Commentary

Tim Quast
Traders Magazine Online News

We're All HFTs Now

In this guest commentary, author Tim Quast looks back at the history of HFT and how the market has evolved to where many firms now fit the definition of high-frequency trader.

Traders Poll

Are you in favor of a pilot program and examination of the rebate system by the SEC?




Free Site Registration

July 31, 2001

Hot Product on Market

By Peter Chapman

Desktop video conferencing, is hot right now, but it wasn't always so.

For much of the last ten years, bulky and unreliable room-based equipment was the only way to conduct a video conference. Users were groups of employees conducting long distance meetings. The technology was intended to cut travel costs, but mostly it just collected dust in company conference rooms. Video quality was poor. Establishing a connection was a hassle.

The much ballyhooed, but flagging desktop business, came into its own with the advent of Internet technology and new video compression standards in the late '90s.

The boom spawned two flavors: expensive and cheap. The costly ones reliably transmit television, or near-television, quality video. Buyers are mostly in government, especially state colleges and universities. The cheaper ones offer patchy transmission and are used by computer enthusiasts to chat with family and friends over the Internet.

Nimble, but small, techies such as Avistar, Video Network Communications, First Virtual Communications, and CUseeMe Networks are leading the way in the desktop arena but bigger boys are moving into the market. Polycom and PictureTel, market share leaders in the group market, are now chasing the desktop market. So is the successful integrator, Wire One Technologies. So are the telcos.

For the innovators, time is not on their side. All are losing money. Their stocks float in the $1 to $2 range.