Wednesday, June 18, 2003

More on this week's Securities Industry Association Technology Management Conference & Exhibit:

- The patient is out of the Intensive Care Unit, but it's still on plasma - the SIA exhibits were lightly attended for most of Wednesday, with fewer and smaller delegations from most of the major investment houses and most exhibitors less than thrilled with the traffic quality. Some of the key issues being addressed this year: supporting securities sales with workflow-oriented content and CRM capabilities, corporate governance and regulatory compliance, reference data integration and management, scalable networking, email analysis and filtering, order depth display and manipulation, and value-added research and analysis. As promised, a view of the show from the increasingly preponderant small booths (mammals taking over from the dinosaurs?):

- No offense to the new and improving products of many of the majors, but why is it that everyone these days tries to have a product that looks like Factset...? After all of these years of technology driving the sale, the users have spoken, and content in a context that makes sense from a workflow perspective rules the day.

- These are conservative times, but as usual when one firm takes a risk and adopts something new, things may fall into place very quickly as "must haves" across the board. Hyperfeed's recent deal with CBOE for direct distribution of their data seems to have engendered a number of quick deals in succession, and could set the stage for their distributed approach to market data being taken much more seriously.

- For those thinking big-tech is going to save the day, think small, think "blades", as in Bang Networks' network appliance that allows instant configuration of secure, easy to administer content and transaction networks. Bang Networks continues to extend their capabilities onto the desktop to create private trading environments, but there's obviously room for more with their highly scalable approach.

- More action from retail players moving their way into the institutional business: SmartMoney and CBS Marketwatch are pushing unique market analysis and tools that are already highly favored in many Web portals, and starting to get fed into the trading environments, as well, while TradeStation contemplates how to leverage its highly respected trading platform. The content that gets clients' attention increasingly gets the attention of their brokers.

- Most elegant and innovative tech solution to content display? Hands down, this award goes to Deep Video Imaging, which has a standard-sized display with multiple planes of vision: windows can be "stacked" on top of one another with the upper layers having transparent backgrounds, so content can appear to "pop" up into a higher layer of depth perception, like a tiger jumping out of the bushes. If it works in the jungle, it should work for Street sharks...
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