2015 is most certainly the year of the new media explosion. A year in which online companies across all sectors are beginning to embrace the future and develop interactive applications, live video streaming and communication with customers by means that are increasingly leading edge.
As traders increasingly look toward more ergonomic methods of using their platforms whilst on the go, the mobile-led influence has taken the FX industry by storm, not only from a user simplicity perspective, but also from a corporate perspective, the advantage being greater user engagement and less retention cost.
LeapRate spoke in detail to Ivan Gowan, Head of IT Development at IG Group Holdings plc (LON:IGG), in order to take a close look at this futuristic platform.
The drive toward mobile-led, interactive applications and access to live media is most certainly the future. What is IG Group’s perspective on user engagement by keeping pace with technological change and launching an Apple Watch application?
We, at IG, have been focused on delivering real time prices to mobile devices for more than 10 years ensuring the prices clients receive are fast enough to trade in liquid markets. People now spend more of their personal time online on their phones than they do on their computers.
The Apple Watch is the latest device which has the ability to take personal computing further. The key to successfully engaging your audience on a Watch App will be simplicity and speed. Clients want to check on their positions regularly and react to market moves as soon as possible. We believe our app is well designed to meet these needs.
What is IG Group’s perspective on the evolution from written material to video, new media and social networks?
IG has invested significantly in its TV studio to keep pace with the increase in video content consumption. Clients don’t want to read manuals to understand a new platform; they want to see it demonstrated in a video. Our IG TV platform offers a plethora of content from technical analysis, education guides, market insight and four live daily shows. The video content is available on YouTube and viewable through our IG TV mobile apps, web site and dealing platform.
IG has a growing list of followers on its main Twitter handles, where we publish links to latest news, analysis and technical analysis as well as engage with clients more directly on questions they have about our services. People want to feel connected with the business services they use and social media is increasingly important as part of an engagement strategy. IG is also active on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Do you think that investment in Apple Watch application development, a very cutting-edge and pioneering move by IG Group, is more beneficial in terms of ROI than continuing down the route of traditional client retention by analog means?
IG views technology as a key enabler and differentiator for the business. IG has award winning mobile trading platforms and continues to invest in areas we feel there is demand or likely demand from our clients. Previous wearable technology like Google Glass, while interesting, was maybe a little early for mass adoption
.IG feels that the Apple Watch is a more appropriate wearable piece of technology that our clients will take to. We provide trading platforms for our clients on all major devices and we are excited to get behind the Apple Watch as a pioneer of great mobile platforms.
We continue to engage with our client base through the traditions means and see the Apple Watch as a further enhancement rather than a replacement.
Will companies in this industry be left behind if they do not embrace new media, video and peer-to-peer interaction?
People want to consume information in different ways with a significant increase in demand for bite sized video on demand. Clients are more likely to watch a short video on how to use your platform than they are to read manuals.
Talk us through the functionality of the Apple Watch application.
The IG Watch Trading app is available for IG clients to use whether they trade CFD’s, Spread bets or cash equities in their Stock Broking account within their ISA. The IG Watch Trading app is automatically installed on an Apple Watch if the client has an iPhone with our app.
This makes deployment of our application extremely straightforward. The login feature sync’s with the iPhone and for clients with Finger Print authentication setup the login process is extremely fast and straightforward.
Within the app you can see all your positions and orders with real time streaming P&L and prices, view open markets in any of your watch lists (we hide closed markets to focus the experience), discretely check on how your account is doing with real time streaming P&L and funds available.
From the lists of markets you can open and close positions. Any alerts you setup on the mobile or desktop platforms will be received by the IG Watch Trading app and put the client in a great position to react immediately. You can setup price alerts and check on this week’s upcoming events – major macro-economic events like US non-farm payroll figures.
Do you concur that mobile-first is a direction which most retail FX firms will have to take?
The growth in mobile over the last 5 years has been very significant and I feel that mobile is the future. To ignore mobile would be to ignore a very significant and growing percentage of retail traders. There is still a place for desktop applications amongst active traders.
Early data on Apple Watch sales suggests that the general public are ready for wearable technology which until now has only really been taken up by sports enthusiasts. It remains to be seen how long it will take for wearable technology to go beyond the early adopters and into the mainstream.
What technological developments in terms of new media and applications do you envisage in the coming year?
The last year has seen a lot of volatility and a bit of a shake up for some of IG’s competitors. Clients want to know first and foremost that they are trading with a reliable broker.
We continue to invest in providing leading execution and risk management with some exciting new features particularly for our larger clients due to rollout in the next quarter. IG will continue to improve our charting package and respond to our client feedback with deeper trading integration.
Alerts are a key feature for our clients, they help to ensure that when opportunities arise they can take advantage of them instantly and this will be an area we continue to develop.
For new clients we are focused on ensuring they understand our platform and services and have a seamless on boarding experience with improved educational content.
Trading clients always look for an edge, we feel our ubiquitous trading platform offering gives clients an edge and ensures they can take advantage of trading opportunities wherever they are on any device they have.
Photographs: Featured: IG Group Apple Watch Application with deal ticket; Top Right, Apple Watch with applications displayed; Lower left, Ivan Gowan, Head of IT Development, IG Group