Nusbaum, David, Modern Trader
Floor traders will have their hands full next year due to a mandatory switch to handheld automated data input terminals (AUDITs) if field tests begun at two Chicago exchanges in February are successful.
About a dozen local traders entered the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat pit and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Deutsche mark pit armed with a prototype unit from Spectrix Corp. of Evanston, Ill. The unit incorporates touchscreen technology and transmits trades by means of an infrared antenna mounted over the pit. Several weeks of Spectrix unit testing will be followed by similar tests of competing prototypes from Synerdyne Inc. and Texas Instruments. These prototypes employ infrared, spread-spectrum radio frequency and handwriting recognition technologies.
Local traders, recruited on a volunteer basis, undergo training with the prototype, including mock trading sessions, for about a month before each field test.
David Silverman, vice chairman on the joint audit committee and one of the first test participants, personally recorded 30 trades in the first hour and offered this assessment:
"I'm not using it when it's busy because I'm not comfortable with it yet," he says. "The machine works well enough right now for 85% of the time you trade -- I can actually input trades faster with a touchscreen -- but the real question is the other 15% when it's chaotic and people are pushing and shoving. …