01.18.2012
By Terry Flanagan

Visualizing Big Data

Data visualization technology aids capital markets applications.

With data lying at the heart of most capital markets functions, the need to interpret and analyze data is driving the adoption of data visualization technology, which can express complex interrelationships in a way that’s accessible to human traders.

“Big Data, new regulations such as Basel III, and the need for intra-day or real-time visibility into exposures, positions and profitability are the primary drivers behind data visualization in capital markets,” Hugh Heinsohn, vice president of marketing at Panopticon Software, told Market Media.

Banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, and other financial services firms make extensive use of the data visualization capabilities of Panopticon’s data visualization products to analyze risk, sensitivities, liquidity, P&L and compliance, and provide managers with informed views of market movements, trading activity and exposures.

“Capital markets firms must make sense of the massive amounts of data at their disposal,” said Heinsohn. “They need to use information gleaned from historical databases and take real-time market activity into account.”

Panopticon fulfills the critical function of data visualization in capital markets, said Heinsohn, which is the ability to tie into multiple data sources, including real-time streaming data from complex event processing (CEP) engines and data feeds, as well as historical tick databases.

Panopticon can handle the real-time streaming output of complex-event processing (CEP) engines from Oracle, StreamBase, OneTick, and Sybase. “CEP engines are used extensively in the infrastructure of capital markets firms in risk analysis, trade monitoring, trader surveillance, and algo trading applications,” Heinsohn said.

Panopticon can also handle real-time streaming feeds from the message buses most commonly used in capital markets firms (e.g., ActiveMQ, SonicMQ and Qpid) and can connect directly to specialized tick databases storing massive amounts of trading data, including Kx kdb+, OneTick, Sybase IQ, and Thomson Reuters Velocity Analytics.

Capital markets firms often embed Panopticon capabilities into their own proprietary systems using the company’s Developer SDK or the Rapid Development Kit. For example, users can interface with the data visually and then execute trades or take other actions directly from within the visualizations.

“Many firms have substantial investments in proprietary trading platforms,” said Heinsohn. “The availability of an SDK for Panopticon data visualization functionality is very attractive for such firms, since they can tightly integrate our visual data analysis tools into their systems, which improves user acceptance, reduces training time and increase efficiency.”

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