Delivering data, measured in microseconds

By Bruce Glover

Our director of business development looks at how we’ve become an indispensable provider of government financial and macroeconomic data.

As we explore new ways of deriving actionable data from our reporting, we’ve focused on how our accuracy and speed can be used by top-tier firms in the financial industry.

We’ve always covered economic news out of Washington and elsewhere, of course, but we now have the ability to transmit critical data to our clients in a process that takes microseconds – quicker than the blink of an eye – to allow them to take action immediately.

Called AP Event-Driven Data, our machine-readable, ultra-low-latency news service instantly provides market-moving data and surfaces insights about breaking economic news. We started AP EDD after acquiring NASDAQ’s “RapiData” reporting business in 2014, and have examined every part of the delivery system to make enhancements.

To provide a look into how we’ve maintained our accuracy while improving our speed, I spoke with the team overseeing AP EDD.

Bruce: Can you explain how our Event-Driven Data service works?

Brad Foss

Brad Foss, deputy business editor: The government releases economic data that gets dissected by financial markets on a nearly daily basis.

Credentialed journalists are allowed to review the data in advance under embargo, with strict security in place. This gives them time to write and publish stories for a general-news audience the moment the embargo lifts.

When the embargo is lifted, our reporters also transmit the raw economic data, via our low-latency system, to financial firms to use in their trading strategies.

Bruce: How are they able to do that?

Linda Dorrian, senior director of application development: We enter the data into proprietary software that directly connects to our customers’ systems once the embargo ends and the data is released.

Right now, we’re actively looking at ways to improve our delivery and shave off every sliver of every second. But because the amount of time we’re discussing is so minuscule, we’ve brought in the best talent in the field and set up a state-of-the-art lab to measure the effects of changing fiber optic lines, streamlining hardware and tweaking software.

And the tweaking never ends – it’s an ongoing, methodical team effort to ensure that AP EDD maintains its leadership position.

It isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of business.

Russell Pollack, senior manager of markets operations: And to ensure accuracy, we have our editorial staff regularly reviewing the integrity of the data. We now have two reporters who check each other’s work and backstop each report.

Brad: It’s not just numbers that we’re inputting, either. For example, much of what the Federal Reserve says in its policy statements is open to interpretation. It requires experienced reporters and editors to parse every phrase so that they can deliver to customers a meaningful interpretation of Fed statements and actions.

Russell: At the end of the day, our customers are concerned about two things – how quick are they getting the data, and is the data accurate?

Evan Schnidman

Evan Schnidman, founder and CEO of Prattle – a financial data company that analyzes text communications from central banks — emphasized the importance of accuracy in choosing AP EDD as the low-latency channel for his proprietary data.

“Our biggest concern with all of our clients who rely on our sentiment scores is making sure we have credibility and that the data we’re providing is accurate. This is why we only use primary source material for speeches and press releases, etc.

“And so in going with AP, the selection there was really based on the fact that AP has a sterling reputation for its reporting and now has the capacity to deliver data through its high-speed system.”

Bruce Glover

Bruce is a director of business development at The Associated Press.

insights, finance, data, business