Artificial intelligence, robotics, and wearables are not typically the first things that come to mind when considering the worldwide operations of a financial services firm like Fidelity Investments. Yet these are among the many tech innovations percolating in Fidelity Labs, the Boston incubator for Fidelity Investments.
Such labs may be commonplace in technology companies that live and die by their product innovations. And innovation labs might become more commonplace in the next five years as a wide range of industries attempt to keep ahead of technological change. So, perhaps what's most surprising about Fidelity Labs is not that it's new, but that it's been in operation since 1998.
Fidelity Labs employs 80 people worldwide in incubation spaces in the US, China, and Ireland. It was founded by the company's chairman, Edward C. "Ned" Johnson III, who was concerned that day-to-day technology operations were keeping the company from exploring new ideas, said Hadley Stern, VP of Fidelity Labs, in his presentation at the InformationWeek IT Leadership Summit on Tuesday. The IT Leadership Summit is one of several workshops being held this week during the Interop New York IT Conference and Expo.
"We run proof of concepts, pilots, and incubators," said Stern. "Anything that's unclear, whether it will come into the customer base or to the enterprise, we're looking at it."
The organization worked on Fidelity's mobile app and more recently has been exploring artificial intelligence, robotics, wearables, gamification, pervasive video, and cloud offerings.
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