and effectively.

* GIS Systems: All forms of remote sensing images that enable more capable/ actionable GIS based planning and execution of civic works. Monitoring of the organic growth and incremental changes to urban plan can also be supported.

* Transport Network / Traffic Management: Before tech is envisaged, the fundamental concept of mass transport has to be deployed, make individual transport mostly redundant or legally highly limited. Then bring in the technology with proper traffic management system, vehicular systems as in interconnected devices for all buses, metro trains, possibly fire trucks, ambulances etc. to be able to project their information in a manner actionable real time.

* Amenities Monitored with Sensors:  Enable more micro level monitoring for water, gas, electricity usage at locality / large apartment levels for proper distribution, prevent leakages enhance delivery capacities etc.

* Security Systems: Street cameras are used in bits and pieces, a tokenism in traffic management is visible in Indian context, need to tag them to an actionable IT enabled system that will proactively reduce incidences rather than just act as post – facto evidences, or static images that give nothing actionable per se. Non intrusive technology for security monitoring is a small challenge both for hardware and software because of the scale and privacy concerns involved.

* Locality level technology usage: Promote use of solar panels in nearly every building ( if the city is in a solar zone ), fibre optic / wifi enabled apartments, office buildings and other technologies relevant. They can then have automated reports generated for sharing with civic authorities for billing on electricity, water or other charges. Integrate all cables including digital TV, telephone network, broadband etc through a common backbone that rides through the city.

* Industrial and Commercial Space Monitoring: Mandatory sensor based monitoring of all forms of activities that needs control over environmental pollution should be in place, with exclusion list of types of industry not permitted within the Smart City. The monitoring for environmental pollution can also be done throughout urban spaces including office spaces, large apartment blocks, localities if they can have centralized monitoring.

* Technology Enabled Urban Activities: Web-app, GPS, Mobile or wireless technologies are disruptive and changing the face of the world as we know it. The issue for Smart City is to ensure there is necessary process, approvals that will guarantee continuity and alignment with long term objectives. E-Commerce now is fast accelerating to probably create hollow shells out of commercial spaces, web-app integrators for taxi services have spun way beyond governance norms. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, there has to be a planned approach to integrating technology based urban activities with the urban growth.

* Sustainable E-Commerce vs Commercial Spaces: E commerce is to be regulated and supported by commercial spaces that give the right socially sustainable mix.

.. will include more as I edit this further..


The recent Uber fiasco as it is unfolding is a clear example of deploying technology circumventing regulatory, political approvals. The need for planned albeit a slightly slower approach to enabling a smart city.

I would say the immediate reaction of banning Uber across many countries is counter productive to the concept of technology enabling urban economic activity. The web app or technology enabled aggregator concept is a great practical solution, but the political heads should push for governance mechanism around it to make it ideal a solution, though I would still recommend minimal personal modes of transport to be permitted in a smart city.















Reviving Pharo Morphic View

September 1, 2014

I repost, the updated core package for Pharo Morphic View. From the early Feb 2012 now refactored a bit for Pharo 3.0

Simple framework primarily hooked on with 3 classes and some minimal support classes. ( Most support classes are add ons for more complex capabilities )

To get started:

Browse to:  AbstractSimpleImplicitMorphicView  >> #test .

Run this in workspace:

| aView  informDialogBlock |
aView := AbstractSimpleImplicitMorphicView new windowTitle: ‘Test Morphic View’ ;  windowType: #Dialog . “Try also:  #Window and #Morph”

   “Map widgetName to its morphClass”
aView createMorphsSpecs: {
‘label1’ -> #LabelMorph.
‘text1’ -> #PluggableTextMorph.
‘button1’ -> #PluggableButtonMorph.

informDialogBlock := [ UIManager default inform: ‘Welcome to MorphicView Framework’ ].

“Map widgetName to creation method for model / handler etc..”
aView morphsPrimaryPropertiesSpecs: {
‘button1’ -> ( #on:getState:action:label:menu: -> { informDialogBlock . nil . #value . nil. nil } ).

“Map widgetName to other properties / method to arguments”
aView morphsSecondaryPropertiesSpecs: {
‘label1’ -> { #contents: -> { ‘Have Fun With Morphs:’ }. #vResizing: -> { #rigid }. #extent: -> { 400@30}.   }.
‘button1’ -> { #hResizing: -> { #rigid }. #vResizing: -> { #rigid }. #extent: -> { 400@30}.  #label: -> { ‘Button B’ } }.
‘text1’ -> {  #setText: -> {  ‘\\    Write out a short essay below:..! ‘ withCRs } }.
aView open.


Now browse through the Tests / Examples for Specs based construction with subclassing either:

* AbstractMorphicView( abstract class for view composition. )


* AbstractSimpleMorphicView  ( simplified api  to provide for TableLayout aka a flow layout…)

implement the above message calls as unary methods in the subclass, with the argument from above as the return values..

#createMorphsSpecs          #morphsPrimaryPropertiesSpec            #morphsSecondaryPropertiesSpec

There are additional API/ initialize routines to leverage in the subclassed construction to make it lot more flexible and scalable.

Potentially there is no limits in components based construction of the UI, with all smaller UIs composing any nth level of complex UI


Lot more details are available with pdf / other information posted in early 2012 when this was developed and remained in hibernation.

A full scale MVC mode application can be developed with this framework. The advanced part is to follow through with refactoring for Pharo 3.0 due..


PS: Tests works fine except for LanguageTranslator.. which needs a minor refactoring, I will work through on shortly.

Will rethink on the framework though a fresh pair of eyes to make it easier, capable, scalable and easily debuggable as well as make it amenable for a simple drag n drop UI builder. The other target is if we can do a web app UI construction with the same spec..? Seems unlikely in short time but need to think.





Teapot: Pharo web REST framework, it ain’t micro

August 28, 2014

Diving mostly into Java these days, it was just sheer bliss to attempt to cook up a sample app with a new framework in Pharo: Teapot. Extend it do a flexible simple app workout.!/~zeroflag/Teapot

It is really elegant, what REST does and what Pharo can do with REST, that Teapot amplifies. Really elegant in its code too, the framework brings forth all that is cool about dynamic programming in Smalltalk

The link above  leads one through a 5 min intro / dive into a working set of examples of the framework. I delved for a couple of hours to create a more dynamic example classes that leads me through:

The MCZ:  Teapot-Examples

* Just subclass TeapotRequestHandler and you have now a GET/ PUT/DELETE default for the new class with its appName as the URL path viz:


     ( The ‘NewSubClassAppName’ is default if it is the sub class name given..else assign a name to #appName in the initialize method )

* Override the #forwardTokenA: request method and you are quickly off the block to custom respond to the request. There on, you can follow the example in TeapotLibrary to forward additional tokens of the url to make it return data as reqd.

* The beauty is that in Pharo, now you can change anything, the appName / the response data / any or all of  the URL paths et al in the methods of the new subclass.

* The tests from the browser or using ZnEasy ( as in #sampleGetRequest: ) is instantaneous. None of the edit, compile, restart webserver stuff here..

* This also provides flexibility in scaling dynamically to as many landing URL paths as needed with just a simple discovery of subclasses runtime

From the drudgery of eclipse and its stack to Pharo and its frameworks, Zn / Teapot et als, its sheer bliss.

To try out the examples:

* Load the mcz  and  in a workspace execute:

Teapot stopAll .
teapot := Teapot configure: {
                                     #defaultOutput -> #json. #port -> 8080. #debugMode -> true }.
teapotEx2 := TeapotRequestHandler new initialize.
teapotEx2 runApp: teapot.

*  For quick test run the samples in TeapotLibrary and TeapotSync >> #sampleGetRequest:   highlight and execute the comment lines

*  The inspector that pops up, shows the various test urls configured, and its 200 success code  return object. The urls can be tried out in the web browser  viz:

http://localhost:8080/Library/books/1  http://localhost:8080/Library/search/author/skr  ; http://localhost/SyndLoans/FAC/12HJ3456 etc..


The cool dark theme in Pharo is nice on the eye with its contrast too: bit of Indian Flag look with text in white, orange and green along with the soft grey-blue.. nice on the eye.. yellow highlight on the edge.. !


PS: The Debugger though is cause for concern, it does not align at all with the line highlighted, in Pharo3.0