IBM set to transform trader workspace

IBM set to transform trader workspace

IBM has developed a new rack-mounted computer workstation and flat-panel monitor to help free up space and reduce energy and maintenance costs in the hectic, cramped working environment of financial trading floors.

The new solution moves workstations from traders' desks to a back room where up to 42 pizza-box-shaped systems can be stacked in an industry-standard six foot (42U) rack eliminating the tangle of computers, cables and plugs under traders' desks, helping to make maintenance easier and reduce heat on the trading floor, says the company.

IBM will also introduce a next-generation, space-saving 20.8-inch flat panel monitor that offers two-and-a-half times the resolution of typical large-screen monitors available today. The monitor was designed with the clarity and definition required to display stocks and options expressed as decimals, claims IBM, which has been adopted by the major US stock exchanges to replace the fraction system.

IBM's solution includes the new IntelliStation R Pro remote trader workstation, the industry's first 1U rack-mounted computer targeted at financial institutions. These workstations are easier to deploy, support and manage, helping reduce downtime for busy traders, says the company. New software applications can be installed quickly, and computers can be switched easily as teams of brokers rearrange their location when securities or clients change. Remote management also improves security since workstations are locked in a central room and viruses cannot be introduced by diskettes or CD-ROMs on the trading floor.

According to IBM, companies can realise significant savings in the form of lower energy costs, better use of space, and reduced furniture expense with its new technology. IBM's flat panel monitors generate about 30% less heat than cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors. By using flat panel monitors and switching to centrally-located workstations, companies can save as much as 45% in air conditioning costs because of lower heat on the trading floor. Also, IBM's flat panel monitors, which take up one-third the space of CRT monitors, can be mounted off the desk on special brackets so they take up no desk space. This reduces the weight load on traders' desks, allowing firms to purchase regular office furniture as opposed to more expensive trading desks.

The IBM IntelliStation R Pro remote workstation, which will be available in March, comes equipped with built-in Ethernet connection, dual USB ports, two PCI slots, and Ultra 160 SCSI or EIDE hard drive. IBM's T210 monitor will be available in May. The company will disclose pricing when the new hardware is shipped.

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