Looking for the future of adviser technology? Then look no further than the annual Consumer Electronics Show, the massive international electronics and technology trade show held every year in Las Vegas.
Because most innovations in business technology trace their roots to innovations originally targeted towards consumers, there is much to be learned from CES for what technology advisers will be using in the future to manage the wealth of their clients.
Clearly, the top buzz at CES in 2014 is the “Internet of All Things,” a theme that points out the massive growth in the number of devices connected to the Internet. No longer the domain of computers, tablets and smartphones, connectivity to the Internet has reached everyday items such as appliances, garage doors, toothbrushes, automobiles and even wearable technology such as health monitoring wristbands, exercise trackers, watches and of course, the much-hyped Google Glass.
According to ABI Research, the total number of connected devices will more than triple to reach 30 billion by 2020, roughly four to five devices per person on the planet. The implications of this staggering growth of connectivity are tremendous.
Consider the new technology-enabled toothbrush from Philips Sonicare. Its sensors transmit data to dentists to show how often and how well people are brushing their teeth. The analysis of this data by your dentist will allow him or her to provide you with better dental care and provide a direct accountability loop to ensure that you will brush more often, knowing that your dentist is digitally watching.
Now let's extend this concept to advisers and ways connectivity will change the way you work with your clients. Consider the high-tech Tesla automobile. Teslas feature a large touch screen display that looks like a large iPad and sits right on the dashboard of the car. The touch screen is fully web-enabled, has Wi-Fi, and advanced GPS and geo-location capabilities. Drivers use the touch screen to not only operate the car, but to also access other advanced features that being connected to the Internet provides.
Now imagine if financial planning software is connected to the Tesla. As clients drive to various destinations, say the local Nordstrom retail store, their financial plan could provide an alert to the driver with their history of purchases at Nordstrom, the dollar value and the impact of those purchases on the client's reaching their savings goals, right there on the touch screen. Interactive sliders would allow the driver to model various “what if” scenarios at the touch of a finger, based on their spending or more importantly, not spending. Would the driver or passenger change their behavior and not drop $3,500 on a cashmere blazer, knowing that their adviser will have access to this data? What if the client drives to Las Vegas and their financial plan is automatically updated to model the impact on their retirement income should they have a windfall or, most likely, a substantial loss? Would they turn around and head to San Diego instead?
While this may seem a bit of a stretch, consider that it exists today. Oleg Tishkevich, chief executive of Finance Logix, one of the industry's most innovative financial planning platforms, has already installed Finance Logix into Tesla touch screens, enabling all of the above and more.
So, as you think out over the next few years to what types of technology will be available to help your clients meet their goals, keep in mind the growing trend of the Internet of all things and how it will change the way you do business today.
Timothy D. Welsh is president and founder of Nexus Strategy, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NexusStrategy.