The fourth industrial revolution is digital and will impact every industry. As Web-based technologies move towards the symbiotic Web 4.0, it will also be interesting to see the impact of Industry 4.0 in Finance.
The Progression from www to Web 4.0
It all started with the static Web (now called Web 1.0). It has HTML-based static Web pages that could merely display text and pictures. In this phase, the only utility of the Web was to share information. There was little to no user interactivity.
With the advent of newer Web tools like Ajax, this content could be made more interactive. Static pages gave way to dynamic ones. More information could be produced online and shared, and user-generated content could build communities. This interactivity created the potential to create social networking platforms- LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and more.
Collaboration and interactivity drove Web 2.0, giving birth to digital experience.
The Era of Change
By 2006, the third stage was waiting in the wings- Web 3.0. It was characterized more by the ability and need to connect than technology per se. This was called the ‘Semantic Web,’ and now, machines could create, read, and analyze content.
Machine learning was in the driver’s seat for content identification, engines, and search. AI-enabled the net to connect with humans in almost a human manner.
Web 3.0 was superior to all other ways to connect- it made the world a large interconnected village of constantly interacting people. It became a gold mine for enterprises and a dream for marketing professionals.
The Web became a daily life, and the world was always connected anytime and anywhere.
The fourth generation of the Web is Web 4.0, which is called the ‘symbiotic Web.’ Reality is augmented and virtual here, making it an immersive user experience.
The Web 4.0 is an era of intelligent machine interaction. It is a much more intelligent, connected, and personalized Web that will permeate human lives more deeply with digital experiences than ever before.
This digital reality also coincides with Industry 4.0, which leverages the same technologies- ML, Blockchain, the Cloud, AR/ VR, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
What Web 4.0 Means for Enterprise?
This Web version will be characterized by tools capable of identifying user preferences from the data collated and using it for personalization. Customization will characterize the market dynamics in this era.
Digital connectivity on mobile devices will open the industry to a new paradigm- mobile marketing.
This is the biggest driver for enterprises to utilize the Web fully. With AI’s help, companies can craft tailored products and services for any market. The smooth interactivity of the net will deliver deep insights into customer behavior. Companies will use these insights based on these data.
This characterizes the new relationship between Web 4.0 and enterprise.
How will the Financial Sector and Fintech Benefit from Web 4.0?
Using smart contracts with ML decentralized ledger technology (DLT), Web 4.0 builds on big data to build an open and interconnected platform for users. It allows transparent transactions between users and companies.
The McKinsey Global Institute study, Digital Finance For All: Powering Inclusive Growth In Emerging Economies, had forecasted in 2016 that ‘Finance 4.0, a subset of Industry 4.0, would help grow the emerging economies by over 6%, which will account for about $3.7 trillion by 2025’.
The tools are prevalent in Web 4.0 drive products like online payments, digital loans, plastic money, cryptocurrency, and online forex trading. These are a few of the digital activities in financial services.
This indicates the growing impact of Web 4.0’s technologies on the finance industry.
Here are some advantages of Web 4.0 for the finance sector:
Higher Operational Efficiencies
Digital finance and digitally delivered fintech services allow for the company’s fastest global transactions at the lowest cost. The services are around the clock and mostly managed by intelligent machines, with fewer error chances. Digital banking services require no middlemen and, hence, have reduced risks.
With Web 4.0, financial companies can use advanced cryptographic technologies and decentralized architectures. Using biometric functions, they can set strong security for payments, transactions, platforms, applications, and credit/debit cards.
Passwordless security integrates tools that detect facial, finger, and retina imprints. These improve the security and ease of use to boost secure financial services to customers.
Reduce Cost of Operations
Web 4.0 provides facilities for storing data in decentralized locations. It improves data availability, helping optimize data storage costs and data-analysis methods.
More Opportunities for Digital Payments
Web 4.0 can help boost digital payment platforms. With multiple opportunities to invest, the digital payment sector gets a boost.
Much Higher Personalization
The advanced AI algorithms and machine learning tools in Web 4.0 can provide highly personalized and tailored products and solutions.
The base tools of Web 4.0 provide many immersive and interactive experiences using virtual and augmented reality. This allows for much better user engagement. Using IoT, the gap between real and virtual platforms is also bridged.
Much Higher decentralization and democratization:
Web 4.0 does not need centralized platforms to deliver. It works on peer-to-peer networks using decentralized protocols.
Web.4.0 based tools to help FinTech grow
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
NFTs are digital assets that are un-exchangeable with other digital assets powered by Blockchain. FinTech companies use NFTs to create new financial digital products and currency models for transactions.
With higher digitalization, NFTs are useful for digital asset ownership and purchases.
Smart contracts also function with Blockchain technology and can automate financial agreements between buyers and sellers in codes.
They help to reduce the need for intermediaries like banks or third-party financial bodies. Smart contracts are particularly useful for financial services like insurance, loans, and investments.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) also runs on Blockchain networks. DeFi applications allow customers to trade and invest in a decentralized manner. They have greater transparency, security, and accessibility to digital assets.
Web 4 decentralizes financial activities, data, and information under a highly secured location.
Challenges of Web 4.0 for businesses
While Web 4 offers several benefits, some challenges cause hurdles in financial business operations. Here are some of the potential challenges while implementing the technology.
- Higher tech dependence: as businesses offer more personalized solutions, their dependence on data and other technologies will grow. This may not be a very good thing in the long run.
- Higher Chances for Control: with smarter security tools, the chances of unscrupulous surveillance will increase. The huge amounts of collated data create a risk of too much insight from the wrong elements. This might also provide a way to influence or manipulate user behavior.
- Tailored services could cause greater divides: as customization grows, the financial gaps between economic classes may grow exponentially. Social imbalance is not good for the economics or society.
- Bigger opportunities for cyber-miscreants: With more dependence on machine intelligence and hyper-connectivity, the opportunities for miscreants increase. Cyber-attacks could multiply with this vulnerability.
- Regulation and Compliance: Web 4.0 will need proper compliance. Businesses will also need to improve compliance practices when implementing these technologies.
- Integration: Fintech systems are built with many integrations, such as payment gateways, KYC, and banking systems. Integrating DeFi with Web 4.0 can be complex to overcome interoperability and regulatory hurdles. This is particularly so for legacy financial systems.
- Scalability: Businesses can face scalability issues that include limitations due to the complexity of the technology. If complexity grows, it will slow transaction processing time and operations and hinder application usage.
- Contractual risks: As digital Finance progresses, there needs to be more integration between financial institutions and third parties. The risk comes from external agent networks’ distinct regulatory treatment of products. It could even stem from the new kinds of data with new privacy and security issues.
The Web 4.0 signifies a gigantic leap forward in the evolution of the digital future. Intelligent agents, advanced AI, and Web tools will drive it. They will collaborate to create a more intelligent, intuitive, and user-friendly Web. This Web will be able to deliver personalized solutions of an advanced level.
Despite these advantages, there will still be some pain points that enterprises need to resolve before taking the full benefit of Web 4.0. Given their data sensitivity and security focus, this is especially so for the fintech and financial sectors.