Waters Rankings 2014 Winners’ Circle: IPC

Ranjan Singh, IPC

After winning the best trading floor communications system provider category in this year’s Waters Rankings for its Unigy platform, we caught up with IPC’s vice president of product management, Ranjan Singh, to talk about global deployments, the focus on compliance, and the future of the physical handset. Interview by James Rundle

What have the highlights been for IPC this year?
Highlights have been the continued adoption of Unigy and its success in the marketplace, not only through incumbent customers but also a lot of competitive wins. It’s also the promise of Unigy coming to fruition and being realized in the deployments. We’ve had the largest trading floor deployment in excess of 1,000 positions, we’ve had geographically dispersed customer deployments, and we’ve had customers involved with applications. On a broader scale, IPC has had an enhanced services team that’s starting to come into its own as well—they work closely with the trading systems division, and that’s a very good support model for some of our customer base, where they’re looking for IPC to manage their trading-floor infrastructure. In addition to that, the network services division has also had a lot of success this year with a number of big wins, and a lot of data providers coming on.

When you say “the promise of Unigy coming to fruition,” what do you mean?
A single communications platform that can be deployed globally, connect front-office traders as well as back-office folks, and cross a number of devices to cover different users. It’s a service-orientated architecture model, so customers are taking advantage of application programming interfaces (APIs) to build automation tools around it and so on.

When you sit down with a client and talk through Unigy with them, what are the typical challenges they have and are asking you to assist with?
First and foremost, they’re looking to upgrade platforms and see what new technology can offer them. And with that, it’s all about return-on-investment. Cost is a big driver, and they’re trying to figure out if technology can help them manage that, whether it’s operational cost, deployment cost, or simply the cost of the solution itself. Second, compliance and security are big-ticket items for the banks now, and they want to see if a particular platform will meet their needs today and also whether it will meet their needs tomorrow as well. There’s a future focus in terms of what our roadmap looks like, and those are the two areas that really come up. Finally, they also want to see what changes are coming up in the support model—as an example, IPC has invested heavily in Dodd–Frank with voice-recording deployments, and we’ve built a center of excellence around that practice.

What are the big areas that you’re going to be looking at in the coming year? A continued focus on compliance and security?
Those two will really be the big ones. And when I talk about compliance, it’s not just the regulatory bodies as they evolve the standards they put in place—it’s also internal compliance. An example of that is customers having policy on paper, and the parallel that I draw is that a lot of policies, even in a place like IPC, say that you shouldn’t carry material around on a USB drive. But now, what companies are doing is actually putting rules in place that prevent you from doing that. Banks have a lot of regulatory policies, Chinese walls, white lists and black lists to implement, and they’re looking to us to put solutions in place that support both their internal policies, as well as the regulatory policies. That’s a really big area of focus for next year.

Looking ahead, with the increasing sophistication of soft phones and computer-based telecommunications software, do you see an eventual decline in the use of large, physical handsets like turrets and dealerboards?
So far, we continue to see a lot of support for the turret, and companies continue to buy it. What they’re really looking for is integration with their existing communications systems. They want to use a turret, but they want it incorporated into their client relationship management (CRM) systems, and they want it integrated with their instant messaging, such as Microsoft Lync, which we offer. They want it to work natively with other applications such as order management systems (OMSs). There is interest in soft applications, but so far that’s mainly been in situations of mobility or business continuity processes, and even there it’s taking off slowly. What I do expect is a continued desire to integrate the turret into other forms of communications and mobility, although it hasn’t really taken off to date. I really expect customers to want adjunct applications and forms of accessing the capabilities of the turret, whether it’s hoot, speakers, intercoms and such.

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