A senior wireless executive at a large Boston-based brokerage told me today -- and backed up his argument with some serious stats -- that mobile technology will be the next area that financial services firms try to dominate in order to capture and retain users.The executive, who declined to have his name in print, said that statistics are showing that mobile users are clamoring for more online functionality from their financial services providers, such as online trading, account management, portfolio valuation, and so on. Over the past year, more and more users are requesting additional functionality and are constantly pushing his firm to provide new bells and whistles, including margin trading, after hours trading, portfolio alerts and so forth. His firm has met many of the demands and continues to roll out new functionality to cater to active wireless traders.
And if you think FIs are the only corporations looking at mobile as the next channel, don't fool yourself. Two of the biggest names on the Internet, Google and Yahoo!, both recognize that mobile technology is where the next round of the search engine wars will play out. Both are scrambling to provide seamless search access and additional tools on mobile devices that mirror the experience users expect online.
Now, this is not to say that users will abandon the desktop today or even in the next few years, but statistics show that the number of new PCs in the US is leveling off, while the number of mobile devices continues to skyrocket and the number of page views and online sessions continues to jump up quickly. So if the number of PCs is relatively flat, but the number of page views and online sessions continue to grow, where are the users coming from? That's right. It appears that users are shifting some online habits to their mobile devices. Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio