Decades after suffering through taunts and worse for wearing pocket protectors, tech nerds may soon have their long-awaited revenge.
That’s because the next trend in technology may be wearable devices: The borrower’s financial data are accessed by their periphery vision through Google Project Glass glasses.
Access to our mortgage and financial data will be more available than ever, just inches away. But in the run up to these geeky devices, we may be enjoying, our last, best chance to achieve sartorial splendor.
I started thinking about this technology and the likelihood of Americans taking on the look of next generation of the Borg, because Fidelity Labs, a unit of Fidelity Investments, unveiled a Market Monitor app for Google's Glass, or Glassware, that provides quotes for securities listed on U.S. stock indexes. The platform has been described as basic, and comparable to the first mobile banking smartphone applications. The aim is to get the app in front of people and study how they respond to it.
Future iterations, I’m sure, will become more sophisticated—and many borrowers will wear the technology to gain better access to their mortgage data, payment history, and so forth. That will lead to its own set of problems that concern keeping data secure and private. For instance, Fidelity has turned to OAuth, an open standard for authentication, and has outlined how Glass may use voice commands to identify if the person wearing the technology is the account holder.
Some banks and service providers, no doubt, will decide to invest heavily in glass, so they can be at the bleeding edge of technology. Even so, financial services companies and bank technology vendors will decide to invest heavily early on, so that they can be at the bleeding-edge of technology.
Borrowers and mortgage employees that wear them will look a little ridiculous and will feel silly if they attempt to drive while reading their mortgage information through their peripheral vision. States will have to act to make the perils of driving while using peripheral vision—wide-eyed driving—against the law.
The technology, as I experience it, looks weird. That does not mean, however, it will not gain converts among borrowers, lenders, and their business partners that decide they want to support every channel. In the mortgage business, it’s doubtful that adoption will be shaped like the famous hockey stick from the internet bubble days. Usage will pick up, slowly, steadily, with some early adopters seizing it as a way to get the word out about their organizations.
The technology may bring cost savings, accuracy improvements, and reduce time for all parties to a mortgage transaction—but that does not negate the fact that the people that wear them are taste challenged. Nerdy, unfortunately, does not suggest that the application will be intuitive or fun to use. It doesn’t have to be that way.
I can’t help but think Apple, were it to apply itself to creating this technology, that it would look better, be easier to use, have fewer problems. It’s difficult to remember a technology it developed that was not easy on the eyes, groundbreaking, sleek and sophisticated.
The nerds at long last get their revenge, and as for the rest of us, we receive our financial data when we want it, how we want it, and in real time.
Matt Strickberger is the managing partner of OnPoint PR and Consulting LLC, a public relations firm that represents lenders, servicers, technology companies and others. He was editor of Mortgage Technology magazine from 1997-2000. If you have comments or suggestions for future columns, email him at email@example.com.