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June 30, 2002

Talking About Turrets

By Peter Chapman

Turrets aren't just for talking anymore.

At the SIA show, the top turret vendors in the U.S., IPC and Syntegra, showcased new video technology that works with their latest models. Both companies are introducing small video screens to their ubiquitous black boxes so traders can eyeball their colleagues, and watch television without craning their necks during a turret conversation.

Syntegra has partnered with Avistar, a suppler of video conferencing technology, while IPC has gone it alone. With IPC, the video monitor is incorporated into the design of the turret. Syntegra has plans to do the same, but for now the monitor sits alongside it.

Syntegra offers all the functionality of Avistar while IPC only offers broadcast television. Two-way communication is in the works, though, according to IPC associate product manager Julie Held.

The U.S.'s No. 3 turret vendor, Etrali, a unit of France Telecom, says it has no plans to offer video. A spokesperson says Etrali customers are happy with their existing video displays and have not shown an interest in moving them to their turrets.