IPC Information Systems Inc. plans to release IQmx, its new voice-data-video integration system used to facilitate the trader-client relationship, around October of this year.
The new system seeks to increase the volume of customer information at a broker's fingertips by bringing together order management and market data with telephony communication. "Those two really haven't been tied together well, but this initiative and this product offering really breaks down those barriers," says Greg Kenepp, IPC's senior vice president of product development.
IQmx boasts a number of features, such as: the trader's ability to see a list of incoming calls and select those calls in any order; a pop-up screen displaying the market positions of a caller, along with recent news pertaining to those securities; and the ability to store an electronic record of a call and automatically generate trading tickets. "If you're in the process of taking a call and you pop out a deal ticket, you'll be able to fill out the trading counterparty. You'll even be able to take the voice recording associated with that call and tag it to the deal ticket, as opposed to having it be a stand-alone piece of information that's stored in the back room," adds Kenepp.
But is IP telephony suitable for the high-speed, high-volume trading environment? Does the slight delay, said to be around 150 milliseconds, make the technology prohibitive? Kenepp says not for IQmx. He explains that the delay in IP telephony has to do with call compression, whereby, for the sake of Internet efficiency, information is bundled before being sent. "We don't do that," says Kenepp. "The viability of the service really has more to do with broadband IP conductivity, so by eliminating the compression, we've eliminated the delay."
IPC expects that lack of delay-combined with the fact that the secure network can be extended to a trader's home through, for example IXnet's extranet-to make fully-functional trading from anywhere a reality.
Kenepp says that IPC has a market share of about 60 percent, which he contends represents about 100,000 institutional trading desks around the world. "We were the first in this IP space for the trading floors, and we have a lead on all your traditional voice vendors," he says, adding that IPC is first in the marketplace, followed by Syntegra.
Syntegra' s Tim Furmidge, product manager for the company's integrated trading system (ITS), says the new structure of IPC's business-the fact that they are now combined with IXnet under the umbrella of Global Crossing-puts them at a disadvantage in terms of being able to provide flexibility in their customized customer solutions. With IPC, "you get all your information down a single pipe from IXnet displaying on this IQmx terminal, which doesn't allow the customer to then differentiate the service that they're offering to their customers," says Furmidge.
Kenepp says that while routing information through IXnet is an option, it is not the only one. Although IPC has yet to sign on any clients for IQmx, Kenepp is very optimistic about the sales outlook. He predicts IQmx "will probably represent 50 percent of my shipments in the first year of all desktops, and 90 percent of my shipments within 12 months."