From big data to bigger data

By Emily Chen, Global Head of Technology Platform, Iress

Back in 2006, Wired magazine founding editor Kevin Kelly estimated that the total volume of data produced by humanity — from ‘the days of Sumerian clay tablets’ to the second term of the Bush presidency — amounted to about 50 petabytes, or 50 million gigabytes.

By the end of this year, it’s projected to reach around 120 zettabytes – that’s 120 million petabytes. In other words, over 99.9% of the information in recorded history was created in the past 17 years. It’s very easy to understate the relative informational complexity of the current moment when everything from the Magna Carta to the Moon landing – basically, anything created up until just before the launch of the first iPhone – amounts to a rounding error.

In the investment space, this means the data sets brokers and advisers have to contend with are increasingly, staggeringly complex relative to just a few years ago. And actually gleaning useful insights from all that data – separating the works of Shakespeare from the TikTok reel, if you will – can be a very daunting task.

At Iress, we’re acutely aware of this problem. We believe data is useless unless you can actually extract value from it, which is why we’re committed to delivering quality data and actionable insights for our clients.

Our aim is to build the world’s most reliable, robust and innovative order management and trading platform – one that enables you to capture opportunities and realise flows in real time while also being scalable enough to handle the increasingly complex data sets of the future.

This is a multi-stage project which has involved a substantial uplift in our core operating systems (including IOS+ order pad optimisation and a completely reimagined connectivity network) and decommissioning of legacy products. We’ve developed multiple market data APIs to support data ingestion and can now provide connectivity between all major public cloud providers globally.

Later this year, we’re launching the Iress Trading App, which provides users on-the-go access to the information and tools they need to execute on a wide range of trading strategies. We are also targeting the roll-out of a cloud native Global FIX Hub, which enables frictionless client onboarding, low-touch workflow that dramatically reduces testing, reconciliation and deployment overheads and multi-region cloud-native infrastructure.

All of this is aimed at helping brokers and advisers navigate a data ecosystem that’s getting bigger and denser every year. Over time, we’ll also be incorporating machine learning-based insights for smarter trading and investing decisions, such as historical trade analysis, analysis and prediction by combining trade data and market data and transaction monitoring through anomaly detection and identity verification.

We don’t consider this program of work just a value-add for clients – we believe these are the necessary tools and capabilities for tomorrow’s trading businesses. Being nimble and scalable enough to turn all those zettabytes into actual insights – and execute on those insights in real time, wherever you are – will be the yardstick for determining the quality of investment advice in the years to come.