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August 10, 2017

In my earlier post, I asked, do drones have the potential to drive game-changing customer experiences for large insurance companies? If your answer is yes, then we too can agree that insurers will need to reinvent their approach to Quality Assurance (QA) & Testing. Why? Lets examine that further.

The primary challenge is to assure seamless data conversion and movement between drones and the underwriting and claims applications. Drone-captured data will need to be tested and converted into system understandable data formats. New interfaces that connect drones with underwriting and claims applications, must be built and assured not just for functionality, but also for their performance. Following which, the real time data movement between drones and enterprise systems, will need to be assured.

With drones operating under challenging and extreme conditions, including inclement weather and rough terrain with poor network connectivity, QA strategies must also comprise simulated testing environments that can accurately replicate such hostile environments.

Growing regulatory focus on data privacy and security, too mandates robust security testing. To succeed with drones, insurance companies will need to overcome a few additional, integration challenges, such as combining drone technology with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) – incorporating audio and text into the image and videos captured in real time, while also ensuring adherence to regulations and guidelines.

Just like any new technology, drones too, come with their risks and limitations. Privacy advocates view drones as prying eyes, flying in the skies. Privacy concerns of consumers caused by commercial drone usage too will need to be better understood. Hence, QAs role doesnt end with drone assurance. It also has an obligation to protect the privacy of customers and others with a set of robust usage controls and safeguards. Hence Insurance CIOs and Heads of Testing must also ask whether their QA teams are doing enough to protect the privacy cause.

Finally, QA professionals need to be sensitized to an important reality. When on field, drones work in isolation, but in reality, they are one part of an extremely intelligent, connected ecosystem of devices and systems. Therefore, QA must not just validate the working of the drones and the transfer of data, but also assure end-to-end performance of the entire system. Therefore an integrated QA strategy, inclusive of performance assurance, is critical for assuring the success of a drone strategy for the overall insurance value chain.

Differentiation, and as suggested earlier even disruption, led by drones is hovering above, and its only a matter of time before global insurance majors embrace this technology. The results are too remarkable to be overlooked: accelerated claims processing, reduced risk and fraud, superior customer experience, and larger market share. With the cloud gaining prominence, the as a service model can be extended to drones as well. Instead of buying drones, insurance companies can simply opt for pay per usage or Drone as a Service model. This could be an easy scalable way to make insurance operations airborne.

Suganesh is a pre-sales and solutions consultant for quality assurance services in insurance. He is responsible for creating strong value propositions for the customers while authoring customized and cost-effective QA solution proposals. With 5 years of experience in the IT industry, he has been supporting the sales function. Prior to this role, Suganesh was associated with the strategic business unit of TCS and was involved in the IT transformation of small and medium enterprises through cloud based ERP implementation.


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