In 2005, BT Group paid Reuters Group $175 million to acquire Radianz, which today operates a leading cloud-computing network for the financial services industry. Radianz was providing such utility services back then as well, but it took a few years for cloud to catch on as a metaphor and, ultimately, the widely adopted on-demand, pay-as-you-go model that it has become. Although some still debate whether it is safe to store certain corporate crown jewels in a shared infrastructure, by now everyone has at least mentally come over the line, says Michael Cooper, who became an early Radianz employee in 2001 and since 2010 has been CTO of BT Radianz, which operates within London-based BTs global banking and financial markets group. The cloud is a clear alternative to costs of distribution that are never-ending, Cooper says. Software and other as-a-service facilities in the cloud make more sense. The 53-year-old points out that Radianz was ahead of its time in another way: as a collaborative community and ecosystem. Connecting thousands of financial market customer endpoints worldwide, the Radianz cloud added 169 customers in the past year and more than 150 new applications from more than 30 providers. The number of new providers reflects changes in market structure and how they are being operationalized, Cooper explains. BTs global reach and activity in its cloud yields insight into how financial technologies are evolving. The CTO observes that in the past 18 months, Singapore has emerged as a force in fintech innovation, potentially rivaling the U.K. and the U.S. He sees other Asia-Pacific financial capitals Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo also developing ecosystems capable of exploiting local advantages. While exploring some early use cases of blockchain, Cooper says, he has become particularly intrigued by virtual identification-security methods known as tokenization. Identity is an area of considerable interest, he says. This technology can facilitate new ways of doing business.
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