B.A.Sc. Thesis Abstracts - Year 1994

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PC Based Home Banking: A New Perspective for the Toronto Dominion Bank

Karri Paradi and Soniya Pradhan


This thesis is presented in the form of a market research proposal. It has been written in co-operation with the Toronto Dominion Bank. The aim of this proposal was to investigate the opportunity that exists in the Canadian market place for a comprehensive PC based home banking financial software package. The under 35 age group was considered to be the target market due to its relative comfort with, and knowledge of, computer applications. Individuals within this age group who have a high level of education are associated with being of high "net worth" from a financial institutions perspective. In order to illustrate this opportunity, financial services industry trends as well as key societal trends were examined. A questionnaire was distributed to members of the relevant market segment. In total 127 surveys were collected and compiled. Issues generated from these results were addressed within the Technical Considerations and Product Format sections of this proposal. Upon completing this market research a recommendation to the Toronto Dominion Bank is to allocate further consideration to this area of convenience banking.

Executive Summary

The Canadian population's rapidly changing attitudes towards automation has created a consumer base which demands more convenient access to financial services. An increasing number of financial institutions are offering businesses and customers electronic access to a limited range of services from their offices or homes. Opportunities for innovation and strategic advantage lie in using interactive technology to create comprehensive financial services to be used from the home. Carefully designed and implemented, such applications can provide both improved customer service for the user, and cost reduction opportunities to the issuing institution while providing consumers with greater convenience and flexibility.

The Toronto Dominion Bank has been a pioneer in the area of automated banking. Currently, the Toronto Dominion offers its retail customers Bankline, an automated voice processing touch-tone based service for banking in the home, and its commercial and corporate customers a similar telephone service called Business Bankline as well as a PC based financial gateway called Business Window. A PC based home use financial software package directed at the retail sector, such as the one proposed here, would enable the Toronto Dominion Bank to take advantage of an unmet demand that exists in the Canadian market.

The Information Age and the trend toward cocooning have influenced the financial services industry's rapid embrace of automation. A PC based home use financial software package incorporates aspects of both the Information Age and cocooning by providing customers with a technological service that can be used in the home. In evaluating trends in the marketplace, Canadian banks can also capitalize on the American experiences in the home banking industry. There is an overwhelming consensus among American bankers that home banking has a definite future, and as a result several institutions in the United States have dedicated resources to the development of this service.

In order to determine the level of interest in the proposed product, market research was conducted in the form of a questionnaire. From the survey results, a profile of the potential user group for a PC based home banking service was developed. The Toronto Dominion Bank would benefit most from marketing this product to their customers who are under 35 years of age and who are potential high net worth individuals.

The Toronto Dominion Bank has indicated a move towards relationship banking. This generation is comfortable developing a relationship with a financial institution through technology. These consumers have always had access to automated banking services, and expect that innovative financial institutions will continue to provide them with the increased convenience and efficiency of banking electronically from the home. Personal home banking.



Survey Data Analysis and Reporting System

Polly Rong Liu and Catherine Yuen Kay Tam

The Systems Research and Development (SR&D) of the Toronto Dominion Bank (TD) planned to conduct a survey called the Product and Service Quality Survey to assess the level of satisfaction with the quality of the products and support provided by SR&D project teams. Due to the substantial data size and the complexity of the survey, manual data analysis would have been tedious and error prone. As a result, the Survey Data Analysis and Reporting System was built to automate the process. The design of the system reflected a black box approach to this problem, for all the analysis and summarization of results were automated in the system to produce formatted reports. Operating on a DOS platform, the system was written in C/C++ and integrated Lotus 123 and SPSS/PC+ for database and graphing respectively. Iterative design of the report format resulted in a user endorsed report package which formed the basis for system development. Many features were built into the system to maximize functionalities. A convenient user interface was designed to improve usability and to minimize errors. Pilot runs of the survey were underway in order to test the system and to provide a set of practical numbers for user training. Future expansions of the system were recommended to enhance growing user needs. Examples of these future considerations are: implementing trend analysis capabilities, categorizing comment type responses, electronic distribution of the survey, etc.

Telecommunications: TD Bank Cross-Canada Wide Area Network Design

Lauren Wu

TD Bank currently employs approximately 30,000 people worldwide. All TD employees require the ability to use computers and terminals to communicate with each other and with the Bank's numerous software applications to perform their daily activities of information exchange via the TD telecommunications network. The TD telecommunications network is a conglomeration of smaller subnetworks, each serving one or more applications and communicating using several protocols. As new user groups are formed and/or new applications are developed, it is more cost effective to share telecommunications resources than to build new networks. This thesis considers a redesign of the cross-Canada backbone portion of TD Bank's wide area network which covers Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Regina, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. It uses the current network design, telecommunications architecture and user requirements as inputs to produce a new detailed design. This thesis also includes the necessary 3600 MainStreet hardware configurations required for the change.

Design of an Optical Music Recognition andAural Interpretation System for Print- handicapped Persons

Christina M.G. Lam

Image scanning and music synthesis technology were combined in a system which aurally interprets printed sheet music for print-handicapped persons The goal of the system was to increase the availability and accessibility of sheet music for musicians who are print-handicapped by automating the process of translating written sheet music into an aural form that is readily comprehensible A prototype system was designed for an IBM-compatible 386/486 AT equipped with a Sound Blaster(TM) sound card and an optional MIDI device, such as an electronic keyboard. The input to this aural interpretation system is a standard MIDI type 1 file produced by a commercial optical music recognition package, MIDIScan for Windows (TM). The interpretation system offers three different playback modes for output: performance of the music as it would be played; speech synthesizer output of the note names as the music is played; and speech output of the note names and rhythm without musical accompaniment. For this prototype system, the sheet music input is constrained to single-line instrumental music and the output does not convey expression markings such as articulation and dynamics, and suffers from ambiguities in chromatic note values, due to the intermediate MIDI data representation. It is found that the complexity of musical language makes the effective aural representation of written musical information a challenging task.


Testing Tools and Methodologies

Edward Dobbertin

The efficient and proper operation of computer systems, both software and hardware, continues to be a key issue in many mission critical applications, when people, environment, investment or goodwill can be at risk. Such applications may include the monitoring and control of high energy processes, of nuclear and chemical plants, of transportation and communication systems, or large value funds transfer processes.

Companies developing software projects certainly do not want to lose their customers confidence in their products or services due to computer system failures. Therefore, the systems or products, even while under development, must-he extensively tested prior to being released.

This thesis was performed in collaboration with The Royal Bank of Canada. This document reports on the results of a study of testing tools and testing methodology with respect to a specific large software system being developed at the Bank. The system is called Global Receivables and Disbursements System or GRADS, a product to be offered by the Royal Bank's Corporate Banking division. Several sources including researchers and computer bulletin boards were searched for system testing tools. The testing tools were then evaluated against requirements which were developed by the GRADS team and the Autotester, Ferret and programmable Operator tools were recommended.

As well several test cases were examined and reported upon as to their purpose and observed results. It was found that test cases, which were simple, were very effective and made the tracking of the faults very simple.