In just two years, millions of Americans could be trading stocks and doing their banking while driving, a new report from Meridien Research predicts.
"The automobile is being transformed into the next mobile portal," analyst Christine Barry writes in a research report which takes an in-depth look at the impact of "telematics" in financial services.
Combining wireless, GPS and voice-recognition technology, telematics will be installed in 9 million vehicles by 2003, Meridien forecasts. And, since telematics are voice-activated and hands-free, they aren't affected by new laws restricting cell-phone use while driving.
Initially developed to provide driver assistance and emergency service, telematics is already used in financial services. Through a partnership between Fidelity Investments and OnStar, a General Motors subsidiary, owners of certain GM cars can now place trades, get balances and receive stock quotes through the push of a button and a few verbal commands.
"Financial institutions have much to gain by partnering with telematics providers," Barry says.
Institutions that don't follow Fidelity's lead ultimately could find themselves at a competitive disadvantage serving Americans, who average 540 hours a year in their cars.