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Experimental Virtual Reality App Offers Investors 3D Portfolio View

A new, experimental application created by Fidelity Investments’ Fidelity Labs uses 3D visualization in a video-game-like environment, which allows users to see their investment portfolio without numbers or charts. In “StockCity,” each skyscraper represents a stock, and the architecture changes with Wall Street. Building height is determined by the prices of stocks, and width is based on the number of shares. Buildings are placed in neighborhoods corresponding to the industry sector (technology, consumer stocks, and so on) so the user can see how their portfolio is diversified. The sky changes from day to night based on the market’s trading hours and sunny to rainy based on current overall market conditions. The “city” can be viewed on a desktop computer or in 3D using an Oculus Rift headset, which hasn’t been released on the mass market yet. The developers are considering other visualization options, such as flocks of birds over buildings to indicate mentions on Twitter. The software is being developed in a bid to attract younger consumers, a play that’s been unsuccessful for more than a decade, according to analyst Brian Blau. To its credit, Fidelity was among the first financial services companies to have a presence on the Internet and to have an iPhone application. It also created apps for Google Glass and the Pebble smartwatch. StockCity is still in development with the possibility of other investments such as mutual funds, exchange traded funds, and securities. StockCity is available at www.fidelitylabs.com, and the 3D version will be released along with the Oculus Rift headset. (The Associated Press)(San Francisco Chronicle)(Stock City)

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