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Augmented Reality Becomes a Reality for Trading

Traders Magazine Online News, October 2, 2017

Ivy Schmerken

As consumer technologies rapidly evolve, some are speculating that augmented reality could be the next big thing to transform the trader’s work space.

Financial services firms are already looking at bringing augmented reality into the trading room to help traders to interact with complex data sets and to collaborate with clients remotely.

While virtual reality immerses the person in a virtual world, augmented reality allows digital concepts to interact with a person’s real physical world.

Ivy Schmerken

Ever since the game Pokémon Go became a global sensation in July 2016 on the smartphone, there has been more interest in the commercial potential of AR, not only in gaming, but also in ecommerce and in mobile commerce.

What Lies Ahead?

Apple’s launch of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the 10th anniversary iPhone X on Sept. 12 with augmented reality and facial recognition software for unlocking the phone, is going to spur the development of a huge variety of AR apps in the consumer space, said Daniel Gleeson, senior analyst covering consumer technology for Ovum in London.  [see sidebar]

With the emergence of the Microsoft HoloLens AR headset in 2016, some banks and third party developers have already begun to explore this new paradigm.

In March of 2016, Citi was the first bank to release a proof of concept for an augmented reality trading application for stock trading, as reported by Quartz. Using the Microsoft HoloLens headset, Citi worked with virtual reality design firm and Microsoft affiliate 8Ninths.

In a YouTube demo, Citi trader “Jason” checks his news on the traditional 2D monitors flanking his workstations. He then puts on his HoloLens and activates his 3D trading tools workstation. Using voice commands like “select” and “cancel,” the trader pulls up volume trends in the energy sector and simultaneously collaborates with a hedge fund client “Dan” who is remote. In what seems more like science fiction than fact, the client calls up an immersive chart, and the Citi trader is standing next him represented as a hologram.

“The trader is no longer confined to the trading desk and could project graphs and maps the size of the room in the AR space, enabling the more intuitive input and analysis of information,” wrote Citi GPS in the October 2016 report Virtual and Augmented Reality: Are you sure it isn’t real?

In the same report Citi predicts that “VR/AR will be used in a wide range of applications and in a number of different industries going forward.”  Citi estimates the total market, including infrastructure like VR/AR headsets, content and services for the devices, and e-commerce that leverages AR will grow to $80 billion by 2020 and $569 billion by 2025.

“In 5-10 years VR/AR will probably be part of our daily life in areas like shopping, travel, and leisure and entertainment,” citing films, music, sports, amusement parks, zoos, and other activities,” wrote Citi GPS.

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