The tech team at EQ Investors has utilised the voice-activated operating system Alexa to allow clients to:
• Check their total balance of their investments
• Obtain a breakdown of their different portfolios and current values
• Request performance details over a specified time period.
The Amazon device is described as a smart speaker that is capable of understanding spoken requests and responding in kind, whether that be to play music or to control your smart home.
The work undertaken by EQ means that its clients can speak to their Echo and make commands such as “Alexa, ask EQ for my balance” or “Alexa talk to EQ”.
The service itself is hosted by Amazon in the cloud but can be hooked up to a myriad of different ‘skills’. These are provided by third parties and give Alexa the ability to interact with services relevant to the user. This is what the team at EQ have used to develop their new service.
The firm, whose chief executive John Spiers founded Bestinvest, explained in a statement: “EQs technology team began tinkering with Alexa and Echo in late 2016 – intrigued by the new technology and curious about how to leverage Alexa to assist EQ clients.
“One of our priorities at EQ, is to make life easier for clients by giving them a choice of ways to access details of their investments. Clients can already interact with us in person, by phone or via our new portal. By building a voice experience with Alexa, EQ is now able to reach people in a different way – using voice.
“With clients more digital-savvy than ever and expecting information on a 24/7 basis, we decided to focus on a skill that would allow them to keep a track of their portfolios and one that could be enhanced over time.”
Nathaniel Papadacis, head of technology at EQ, and his team have developed the service.
They hope to improve it further over time, with future features in the pipeline including:
• Introducing a more conversational format to the questions.
• EQ’s thoughts on current market conditions.
• Reminders to top us ISAs before the tax year end.
• Set threshold values to be contacted about: ‘let me know if my pension hits £500,000’
• Notification when recently deposited cash has been invested.
Some of these are dependent on Amazon-Alexa developments being implemented.
EQ stated that learning how clients are using the skill will enable the team to make adjustments and this feedback will determine additional releases.