New Era of Networks Inc., a developer of advanced communications software, said it signed an installation contract valued at about $8.5 million with Barclays Bank's BZW investment banking arm.

BZW intends to use its Neonet software as the basis for several projects, including an upgrade of equities trading and settlements and guaranteed messaging between the global financial risk and collateral management systems.

Neonet, described as "middleware," is said link disparate networks, formats, and data bases without downgrading performance. The software can run on various platforms; at BZW it will run on Hewlett-Packard HP-UX hardware with Sun Microsystems' Solaris and on Intel-based machines acting as Windows NT application servers.

Kieran Drake, BZW application architecture and technical services manager, said the company chose Neonet because it is "comprehensive and robust ... with rules and formats not available from its competitors."

New Era of Networks, known as Neon, was formed in 1993 by investment bankers with a high-tech bent. Founder and chief executive officer George F. "Rick" Adam is a former Goldman, Sachs & Co. general partner. Neon named former Goldman Sachs senior technology manager Peter Hoversten senior vice president in early July. His expertise in "managing large development organizations, as well as in the areas of application development and expert systems, will greatly benefit Neon," Mr. Adam said.

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