Getting CMC Market updates on Alexa seems like a step backward, not technological progress

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I saw a post shared on LinkedIn by CMC Markets founder Peter Cruddas that you can now get market updates on Alexa from CMC.

Great I thought, excellent, now when I’m doing something like they do in adverts such as cooking, or sitting at my massive bank of forex trading screens and just casually say “Alex, open CMC Markets” and it’ll rattle off all the pertinent information I really need to know.

Jolly good.

Well, not quite, my office is upstairs, we keep Alex in the dining room so that when we’re having dinner parties we can all bully Alexa into playing our various musical whims through Spotify. So I had to walk downstairs to give it a try. When I did, I was told by Alexa (rather sternly) that I had to enable CMC Markets on my Alexa app, so I had to go back upstairs to get my phone and find the skills section.

Second time in, no problems, Alexa tells me the CMC Markets feature is enabled and it very helpfully spends what seems like an eternity giving me the various things I can ask for such as latest tweets, market headlines or market data etc.

“Alexa, market data” – simple enough, but I had to listen to an investment advice disclaimer. As you will all no doubt know disclaimers when written in text at the bottom of any analysis are boring enough, on the radio they are tolerable.  But when read out by Alexa…  I’m sorry I couldn’t take it.

I unplugged Alex and scuttled off back to work.

This isn’t a criticism of CMC Markets, who I happen to think are one of the most innovative brokers out there. They (along with IG) are generally at the forefront of entering new markets, testing new features and introducing new technology.

It’s Alexa that’s the problem. Voice technology hasn’t really moved on that much from 20 years ago. Back then it could sort of understand you, but not do anything about it. Now, it can understand you, but it takes ages to actually get what you want.

When your driving, it’s quicker and safer to pull over, park up and make a phone call and get back on your way than ask your Apple Car Play to do it.

It’s the same with analysis and data, text and images always have been the best delivery method and I can’t really see that changing any time soon.

When we were on dealing floors we’d have services like Squawk shouting out economic updates. That was quite handy because it woke you when you’d fallen asleep to remind you the market was moving.

But traders don’t read everything because most of it is irrelevant to what they want to hear. Analysis is generally devoured in snippets. You scan a document and look out for key trigger words or number that pip your interest, then you read on.

Long live the tickertape…

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Richard started the Good Broker Guide in 2015 and has been a broker for 20 years most recently at Investors Intelligence and previously a multi-asset derivatives broker at MF Global (Man Financial). Richard started his career working as a private client stockbroker at Walker Crips and Phillip Securities (now King and Shaxson) after interning on the NYMEX oil trading floor in New York and London IPE in 2001 & 2000.