23.02.09

Technology trading

AUTHOR: Inavate

The use of open communication standards between equipment suppliers has paid dividends for Spanish integration firm Mayday and its client – SeBroker, a major Spanish brokerage.

When Barcelona-based, independent brokerage business SeBroker Bolsa needed up new multimedia news system for its trading floor it turned to Mayday, an experienced local integration firm to meet its requirements.

The company is one of the highest volume traders on the Spanish Stock Exchange, and focussed on technological systems and development. As it deals on Europe’s various stock exchanges SeBroker Bolsa is required to maintain a steady flow of news and other information about conditions on the international share markets.

Mayday was commissioned to install a sophisticated multimedia information distribution system, with multiple audio and video feeds bringing in the latest news and data from the globe’s financial markets. Drawing on its expertise in developing bespoke software solutions for its clients the company established a multimedia network with differing levels of access control to suit its customer’s needs.

The setting for this system is SeBroker’s 100-plus seater trading floor. The traders are divided into nine group “work benches”, each of which is treated as a zone for both audio and video signal routing purposes.

Each work-station features the usual multi-display set-up familiar in trading floors, but in addition at the ends of each work-bench are located Albiral industrial displays and Vieta Do-2 loudspeakers.

This means that each work group can be fed information from a number of different, independent audio and video sources. For example, the displays could be showing a news announcement whilst the Do-2s reproduce commentary from a senior partner in the business, a line manager or equally the audio from the news report itself.

Alternatively, the screens can be used to show data-highlights selected by the room controller, and his own commentary on them broadcast from a desk microphone to the loudspeakers.

But how is this flexibility achieved? The answer – open standards. Mayday’s owner Francisco Javier Rubia Rull had already selected Vieta’s Ti-2101 amplifiers to drive the loudspeakers, mainly because of their compact side. They were easily fitted into the trading floor’s limited machine room space. Next came the challenge of integrating them into the larger network.

Governing the video routing side of things was an Extron Crosspoint 450 Plus 12x12 matrix switcher and a quartet of IN1508 Scaling presentation switchers. This kit was used to control and send the video signals to the relevant Alibiral screens around the floor. Mayday needed a way to do the same with the audio signals. Instead of opting for a traditional zoning system, Rull hit upon an interesting idea. To control each Ti Line amplifier, he got hold of the RS-422 control codes from Vieta, and using Extron I/P to RS-422 interfaces he was able to dial in to each amp directly over the network. The Ti-2101 units connect to the network using the accompanying Ti-2201 IP interface blocks.

Having also written a custom GUI for SeBroker, the company developed a bespoke control system giving authorised work stations control of what video feed went to each display, and which audio source played out through the amplifiers. Further more thanks to the RS-422 control, mute and volume commands can also be sent to the Ti-2101 amplifiers..

A large number of potential audio and video sources are available to the system, both internal and external. One major function is training – there is a camera monitored work station in the centre of the room for just this purpose. The idea being, that the instructor sits at this desk, working through the system and commentating on his actions. Feeds from the cameras, and his microphone can then be distributed to the displays around the room.

Alternatively, events in the client’s meeting rooms located elsewhere in the building can also be piped down to the trading floor.

It could of course be argued that products from control brand X would have done the job just as well, and possibly a lot more easily. However a completely bespoke approach, if you are prepared to pay for it, is certainly more likely to deliver all the features required of it. One of the aspects that the client was particularly concerned about was the levels of access delivered to an operator. Also the solution is more flexible than a conventional control system. Theoretically, the matrix can be accessed and controlled from any of the work stations, given sufficient access authority. The user simply logs into the control interface. This removes the need for multiple or wireless control panels – someone with nine monitors in front of them every day hardly wants another one just to run an application that could just as well be operated from his existing desktop!