More than two dozen vendors of trading-room systems and related equipment have joined together to create a unique product showroom where Wall Street executives can try out the latest technologies.
The technology showroom, in lower Manhattan not far from the city's bustling financial center, opened in May. It is designed to give traders the ability to "test drive" a number of new and emerging telephony and information-system products in a realistic trading room environment, according to Vincent Tiso, president of Structured Technologies Associates Inc. The consulting firm, which specializes in systems integration for trading floors, manages the demonstration facility.
Mr. Tiso said Structured Technologies has attracted 27 vendors of trading systems and related equipment to exhibit their wares in the showroom.
"What we've attempted to do is take the best of a trade show that exhibits the latest products, and incorporate them into a desk as they would be displayed in a live trading-room atmosphere," he explained. Traders can even use the facility to make real trades while they are there evaluating the equipment, he added.
Some of the firms showing products at the site include British Telecommunications PLC, IPC Information Systems Inc., and V-Band Corp., all makers of telephone "turrets," systems that give traders dozens, or even hundreds, of communications lines at the fingertips to instantly link them with counterparties.
Other companies exhibiting include Dictaphone Corp., which makes systems that record multiple telephone conversations; Faxcast USA Inc., a maker of broadcast fax equipment; and Woodtronics Inc., a manufacturer of specialized trading room furniture designed to hold the up to 600 pounds of electronics that can be stuffed on or under a trader's workspace.
Bringing together these vendors was not an easy task, Mr. Tiso said, as many of them are fierce competitors for the business of the estimated 6,000 trading rooms in New York City alone.
"This wasn't an overnight thing" persuading competing companies to participate, Mr. Tiso said. "It took five years to make this all happen."
Eventually the firms were won over by the fact the showroom would let traders try out various systems in an unbiased environment.
"We convinced them that in the normal request-for-proposal process they were showing themselves against their competitors at the client's site," Mr. Tiso said. "We said, 'Wouldn't it be just as well if the clients could see all products at one time and everyone would have a level playing field, because we're acting as a completely neutral showpiece?"
Mr. Tiso said the products being demonstrated at the showroom are constantly changing as vendors add new products, such as desktop video systems, to their offerings. A number of new products that were introduced at a Securities Industry Association technology conference in New York last week will get their first installations at the demonstration facility, he added.