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Fidelity bets on wearables to drive next-generation brokerage experiences

March 20, 2014

Fidelity's Watchapp for Pebble

Fidelity Investments continues to make wearable computing for investors a key focus with a new application for the Pebble smart watch, a follow-up to last fall’s Google Glass app.

The financial services company expects wearables could eventually become a significant way for investors to engage with brokerage services and is using the two apps to learn about users’ needs and wants in these environments. The Fidelity Watchapp for Pebble is the first such app from a brokerage firm, according to the company.

“It is still very early days in the wearable computing space,” said Hadley Stern, vice president of Fidelity Labs, Boston.

“What we want to do for now and in the future is to create the best experiences for our customers,” he said. “All indications are that wearables are going to be a part of that story.”

Fidelity Labs is the innovation center for Fidelity Investments, one of the largest providers of financial services.

The wearables market
Both the Market Monitor for Google Glass and Watchapp for Pebble apps were developed by Fidelity Labs. It is the same group that introduced Fidelity’s iPhone app before the device was widely in use.

With smartphones now a significant way that customers engage with Fidelity, the company has narrowed in on wearables as an important driver of next-generation customer experiences.

While the market for wearables may not evolve as quickly as the smartphone space did, Fidelity is seeing some initial success with its strategy.

“It appears that with the variety of form factors and players, it may take longer to find out what is going to be successful [in wearables],” said Mr. Hadley.

“Google Glass is unique in that it is not broadly available, but within those variables, it has surpassed our expectation in terms of engagement and how they are using it,” he said. So far, we are seeing people stick with the product.

“We learned that users want more control over the types of information they receive.”

Better control
With the Fidelity Watchapp for Pebble, Fidelity is trying to address the desire for more control over the types of information users receive.

The smart watch app connects with the Fidelity app for Android smartphones, enabling Pebble wearers to view a stock watch list with market information and alerts throughout the day. In comparison, the Google Glass app is structured to update stock information once a day at the close of the markets.

Consumers do not need to be a Fidelity customer to be able use the app and see stock quotes stream from the Android app to their Pebble smart watch.

Going forward, Fidelity is looking to do some qualitative research to see how consumers are engaging with the apps.

“What we are really trying to figure out is what are those products’ user experiences that are 18 months ahead of where the user experience is now,” said Mr. Stern.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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