In a December 15 press release, TD Ameritrade announced the launch of its new Amazon Alexa skill. The skill is an app for Alexa-enabled Amazon devices, including Echo, Dot, Tap and Fire TV. The virtual assistant responds immediately to user voice commands with the requested information. TD Ameritrade’s new skill provides market updates and quotes for over 75,000 symbols and 3,800 indices and does not require a TD account. Users say “Alexa, ask TD Ameritrade for the price of Apple” and receive a response with the quote price at a 15-minute delay. Since the official launch on November 30, the firm already has plans in development for real-time quotes and account accessibility for the skill in the future. So far, the app has been met with applause from users, earning an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
TD Ameritrade Skill on Amazon
While mobile apps and robo-advisors have been increasing trends among investment firms, TD Ameritrade is only the second to produce a skill in this capacity. Fidelity launched a skill just in time for the holiday season of 2015, with two releases to increase usability this year. The Fidelity skill also provides delayed quotes and market updates. The firm did not pre-empt the launch of the skill with a press release or media attention but participated in an Amazon blog post published in April. The post revealed that Fidelity aims to add more functions to the skill, including providing authentication for customers.
Fidelity Skill on Amazon
A report by the human interaction and tech market intelligence firm Tractica predicts that native speech recognition will increase from 45% of all mobile devices in 2014 to 82% in 2020. Google reported in May 2016 that 20% of all of its mobile app search inquiries were made via voice recognition, with that number anticipated to grow to 50% across all platforms by 2020. The ease of access makes it a convenient way for investors to remain updated on the market while multi-tasking. As virtual assistants are introduced further (the same Tractica report says that voiceprint security will reach an attach rate of 36% by the end of the decade), it will be interesting to watch as the investment community continues to use technology to connect with their clients. Amazon reported that the Echo and Echo Dot were its top sellers in 2016, showing just how popular the systems have become. The increased use and availability of such software may be a new way for firms to increase accessibility for clients who want information not only at their fingertips but at the tip of their tongue.