8ninths' Holographic Workstation extends information-based computing into mixed reality. A HoloLens prototype created for the Citi Innovation Lab, The Holographic Workstation reinvents electronic futures trading in a 3-dimensional holographic computing framework. The prototype contributes groundbreaking innovations in multiple aspects of mixed reality design, including spatialized 3D information design, volumetric data visualization, integrated physical-virtual workstation, mixed reality collaboration, and holographic UI/UX.
This 3-minute video demonstrates the features of the Holographic Workstation in an end-to-end futures trading scenario.
8ninths partnered with the Citi Innovation Lab based in Tel Aviv to conceptualize and build the Holographic Workstation. The Citi team encouraged us to think disruptively in envisioning a mixed reality evolution of the trading workflow using HoloLens.
Futures trading is a fast-paced, volatile, complex business. Traders have to constantly parse massive volumes of dynamic information and they have to be prepared to act on it instantly and accurately. The futures trading workplace has historically changed very quickly and dramatically every time a relevant new technology has been introduced because traders are always looking for an edge. Millions of dollars are on the line in any given moment. Any increase in efficiency, productivity or net output has the potential to change the game for the entire field.
The trading workplace recently evolved from an open outcry trading pit into electronic trading workstations, in which an individual traders sits behind an average of 6-8 stacked monitors. The electronic trading workstation gives traders an abundance of information, but it comes with a heavy and imbalanced cognitive load.
Working with traders on the Citi floor in New York, we identified multiple pain points in the current electronic trading paradigm that we believed HoloLens could potentially address and transform, including • lack of prioritization within 8 screens of 2D information lack of easily discernible centralized knowledge; inefficiency in navigating between windows and tabs; inefficiency in recognizing critical patterns and market changes; loss of opportunity for collaboration and dialogue; loss of the “human element” and the “feel of what is going on in the market.” And fundamentally, the current 2D system doesn’t leverage the full potential of the human stimulus processing and response system, which is essentially 3D. Our brains are wired for 3dimensional processing.
How could we use HoloLens, and a synthesis of 2D and 3D, to optimize a trader’s ability to extract meaning from information quickly and accurately? How could we use a mixed reality computing framework to get traders out from behind their stacks of monitors and bring back more of the collaborative feeling of the pit? Could we add value to 2D charts and graphs using volumetric data? Could we find new opportunities for collaborating on volumetric data? How could we use HoloLens to give traders more ambient, intuitive input cues? How could we use depth space to better organize components of the workflow? Could use of voice commands dramatically increase efficiency?
We worked on this project as early access HoloLens developers, and were quite literally pioneers in brand new territory. As we began to explore our questions using HoloLens, we worked with a range of brainstorming and ideation techniques, including post-it slams, whiteboard diagrams, 2D sketches, cardboard models, wireframes, and primitive 3D prototypes. We used a fast, iterative approach and aimed to sketch 3-dimensionally, fail fast, and gain insight from each iteration.
Concluding our exploratory brainstorming and ideation process, we arrived at our objective: to prototype a holographic futures trading workstation that increases efficiency, insight into data, and collaboration opportunities for traders. We approached this goal through 5 focus areas: 2D-3D Workstation, Ambient Communication, Efficiency, 3D Data Visualization, and Collaboration.
First, we designed a 2D-3D holographic workstation that extends information-based computing into mixed reality. The physical workstation integrates 2D screen space; 3D holographic docking space; keyboard, mouse, gaze, gesture and voice input – and complements existing Citi devices and workflows. The monitors on the left contain a financial news terminal, a staple to any trader. The monitors on the right contain traditional email, chat and general news applications. The Microsoft Surface tablet contains core components of Citi’s proprietary trading application, and the 3D holographic docking space above the Surface reinvents the trading workflow in a holographic format. The holographic display space has three tiers. The height of each tier corresponds to the height of the holographic frame on V1 HoloLens. The tiers are separated by physical shelves, which serve as holographic docking surfaces. The workstation is organized from top to bottom.
The top tier gives the trader a birds eye view of the what’s happening in the market. Citi traders work with hundreds of financial instruments. Each instrument is represented by a sphere and is grouped into an asset class, which we’ve color coded. Sphere volume corresponds to market volume for a particular future, and particle clouds correspond to clusters of trader activity, so a trader can quickly see where the action is in the market, and can zoom in for a closer look. This is designed to be an ambient, holistic picture of the market. It dynamically updates and hovers at the top of the workstation like a cloudscape or a kind of weather system from which a trader can organically detect overall market patterns and movements.
The middle tier allows the trader to navigate with efficiency and ease through the different asset classes using voice commands. The Z axis is used to filter and organize instruments spatially based on their relevance to the trader.
The holographic stage on the lower tier is where a trader focuses in on one trade. The holographic price tile is an expansion of the traditional 2D price tile on the Surface Pro. The 3D bar graph reflects real time trading at different price points on the financial instrument. Volumetric analytics add contextual information to traditional 2D graphing – making it easier for traders to gain insights on market performance and determine best strategies for executing a trade.
Holographic data can also be sized to immersive scale, and serve as a framework for collaboration and new forms of dialogue.