- TD Ameritrade launched an in-vehicle service that lets account holders check their investments and hear market information via a voice command. Drivers who use Google's Android Auto or Amazon's Echo Auto can request market summaries and industry updates, hear real-time quotes and get account balances while on the go, according to a company announcement Monday.
- Drivers with Apple's CarPlay can stream an app from TD Ameritrade Network called TDAN Radio, which the firm launched in 2017. The audio service has reached more than 2 million unique visitors across platforms so far this year, the company told Bloomberg.
- TD Ameritrade's new in-vehicle services are the foundation of future voice-powered activities, such as future in-vehicle trading, Sunayna Tuteja, head of strategic partnerships and emerging technologies, told Bloomberg.
TD Ameritrade's new in-vehicle services are the latest sign of how companies are working to expand connectivity beyond smartphones. By equipping vehicles with a broader range of voice-activated services, carmakers and technology companies can help drivers make better use of their travel time or minutes sitting in traffic. American drivers spent an average of 97 hours in traffic last year, costing them $1,348 each in lost productivity, leisure time or personal comfort, per a study by mobility analytics and connected-car service provider Inrix. Giving customers the ability to conduct transactions while traveling will be another convenience, easing financial activities and optimizing consumers' downtime.
With U.S. drivers spending around $212 billion during their commutes, connected-car technologies have enormous marketing potential. About 135 million people, or more than half (54%) of the U.S. adult population, rely on a car to get to work. They typically spend 15 to 30 minutes each way, according to a study from Visa and Pymnts.com. One-third of all commuters spend more than an hour round trip, which adds up to a lot of time behind the wheel and presents an opportunity for marketers to fill.
Carmakers are equipping many of their latest models with connected platforms. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles last month announced its Uconnect infotainment system will include a feature called Uconnect Market that lets drivers pay for gas at participating Shell stations and for parking through ParkWhiz, among other services, CNet reported. Months after Domino's hinted at an in-car ordering system earlier this year, General Motors last month announced it would let customers order pizza through its Marketplace infotainment system.
Voice-powered commands like the ones TD Ameritrade is incorporating into car-specific apps can also serve as an important safety feature. Touchscreen infotainment systems were found to be a dangerous distraction to drivers, especially if they had more features like the digital dashboards found in luxury cars, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Drivers also complained that touchscreens can be difficult to use for such features as adjusting the radio volume or wiper speed while driving, according to Scientific American, suggesting that voice-powered tools can be less distracting, safer and provide better functionality.