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by Gareth Brown
in Big Data ,
on 19 August 2015

Press Release: Digital Contact expands big data engine to keep traders on top of online whispers

Big data specialist, Digital Contact, has invested part of its $3.8 million funding to expand its analytics engine, now processing billions of messages per day, ready for the launch of its new financial monitoring platform,

Making fast, intelligent trading decisions requires the trader to have a good, in-depth knowledge of the markets and companies they are interested in. However, many trading systems are falling behind in technology, leaving the systems feeling antiquated and providing users with one-dimensional information. enables traders to delve deeper into the markets and companies; by harnessing the power of big data, social media, advanced natural language processing (NLP) technology and analytics, delivers fast, real-time financial information and insights where traditional sources struggle to deliver.

Monitoring financial news and live stock prices, the platform will enable traders to access real time information from top indices, and covering thousands of publicly traded companies, as well as a wide range of sectors. 

With the expansion of its big data analytics engine, Digital Contact is able to capture and store data from over 1.6 million web sources, whilst monitoring and storing more than 250,000 social media messages per second at peak times. The platform is capable of processing up to 22 billion of these messages per day, further validating these data points, tracking sentiment and financial information around companies, markets, and sectors. Digital Contact also runs named entity recognition across each of these sources to identify who and what the content is about.

Utilising its social media analytics and NLP technology, on June 2, 2015, flagged Merlin Entertainment as a potential risk, almost immediately after the tragic Alton Towers ‘Smiler’ crash occurred - a whole hour before the stock dropped 10%

Digital Contact CEO, Gareth Mann, said: “What happens in seconds and minutes can drastically change the decisions traders make. Our pick-up of the Merlin Entertainment (owner of Alton Towers) accident and how it affected the stock price just goes to show how social media is a vital source of information if companies and traders want to stay ahead of the curve. However fast our news media is today, it can take as long as an hour for something to be picked up and, by that point, a story could already have emerged on social media, so making sense of online chatter is what can make or break a trade. Our big data engine is now processing more than ever before, and we’re constantly refining it to see how we can push it even further, meaning is set to be a market contender when we launch later this year.” 

To support in performing at the incredible rate it does, Digital Contact has a production system capable of generating and processing over 10 gigabytes of data per second, with the capacity to store 2.5 petabytes through its Hadoop cluster– the equivalent of 163,840 iPads. has already been monitoring chatter around major companies. When HSBC accidentally tweeted the UK launch date of Apple Pay, the social conversation circled the topic on the Sunday, 12th July 2015 and by Tuesday 14th July (the official launch date) Apple’s stock price had increased by $5. 

A couple of weeks later, when Tesco announced it was banning sugary drinks including Ribena, Capri-Sun and Rubicon from its shelves in a crackdown on obesity, shift in social chatter was reported on the dashboard  [see screenshot below]. It spotted above-average mentions of Ribena on the Tesco tag cloud between 8.00am and 12.00pm, corresponding with Tesco seeing two sudden stock price drops of 2p within an hour – one at 9.42am and one at 10.28am. 

Investors using the platform would have seen the news stories breaking on the retailer as they broke, enabling them to make a decision on whether or not to sell their shares. 

Screenshot below, from Digital Contact, shows how online conversations around Tesco’s sugary drinks ban alerted users to the announcement, before share prices dropped

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