Sunday, July 22

Financial apps should be talking to each other, not making a mess on screen

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The age of financial applications may well herald huge opportunities, but it’s also a complete mess of fractured software on desktops that means untapped potential.

That’s why a group of market participants are getting together to try and change things with open, common standards as part of FDC3 (Financial Desktop Connectivity and Collaboration Consortium), set up as an independent non-profit.

FDC3’s aim is to provide a communication protocol for financial desktop apps with the impact of FIX Protocol on electronic trading.

Led by OpenFin, the consortium’s members include some of the biggest buyside, brokers, and vendors, such as Citadel, Barclays, Fidessa and J.P. Morgan.

OpenFin describes itself as the financial industry’s first universal operating system, like an iOS for financial services application with all the benefits of interoperability between desktop applications.

As part of FDC3, OpenFin is open-sourcing, for free, the company’s desktop connectivity technology in use by most of the largest banks and many buy-side and vendor firms.

In addition, OpenFin is providing a central app directory which will be freely accessible and allow applications to identify one another safely and securely.

OpenFin’s CEO, Mazy Dar, told MarketBrains that the typical financial app end user just isn’t getting a modern experience, despite the large sums firms are spending on such technologies.

And those large sums per firm add up: Greenwich Associates estimated that slow and inefficient software deployment processes cost the financial services industry some $1.5 billion annually.

“Things like app delivery, app interoperability and security are commonplace on our phones and in Silicon Valley,” Dar said. “We need the same things on Wall Street, on the desktop where we’ve got all these mission critical applications.”

That’s become increasingly true in an era of artificial intelligence and machine learning applications.

While FDC3 is not focused on artificial intelligence, Dar noted that the protocol can be thought of as “the last mile” on machine learning. In other words, intelligence received from an AI program can then trigger another activity because applications can talk to each other.

“You need the application that is doing the AI, that is giving you that intelligence, to then trigger another event in another application that you may be using, for stock trading or risk calculations, for example,” he said.

“There are lots and lots of applications where the result that is arrived at by an AI engine, you want to then trigger other activities and for that, you can use the FDC3 protocol.”


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