How Wall Street is adopting the Tablet devices

Tablets are everywhere on the Wall Street, on trading floors, in the offices of money, fund and wealth managers, brokers are using them, so are traders, regulators, financial analysts, accountants, auditors, media persons and the persons who run the IT back office and data centers.

Because of their light weight and convenient form factor (from 5 inch to 10.1 inch) tablets are much more portable than laptops, and they can connect seamlessly to mobile or Wi-Fi networks. The BYOD phenomenon has served as the catalyst to drive the adoption of tablets to enterprises on Wall Street.

Who is using the tablets and how?
Brokers, wealth, portfolio and fund managers, traders, financial and quantitative analysts and bankers all use tablets to aid with management, reporting, monitoring and tracking for both their clients and the trades done during the day.

In addition to role based and role specific uses of the tablet, they are used by all types of Wall Street professionals to communicate by email, chat, conferencing and video conferencing and video chat. Tablets are also used to browse the web, check and post blogs, comment on blogs and forums, and participate in group conversations and virtual hangouts.

Popular apps on the Wall Street
Most mobile apps for the Wall Street are internal, enterprise level apps. The publicly available apps can be classified into the categories:

  • News and information
  • Trading
  • Financial management (covering wealth, portfolio, money and investment management)
  • Research and analysis

Some of the interesting applications in each of these categories on Wall Street include: ETF Database, E*Trade Mobile Pro, PortfolioLive, S&P Capital IQ, StockTouch,  StockTwits, Instapaper, Wall Street & Technology App and Simulation and Game.

Where is the Wall Street headed from here with respect to tablet usage and adoption
Tablet adoption is going to continue to grow with time. The next one and half years will be very interesting to watch with a wide array of technologies, tablet devices and applications designed especially for tablets anticipated to show up on the radar.

Some notable trends and challenges to watch for on Wall Street:

  • The tablet market finally has some competition to the iPad, meaning that the tablet market is about to explode. Thanks to Google’s Nexus 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note. With a $99 version of the Google Nexus tablet on the horizon and the upcoming Nexus 10.1 inch tablet also from Google, the upcoming Galaxy Note 2 from Samsung (that is also categorized by some as Phablet which is a phone + tablet), and last but not the least Microsoft’s Surface tablet expected to go on sale during the Holiday season of 2012, people will have more options and wider price range.
  • More people will consume the content and access applications for Wall Street through the tablets. Applications designed for Personal Computers and desktop based browsers will increasingly be made available on tablets both through native applications and mobile browsers via HTML5.
  • Personal Computer usage will decline and will be used more often for content creation and input that requires a good chunk of data to be typed.
  • There will be fragmentation in technology and device sizes that will pose a challenge to Wall Street firms but will offer opportunities for app developers and service companies to address these challenges. The seven inch iPad, iPad 3, iPad 4, galaxy Note 2 (Phablet), Microsoft Surface, Google Nexus 7 and Google Nexus 10 are already successful and are likely to be widely used, hence the challenge to address different device sizes and operating systems.
  • iOS will dominate the tablet landscape on Wall Street but the increasing adoption for Android tablets and Microsoft Surface as well as Windows RT based tablets will further the challenge. HTML5 and hybrid apps along with responsive web design will provide a way to address these challenges. The iPad mini and Nexus 7 from Google will increase the 7 inch tablet adoption.
  • The second part of the challenge will be to restructure and adapt the backend services and data for mobile consumption. This is also an area where service companies will be able to help both Wall Street firms and technology vendors to close the gap between demands for services form tablet applications and availability of mobile enabled backend services and data.

Unlike the earlier years, the pace of technology adoption in Wall Street has gained momentum significantly and in some ways the entry of Tablet has played a crucial role in making this happen.  Only time will tell which of the above trends will become a reality.