Western Union may feel that the telex system has had its day (CI No 936), but a Danish company seems determined to resurrect it. Businessline A/S, a Copenhagen-based firm formed in 1986, has developed a piece of software aimed at financial institutions which is designed to restablish the telex line as a viable alternative dealing medium. Essentially, the Phoenix system replaces old-fashioned telex machines with a single operator console or workstation, which links directly onto a video screen on a dealer’s desk. Telex operators running Phoenix software can initiate deals or exchange rate enquiries without leaving their seats, and – thanks to a windowing facility – can control up to six telex lines on a single screen. Dealers can use existing screens and keyboards interactively to participate in fixings, confident that all details are simultaneously being printed out for future verification. Fault tolerance – vital for any dealing room system – is covered by a twin control topology which ensures that each telex line is connected to two workstations on the network. During normal operations only one connection is used: if however, one fails, the workload is automatically redistributed amongst remaining terminals. The company installed six of the systems in London-based banks and institutions during development, and has just installed a system at the Rhode Island Hospital Trust in the US. Prices for a system vary from site to site, but a four line installation, including hardware, software and user training will cost around UKP6,000. Businessline’s UK base is in South-East London.
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