Reducing Background Noise in Institutional Voice Trading

Reducing Background Noise in Institutional Voice Trading

Voice trading has been an instrumental part of the institutional trading ecosystem for decades. Even with the advent of electronic trading, voice trading has continued to play an important role in daily trading workflows. But voice trading is not done in a box and background noise has always been part of the equation, especially on the noisy trading floors and broker pits of yesteryear. Now, with the shifting dynamics of traders working remotely, voice trading background noise has taken on a new shape and, as a result, so has the technology used to detect it.

How big of a problem does background noise really play in voice trading? It starts with the quality of the microphones traders use. Whether at home, in an office or on a boisterous trading floor, traders alone cannot control what their microphones can or cannot pick-up.

Historically, phone turrets required traders to be no more than one inch away from the microphone. Not surprisingly, traders hated having to speak from no more than one inch from their microphone in order for their device to capture a clear enough sound. While leaning into the microphone can get old quickly, most traders also don’t like using headsets. Instead, they use a device of their choosing, many of which have become more portable and less cumbersome.

However, with advancements in innovation and mobility come new challenges – in this case, a new assortment of background noises.

Today, microphones are developed so traders can be as much as a foot away. While these newer microphones allow traders to speak from a less intrusive distance, the “critical distance” – the distance at which background speech and noise can be detected – is also expanded. New microphones are addressing a physical issue for traders but creating a new issue for engineers and even compliance teams by picking up more noise around the room.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, all traders were forced into the confines of their homes, creating an entirely new set of background noise that microphones began to detect. Despite the advancements in trader microphones, the technology was not yet capable of removing noises such as babies crying, lawnmowers, or kitchen appliances like dishwashers.

Even though many traders went home to ostensibly silent homes, these subtle but unfamiliar sounds were being detected by today’s noise detection algorithms. Items like laptops and cell phones are changing the way background noise is detected, while even the somewhat trivial clicks of moving a computer mouse, dangling wires or even the placement of a computer can change the way sounds are picked up in the microphone’s path, creating a nightmare for audio engineers.

With recent advancements in Machine Learning, systems can be trained with a set of good and bad case scenarios and gradually learn through speech and voice detection to the point where non-voice sounds can be completely eliminated. In some cases, even small reflective office reverberation can be reduced, improving intelligibility. Trained Machine Learning models that are employed today are exponentially better than voice trading technology that was available twenty years ago. Computing power today is also more readily available, enabling these capabilities to take place without any noticeable impact to audio.

The microphone is not the sole issue. It’s also who is talking on the other side of the line. While there may be minimal background noise on one side, the person on the other side of the conversation may have a multitude of noises that are being captured by their microphone. When you don’t have a good microphone it’s hard to detect background noises such as chairs moving, tapping keyboards, and paper crumpling.

The goal is to reduce that background noise coming in from as much as twenty feet away. Noise reduction algorithms have been developed and are being incorporated into microphones today with optimal accuracy at filtering out unnecessary background noise. Prior algorithms would be tricked by various background noises such as pet sounds, appliances, and any other home-produced complex noises.

Source separation allows algorithms to separate speakers in overlapping conversations taking place simultaneously while discerning what background voices can be weeded out.

While directionality is difficult to detect with a single microphone, modern algorithms and microphone enhancements are able to identify speaker directionality with more than one device – the location from which voices are being captured – and are equipped with much better audio quality, ultimately helping to mitigate background noise issues for engineers and compliance personnel.

Many of the world’s largest CSPs and technology vendors have employed teams of data scientists to develop these capabilities, particularly with the increasing intersection of audio and video. AI and Machine Learning will play a significant role in the advancement of these capabilities, as well as more complex areas such as loudness and tonal balancing, reverberation reduction and immersive audio trading desk experiences.

The next step in advancing these algorithms and microphones even further is adjusting the technology specifically to how the trading floors of today look. While many of these algorithms are being developed individually, some of the voice trading problems are typically much less tolerable to end-users and present immediate challenges. A key element will be securing more source data in order to continue innovating and maintain high-quality results as the environment continues to evolve. Firms that are not already looking into these capabilities will indeed be left behind.

To learn more about how Cloud9 can help reduce background noise in institutional voice trading, contact us today.


Andrew Pappas is a Chief Architect at Cloud9 Technologies. He joined Cloud9 in 2014 after spending nearly 17 years at IPC Systems as a Senior Software Engineer. He holds a BE in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from Farmingdale State College.

This article was originally published by Financial IT. 

Cloud9, Symphony & Google Cloud to Host Virtual Roundtable on Smart Cloud Deployment & Mission Critical Services

Cloud9, Symphony & Google Cloud to Host Virtual Roundtable on Smart Cloud Deployment & Mission Critical Services

Join us for our next virtual roundtable discussion taking place on Thursday, December 9 @ 10am ET (3pm BST) as panelists from Google Cloud, Symphony and Cloud9 examine the importance behind smart cloud deployment and the mission-critical services that support trading and cloud-based workflows.

This discussion is particularly timely as the industry continues to adjust to hybrid working conditions that have accelerated wider use of the cloud and help drive a greater appetite for more sophisticated data and analytics on and off the trading floor.

We will examine:

  • What the cloud deployment process looks like today and how is it changing as companies continue to adopt a more hybrid working culture that leverages a virtual trading floor
  • How firms should be approaching security in the cloud and what do they need to do now to ensure they’re ready for the start of 2022
  • How the cloud is empowering businesses to scale more seamlessly and the precautions businesses need to take when shifting to a cloud environment
  • The changes that are taking place in the price discovery process and its impact on wider adoption of the cloud
  • The biggest changes expected to take place amidst the growing reliance on cloud deployment, hybrid cloud, and even multi-cloud environments in 2022
NICE and Cloud9 Partner on Next-Generation Cloud Compliance and Voice Trading Solutions

NICE and Cloud9 Partner on Next-Generation Cloud Compliance and Voice Trading Solutions

Cloud9 customers will benefit from NICE’s end-to-end cloud compliance suite that bridges communications capture and surveillance, powered by AI and advanced analytics

HOBOKEN, N.J., September 01, 2021NICE (Nasdaq: NICE) today announced it is expanding its partnership with Cloud9 Technologies (“Cloud9”), a core brand of leading financial markets’ infrastructure and technology company Symphony, to integrate its cloud compliance suite with Cloud9’s voice trading platform. The collaboration will enable financial services organizations to leverage C9’s next-generation cloud-based solution which digitally transforms voice trading along with NICE’s cloud compliance solutions to support compliance with relevant global regulations around capturing and surveilling Cloud9 interactions.

Virtual trading floors became the norm across the financial services industry during COVID-19. Designed to support distributed workforces, C9’s cloud-based voice trading platform digitally transforms trading communications, both on and off the trading floor, empowering institutional traders with efficient workflows and full voice trading functionality to instantly connect with global trading partners. As with virtually all regulated employee communications, these interactions must be captured, preserved and surveilled. NICE’s end-to-end, fully integrated cloud compliance suite is the only Cloud9-compatible solution to bridge communications capture and surveillance, leveraging advanced analytics and AI technologies, like Natural Language Understanding.

Chris Wooten, Executive Vice President, NICE, stated, “The Cloud9 – NICE partnership uniquely enables digital transformation of trader interactions and associated regulatory compliance functions through agile, scalable cloud-to-cloud solutions that revolutionize trader communications, while also supporting compliance with relevant global regulations.”

Jim Miller, COO and Head of Product at Cloud9 Technologies, said, “We are excited about this unique collaboration with NICE. At Cloud9 we deliver innovations that enable financial services firms to connect with global trading partners to conduct voice trades thousands of times every day. Combining Cloud9’s rich metadata and high quality audio with NICE’s cloud compliance suite enables our customers to leverage their voice communications to detect and mitigate market abuse and conduct risk, reconstruct events, and better understand the intent behind trader actions, regardless of the language traders are communicating in. Additionally, these same capabilities can be extended to other communication systems, like the Symphony cloud-based messaging and collaboration platform.”

To learn more:
Watch the replay of the NICE-Cloud9 joint webinar, “The Value of Voice Data in Today’s Institutional Trading Ecosystem” – click here. Email for more information.

About Cloud9 Technologies
Cloud9 Technologies is the leading voice communication and analytics platform designed for the unique needs of the financial markets. Cloud9 developed a solution that harnesses the voice communication talk path for the trading floor of the future – offering more functionality and analytic insight than legacy hardware at a fraction of the cost. Cloud9 connects counterparties across all asset classes via a cloud-based communication platform that eliminates the infrastructure and expense associated with legacy hardware and telecommunication-based solutions, with front-office focused data and transcription, purpose-built for the financial markets. Cloud9 is a core brand of leading financial markets’ infrastructure and technology company Symphony. More info at

About NICE Financial Markets Compliance
NICE is a leading financial compliance solution provider, serving more than 90 percent of the largest investment banks globally. NICE’s compliance solutions assist customers in the capture of trade conversations and trades, analyzing them for potential risk, and correlating trade conversations with trades for trade reconstruction. The company’s compliance solutions make automated and intelligent holistic trade compliance programs possible and enable FSOs to more efficiently comply with regulatory requirements, including MiFID II, MAR, FX Code of Conduct, Dodd-Frank and future directives.

About NICE
With NICE (Nasdaq: NICE), it’s never been easier for organizations of all sizes around the globe to create extraordinary customer experiences while meeting key business metrics. Featuring the world’s #1 cloud native customer experience platform, CXone, NICE is a worldwide leader in AI-powered contact center software. Over 25,000 organizations in more than 150 countries, including over 85 of the Fortune 100 companies, partner with NICE to transform – and elevate – every customer interaction.

Trademark Note: NICE and the NICE logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NICE Ltd. All other marks are trademarks of their respective owners. For a full list of NICE’s marks, please see:

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements, including the statements by Mr. Wooten are based on the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of NICE Ltd. (the “Company”). In some cases, such forward-looking statements can be identified by terms such as “believe,” “expect,” “seek,” “may,” “will,” “intend,” “should,” “project,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “estimate,” or similar words. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results or performance of the Company to differ materially from those described herein, including but not limited to the impact of changes in economic and business conditions, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; competition; successful execution of the Company’s growth strategy; success and growth of the Company’s cloud Software-as-a-Service business; changes in technology and market requirements; decline in demand for the Company’s products; inability to timely develop and introduce new technologies, products and applications; difficulties or delays in absorbing and integrating acquired operations, products, technologies and personnel; loss of market share; an inability to maintain certain marketing and distribution arrangements; the Company’s dependency on third-party cloud computing platform providers, hosting facilities and service partners;, cyber security attacks or other security breaches against the Company; the effect of newly enacted or modified laws, regulation or standards on the Company and our products and various other factors and uncertainties discussed in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). For a more detailed description of the risk factors and uncertainties affecting the company, refer to the Company’s reports filed from time to time with the SEC, including the Company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date of this press release, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise them, except as required by law.


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[PODCAST] Establishing the New Standard in Institutional Trading Communication

[PODCAST] Establishing the New Standard in Institutional Trading Communication

As the vast selection of collaboration tools available to institutional traders continues to grow, coupled with the accelerated adoption of emerging technologies, many firms are struggling to address the knock-on effect this is having on trader workflows. In the seventh episode of Cloud9’s podcast series examining developments in the voice trading landscape, Cloud9’s Chief Operating Officer Jim Miller and Symphony’s Chief Product Officer Michael Lynch examine how fragmented workflows can be solved by consolidating trading tools with voice capabilities and how Symphony’s recent acquisition of Cloud9 is playing a key part in alleviating challenges.