Disruptive Technologies in Commodities

A conversation with CTRMCenter.

Recently Gary Vasey at ComTech Advisory asked CTRM thought leaders about disruption within the sector. CEO Simon Piercy put his views forward. 

“We see the decentralisation of technology as a key theme over the coming years, delivered through several separate but related mechanisms. Decentralisation is a progression of factors we have seen in recent years: the adoption of AI and algorithmic trading, blockchain and related technologies such as smart contracts; and a move from monolithic to ecosystem platforms. Decentralisation becomes attractive to the commodity industry, primarily as a technology enabler, and in turn as a cost and risk reducer.

From a technology perspective, we see a greater push towards more open standards and interfaces (APIs), likely standardising on REST APIs, with GraphQL waiting in the wings. As transactional volumes increase, the need to have low overhead, low latency APIs becomes paramount.

Vendors not already providing cloud-native solutions will need to get on board with distributed technologies such as containerisation of deployed apps through technologies like Docker, built on orchestration platforms such as Kubernetes. Containerisation allows for rapid “right-scaling” of resources to support peaks and troughs of data throughput and processing, rather than the very costly approach of provisioning the biggest servers available, all running 24/7.

Electronic confirmation matching with energy trading optimisation

Containerisation also supports the microservices concept: small, lightweight, rapid, concise services providing a well-defined capability, built around reliability, low-latency, and low-cost. A logical development from microservices is serverless: massively scalable and reliable components that are the ultimate in services computing efficiency.

Another decentralisation push will be to promote more open-source use. Open-source hasn’t taken off within the commodities sector; vendors are maybe reluctant to commit effort to a riskier commercial model, and traders perhaps want to keep their models proprietary. There are, however, opportunities to build out standardised “plumbing” that could provide a bedrock on which components, containers, services, and microservices combine to provide a “sum of parts” solution better, faster, and cheaper than monolithic systems.

In conclusion, ecosystems of specialist vendors working together, using these newer decentralised models will offer faster, cheaper, more efficient, and more connected technology solutions to the sector.”

Read the full report here.

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