Leveraging what is arguably the largest purpose-built communications and cloud financial ecosystem connecting more than 6,600 of the world’s largest financial institutions, IPC (News - Alert), a legendary innovator of communications and networking solutions, announced earlier this month they have entered into a software co-development agreement with GreenKey Technologies, enhancing their existing relationship to include voice-to-text user workflows.
GreenKey, a much smaller company than IPC, is the developer of an AI-driven voice interface that combines financial market telephony, cloud technology and machine learning transforming voice into data, with a specialization in regulated collaboration. They hold patents in voice software, mobility and advanced speech recognition.
The new capabilities are part of a roadmap designed to deliver embedded voice and instant messaging services in the first quarter of 2019 to IPC’s Unigy 360 users, adding rich services to the company’s cloud-based offering, and paving the way towards applications including analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This roadmap has the potential to improve everything from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to simplified regulatory compliance and related audits.
“Improving trader workflow efficiencies is vital to our customers, and the ability to seamlessly flow from chat and instant message to more complex voice trading communications — but also access a visible, transcribed stream of those transaction threads — breaks new ground in data optimization, customer relationship management and workflow empowerment,” said Bob Santella, CEO of IPC in the companies’ announcement, adding “Market innovation is at the heart of our growing relationship with GreenKey, and we are energized to continue to transform the financial markets together.”
As is the case in nearly every industry today, voice continues to play a critical role in fast-moving markets. While most trading is conducted electronically using highly sophisticated algorithms, negotiations for large block trades between the buy and sell side, for example, are at least partially conducted over one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many voice collaborations.
Forty years ago, before mobile devices became part of the workflow for voice trading, IPC became the market leader in providing end-to-end technology including “turrets” on trader desktops, private lines for instant communications, one-touch call setup, and all related infrastructure. Over time this technology converted to private IP connections through virtual private lines (VPLs), which made high quality, resilient voice services more accessible to smaller firms like hedge funds, expanding IPC’s market.
The ability to flow automatically from chat and instant message to more complex voice trading communications, and maintain a visible, transcribed stream of those transaction threads, “breaks new ground in data optimization, customer relationship management and workflow empowerment,” IPC and GreenKey state.
Regulated users will be able to:
- Convert a user's voice quotes and trades into a streaming transcript unfolding in real-time and displayed on desktop or mobile device.
- Parse quotes and trades alongside conversational raw text.
- Create a more real-time internal price data feed for organizations and enable easy scanning of multiple conversations for faster trading.
- Access an activity dashboard integrating instant message and voice call transcripts, in-stream orders and quotes -- all data fed into compliance, surveillance, business analytics and CRM systems.
The co-development agreement builds on the companies’ multi-year voice-to-data collaboration, which will continue to focus on enabling IPC customers to harvest their audio streams as structured text data to enhance front-, middle- and back-office workflows.
GreenKey’s CEO Nader Shwayhat explained in a Q&A that “GreenKey specializes in extracting data from dense, almost ‘tribal’ lexicons spoken in challenging, mission-critical environments where voice workflow matters. We naturally are focusing on financial services and trading floors.”
This is just an initial focus, however, Shwayhat said, adding “the technology is already being deployed in other markets such as public safety that exhibit similar characteristics. The same technology that allows us to extract real-time product and quote data from a Wall Street trading floor can be applied to extract real-time police scanner codes, addresses and license plates in a 911 police dispatch center.”
Mark Slivovsky, Director of Product Management, IPC, shared insight into the impetus for the deepening partnership, saying “We wanted to extend this exciting partnership with GreenKey because of what we’ve been hearing from our customers across the globe of a strong need to have the ability to convert a user's voice quotes and trades into a streaming transcript, unfolding in real time and displayed on the user's desktop.” By working with customers, IPC and GreenKey will “create a more real-time internal price data feed for organizations as well as enable end users to easily scan and determine the most current state of multiple conversations for faster trading.”
“This is extremely beneficial in integrating with voice recording and auditing for compliance,” Slivovsky said. “Further to this, for surveillance, teams can monitor trading communications in near real-time and receive alerts for behaviors and violations through detection of key words and phrases, providing another layer of easy integration for compliance.”
Regulatory expectations based on MiFID II continue to drive changes in trade-related communications, Slivovsky continued.
“A key area of focus for MiFID II is ensuring effective management of communications data. This includes a clear definition of its retention and management, and a control of the accuracy and completeness of the data. The initial focus of such controls inevitably falls on the trading floor itself, given a risk-based approach and an environment heavily dependent on the use of turrets for voice-driven trading activities. IPC is keenly aware of the trading floor environment and its vital voice communications, and as such is uniquely able to deliver end-to-end compliance oversight and control for recording systems integrated with IPC platforms.”
With decades of experience in a high-value market, IPC and GreenKey also bring specialized knowledge to the party.
Shwayhat explained that this cloud-based platform can scale to support everything from one-to-one sales calls to multi-party conference calls and open-channel intercoms on trading floors, all while capturing valuable voice-created data and converting and storing that data in real time.
Edited by Maurice Nagle