Today’s merger and acquisition mania has left almost no quarter untouched. Banks, entertainment conglomerates and telephone companies, among others, have all reaped the benefits of joining forces. And now, a somewhat more abstract idea has entered the feeding frenzy. The information age has officially been coopted by the telecommunications age.
In case you’re having trouble keeping track, the information age was sparked by a growing number of information outlets–largely due to more cable channels and the increased use of the Internet. The widespread use of pagers, cellular phones and ocher nontraditional communications devices has ushered in the telecommunications age. But recent technological advancements have allowed companies to merge the two to provide a myriad of news, communications and information services to consumers.
QuoteXpress, a financial markets information service, is one the of latest offerings to combine information and telecommunications. The service, from San Jose, California-based DataLink Systems Corp., provides real-time stock quotes and market information directly to any alphanumeric pager. It monitors all North American stock markets: NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, U.S. OTC and all Canadian exchanges. DataLink is currently adding international markets such as Japan.
Investors can choose different personal alert settings depending on their need for information. For example, users can also be alerted when a stock trades higher or lower than the price limit. “We’ve had customers that routinely receive stock information before their brokers,” says Nicholas R. Miller, chairman and founder of DataLink (www.datalink.net). The service can also alert investors when the trading volume or closing prices on stocks exceed specified limits.
There are two types of messages that QuoteXpress can deliver: standard quotes and bid/ask quotes. Both message types provide the stock symbol, last trade price, daily price change from the previous day’s close and total daily volume. The standard quote includes high and low prices for the day, while bid/ask includes bid and ask prices.
There is no limit to how many stocks can be monitored, though DataLink recommends no more than 25. The basic cost for the service is $19.95$39.95 for 150 quotes per month, and an additional 5 or 25 cents for each additional alert (depending on which plan you choose). Stock notification parameters can be changed via fax, phone, e-mail or the World Wide Web.
To take further advantage of their satellite network and alphanumeric pager access, DataLink has recently introduced MailXpress, a service that provides notification of high-priority e-mail messages. Similar to the QuoteXpress service, the user enters personal filters for priority messages. These keyword filters can be in the subject or body of an e- mail document. For example, a user can select the name of a specific client or the term “important” as the criterion for special alert. The alert will display the name of the sender and the subject of the message.
When notification of an important e-mail is received, the user can then choose to receive the message at a nearby fax machine. “The problem with e-mail is that you don’t always have access to a terminal to check for messages,” says Miller.