COMMENTARY--Fidelity Investments and General Motors have inspired me.
The companies yesterday announced a plan to let stock traders do their thing in a car. General Motors (NYSE: GM) plans to add Fidelity's financial information and trading services to the OnStar wireless communications service.
GM touts OnStar as "one of the most exciting innovations in automotive history." Silly me--I thought that was an appellation reserved for cup-holders.
Still, who can doubt OnStar's usefulness? Among other things, it provides directions, traffic information, car tracking through the Global Positioning System, remote door unlocking, wireless calling and emergency roadside assistance. Isn't it reassuring to know that a faceless organization can follow your car anywhere and control your locks?
Voice-activation makes OnStar almost hands-free. You do need to hit a button to start.
It even helps superheroes catch villains. Don't forget to download your free Batman coloring book from the OnStar site.
Now OnStar will add another valuable service with Fidelity.
"Virtual Advisor allows individuals, while being in their car, a wireless access to Fidelity," declared an executive on the company's video news release. "And this is to obtain market information, account information, do transactions--they're always in touch with Fidelity."
Always in touch with the market. All the time. Everywhere. In any situation.
Such a terrific concept moves me. It excites me so much that I want to expand on it. Let's bring the stock market to all places. Consider the possibilities:
- Stock Suit. Why limit hands-free access to a car? Various companies have been talking about computers built into clothing, so let's build a wireless terminal into suit jackets. Get quotes and set orders while walking down the street, and never have to take your eyes off the landscape.
- Traders' Treadmill. A lot of those corporate types work out in the middle of the day. Sweat through a bad market.
- Market Pillow. Get market data from around the world piped in while you sleep. You just might wake up with a great investment idea. Not recommended for people who talk in their sleep.
- Investment Toilet. Not like you have anything else to do while you're sitting there. Maximize your time, make a few bucks with the push of a lever. Flush bad stocks down the toilet.
No doubt you can think of other venues. With today's technology, any item should be relatively easy to adapt for Fidelity's InstantBroker system or the PocketBroker offering of Charles Schwab & Co. (NYSE: SCH), or wireless trading products from other brokerages.
These suggestions might seem unnecessary, since you can already buy hands-free wireless headsets phones, and even wearable PCs from companies like Xybernaut (Nasdaq: XYBR).
But we want things to be seamless and invisible. We want it to seem part of the normal landscape, so market information will seem as innate to your existence as air.
You can experience the market around the clock, and never miss important information. Never overlook the chance to get that extra 1/16th of a point.
And never escape the market again.
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