After 35 years of stockbroking for some of the biggest houses and investors in Australia and the UK, the Secret Broker is regaling Stockhead readers with his colourful war stories — from the trading floor to the dealer’s desk.

This week, I thought we should have a peek at the future.

Broking, for me, was always about having a vision for the future and helping others reach out and touch their own visions and goals.

Sometimes we helped them out with capital raisings, or with introductions to others who could complement them on their journey.

Being the broker in the middle of all of this, allowed me to break bread with some of the cleverest people in the room, expand my knowledge base and give me an understanding on how this future thing would one day become real.

The fact that all these clever people had large academic type salaries with matching oversized superfunds, was like the cherry on the cake for me, as they all needed financial advice and I was always there to deliver my pearls of stock market wisdom and of course, help them to free up some of their capital from their pockets and into commission.

This week, there was a headline in the AFR that made me lean so far forward I spilt the sliced lemon out of my pre-dinner gin and tonic straight on to the keyboard, causing some of the keys to instantly stick together and freeze my screen on another story.

After wiping down the keyboard and leaving it upside down to drain away some of the Tanqueray, Mrs. Broker assisted me back to the article which had caused me to commit the most horrifying sin that a broker could ever commit — allowing the alcohol to arrive somewhere other than in my mouth.

Bevan Slattery, one of this year’s rich listers, proclaimed in the article that “I genuinely don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this is simply the most exciting technology to ever come out of Australia”.

Now, for a person like him, who puts his money where his mouth is, meant I had to read the article (about five times in my GNT haze) before I really understood what this technology did.

He is the Chairman and cornerstone investor in Fibre Sense which owns a technology platform called SuperSoniQ.

If you want to understand the calibre of the man, then you need to read this.

First we had RADAR (Radio Detection and Ranging), then the Navy brought us SONAR (Sound Navigation and Ranging) and finely using laser technology to measure distances came LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging).

Now, SuperSoniQ are bringing us VIDAR™ (Vibration Detection and Ranging).

This has been built under the RADAR (sorry – just had to) and is now ready to be unleashed to the world.

Through Slatterly’s deep knowledge of all things involved with optic fibre, he was able to steer the founder of the company towards trialling this technology via some of his other investments.

As with any technology company, they have to have their algorithm (every techno company must have at least one ‘Algo’) tested and tweaked.

Just like the Beach Boys sang to us, they can find the good vibrations from the bad ones, by understanding the different tones that a vibration can produce.

Now they have tested everything, they can predict to an accuracy of 99.998%, what is about to happen on a road.

They have created the ability to warn a driver (or a pedestrian for that matter), that a car is just about to appear round a blind bend and whiz past them.

This means that they can practically see around corners.  Now, can you imagine what this is going to do to a driverless car, as they can all be made aware of each other, without a pair of human eyes or hands in sight?

I’m not really sure which bit is cleverer than the other, as the way this technology is implemented is just pure genius.

They very simply and easily attach their device to any part of an optic fibre cable (think NBN) and they can now monitor and filter through millions of vibrations a second. That’s how they can track a car driving down a road. They just follow its vibration as it moves on the road past all the buried optic fibre cables. No vibration, no car approaching. Simples!

They estimate that there are billions of kilometres of buried optic cables around the world and currently they have live tests going on in Sydney and Singapore.

Here is a video of live tracking.

Another bit of smart technology which was released for a trial this week, comes out of the UK (thus keeping Slatterly’s quote in check).

In fact, it comes out of Manchester and involves graphene, which most of you will be familiar with, as at one point listed Australian graphene miners were all the rage. As the two discoverers of graphene’s amazing strength came out of Manchester University and won them Nobel Prizes for their efforts, then to see this new way to use graphene coming out of the same city, is no surprise to me.

Two clever clogs came up with the idea to add small particles of graphene in with normal printable ink, which when combined, allows a normally paper printed object to conduct electricity.

This may not really mean much to you until you see the trial in action, as they have been using it to allow people to tap and pay for a meal, without the need for an EFTPOS terminal or an App download. You simply tap your end of meal printed bill and choose Apple Pay or Google Pay to pay to settle up.

This will revolutionise the world of payments and with the upcoming iOS14 Apple upgrade coming, watch this space.

If you think the cold arctic chill that blew over the BNPL sector this week after PayPal announced a fee free BNPL option was it, then just wait till Apple stirs itself.

It already processes more payments than PayPal and together with Google, they will ruthlessly eat into anyone’s lunch. Banks-BNPL-Visa-Mastercard are all on their menus.

And finally, now we are all familiar with barcodes and QR codes, there comes a new kid on the block ready to shake up the retail sector with a new type of scanning code.

Having been doing some deep research in the drink section of ALDI, ahead of buying my own Father’s Day gift, I noticed these new codes on some of ALDI’s own branded wine.

Each one is different and unlike a QR code, you can easily see that each one is different.

The backend links to these codes can be changed in batches from millions of printed labels, or down to each one individually.

This type of technology will eventually become mainstream in combatting counterfeiting and, at the same time, allow producers to provide providence and after sale reordering services.

The current barcode system is already starting to be phased out by the likes of Woolworths and replaced with mini 2d QR codes, which can store and show each individual expiry dates, when scanned.

Good luck to all the Fathers for this Father’s Day and I hope that the weather holds out for you all and that your afternoon nap snoring or any other Father related after lunch noise doesn’t set off an NBN vibrational VADAR incident report.


The Secret Broker can be found on Twitter here @SecretBrokerAU or on email at [email protected].

Feel free to contact him with your best stock tips and ideas.