Clients OpenFin and Dash Financial weigh in on how virtual and augmented reality could be game-changing for how Wall Street views data in the next decade.
Virtual reality is already seen as a way to duel dragons and fight off assassins from the comfort of your couch, but financial firms are looking to use the tech to take on arguably an even more fearsome monster: complex data sets.
If you’ve spent any time watching television over the past few months, you’ve probably seen at least one of the many commercials touting virtual reality products as the must-have gift of the holiday season.
The concept of VR actually dates back to the 1800s, and the term has been around since the mid-1980s, but the maturation of the tech in recent years has led to a bigger push to get more wide-spread adoption amongst consumers.
VR is also proving useful from a business perspective. When it comes to training, designing, and building, virtual reality has been valuable for a variety of companies in industries like real estate, manufacturing, and hospitality.
Financial services, however, has remained a noticeable holdout. Save for a few tests or small implementations run by a handful of firms, Wall Street has largely preferred to remain in reality.
But as analyzing complex data sets increases in importance across finance, the practicality — and benefit —of using some form of enhanced reality to digest information and visualize multi-dimensional outcomes not only seems likely, but undeniable, according to some experts.
“I think this is a great emerging area,” Vijay Sankaran, TD Ameritrade’s chief technology officer, told Business Insider. “For people who want to work with their finances in a much more visual way. People who want to interact with their advisors. People who want to visit educational resources. Immersive experiences are going to provide much more opportunities and by 2030 be completely game-changing.”
Options Trading is Crying Out for a way to Visualize Complex Data
David Karat, cofounder and chief creative officer at brokerage Dash Financial, believes the future won’t be in goggles.
Dash, which handles 16% of the daily US options volume, has toyed with the tech, building out three different VR-based proof-of-concepts over the years.
The company has good reason to show interest in investigating the benefits of the tech. Dash deals in the highly fragmented options market. Executing trades for clients can often times be a difficult, complex task that proves hard to explain in a cohesive way.
Thus, a new way to show information in a more digestible and interactive way is appealing, Karat said.
“If you were in a room of data that effectively is like looking at a graph in 360 and being able to see patterns and move things around it, it does help quite a bit rather than looking at a two-dimensional Excel chart,” he said. “Things like what-if scenarios. If I change this what would happen. Being able to visualize that.”
For Mazy Dar, CEO and founder of startup OpenFin, the case for VR-type technology infiltrating Wall Street makes sense, even if it might take some time.
Dar, whose company pitches itself as the operating system of finance, said he could imagine a world where a trader could look over to the sales desk and immediately see the quotes they are getting from customers in real-time displayed via some type of augmented reality.
And while pulling off something like that is still a long ways away, Dar said, the potential is there.
“There are certain things you just can’t automate, and certainly not within the next 10 years,” Dar said. “At the end of the day, when it comes to enabling humans and when it comes to visualization, what are the next tools and other capabilities that you can give people to better do their job. I see augmented reality as a natural extension of this.”
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