From the February 2013 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Software Review: Bionic Trader Systems’ Keyboard Trader

Keyboard Trader 
Bionic Trader Systems, LLC
www.keyboardtrader.com

 

Overall Rating:  4 out of 4

 

Requirements

Currently, the only way to trade with Keyboard Trader software is over the X_TRADER® API. This requires an X_TRADER® Pro license. Windows XP or Windows 7, 4 core processor, 2 GB memory, high bandwidth, 300 MB hard drive space, PCI-E 128 video card, Microsoft net connection software. Capable of trading all futures products at 10 different exchanges around the world.

Pricing

Keyboard Trader has four pricing levels for the software, ranging from $350 to $850 per month depending on your needs. Seven different keyboards are available ranging from $275 to $415, with additional custom-made keys available. 

Installation and support:  3.5 out of 4

A collection of five tutorial videos is available on the website as well as detailed help files. As good as they are, I found that the complexities of the software/strategy required one-on-one consulting. They offer two to seven consulting hours free with the initial purchase, and additional one-on-one hours can be acquired for a reasonable price. I found that to utilize the system to its maximum potential, further hours were needed. As in any new system, the more I used it, the more questions I had and Bionic Trader's staffing was knowledgeable and accommodating. Demos can be done in the Chicago office or, as in my case, remotely. 

Overview of product:  4 out of 4

The basic premise of Bionic Trader systems is to more fully integrate the physicality of the user with functionality of the order entry system to maximize trading efficiency. Keyboard Trader is basically a software product driven by a keyboard. It enables users to execute multiple trades simultaneously to position themselves instantaneously and optimize prearranged strategies. 

The product’s strengths lie in its unique blend of the personalized configuration of keys and the programmability of those keys. You can set up to 15 tradable workstations and activate one at a time or all at once. Each key is programmable to execute sequential sets of functions with one trigger. In other words, you can program multiple target keys to each have a position you want to be in at that time, given those market circumstances. It does not matter where you are position-wise, it gets you where you want to be with the push of a key. Example, one push of the “zero” key will trade you to a flat position in all markets while simultaneously canceling all open orders, while one push of the “target” key will get you to prearranged long and short positions simultaneously across any number of markets. 

The natural evolution of this product is perfect to optimize your spread trading. You have the ability to work the inside of the markets, join the bid and offer, as well as taking the order to the market within a specific range. 

The keyboard is customized by you to increase speed of execution. You are sent your choice of seven keyboards. You then can arrange the keys to fit your own hand. The original keys are pre-programmed and set, but you have the capability of reprogramming or adjusting each individual key to execute specific functions. Example: Program one key to add a prearranged number of contracts to the bid or the offer, and once set you can adjust increments pretty much at will, giving you great flexibility. You can make your target key four times as large as your order adjustment keys, making it easier to hit that key and place it at the quickest spot for your fingers to reach.  

Keyboard skills are not extremely essential. With a little practice and proper placement of your keys you can increase your execution times vastly, putting the human element back into portfolio trading. 

Conclusion

Keyboard Trader gives the individual trader an edge when trading multiple markets. Its strength lies in its ability to reach positions in separate markets simultaneously and close to instantly with the simple push of a key. Strategically planning trading theory ahead of time and utilizing the pre-programmable keys helps take the confusion out of position management when in the thick of the trading day. Spread traders would benefit the most from this technology. Once accustomed to the intricacies it is easy to utilize and organize. 

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