Fidelity Investments has launched a preview of the first investing application for Google Glass — a tiny, wearable computer that rests on the user's head like a set of eyeglasses.
Fidelity Market Monitor for Glass, developed by Fidelity Labs at the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology, will provide users with a hands-free display of quotes from major U.S. stock indexes at market close. However, the lab's aspiration is to see their Glassware (the name for applications on Google Glass) evolve to include real-time updates, personalized functionality, and request-response capabilities.
“The lab is the innovation catalyst for all of Fidelity. Our aim is to understand emergent technologies,” said Hadley Stern, vice president of Fidelity Labs. “We believe wearable computing is going to get very important in the coming years.”
The question of whether there will be market demand for a product like this is something about which Mr. Stern frankly isn't all that worried.
“Our charter is to understand a tool's technology and the user experiences that are 12, 18 months out,” he said, invoking the lab's early success launching Fidelity's first iPhone application and its first social-media presence. “There were also questions about whether those technologies would ever be viable for users.”
April Rudin, founder of The Rudin Group, a wealth marketing solutions firm, feels the move is a win-win for Fidelity because the company will be associated with an enticing, futuristic product.
“At the very least, the move will reinforce the idea of Fidelity as a tech leader,” she said. “Whether you can attach it to sales, I don't know. But the notion is that tech is a revenue generator.”
Ms. Rudin further sees the announcement as a demonstration of Fidelity's commitment to the younger, tech-savvy class of investors.
“There's going to be a halo effect. Fidelity's branding itself as a company that cares about Next-Gen,” she said. “It's difficult to picture an 85-year-old family patriarch getting out of bed and putting on his Google Glass.”
In terms of functionality, Ms. Rudin isn't sold. “First impression, it looks like a good idea but ahead of its time.”
Mr. Stern, however, believes that you don't need to look too far into the future to see the product catch on. “For wearable technology, expect general availability within the year,” he said.