Storage Markets, the first company to offer a predictive market tool to the data storage industry, announced is open for free trading to data storage professionals. Storage Markets uses a technique called a predictive market to help professionals express their opinions about market and technology trends in the data storage industry. By participating in the Storage Markets' online virtual stock trading website, the storage community makes its own industry predictions through the determination of the share price, which effectively represents the probability that the underlying claim will be correct. Predictive markets are currently used by the financial and the motion picture industries, politics, sports and many other industries to answer market intelligence questions.

"Storage Markets delivers a rewarding, new way for storage professionals to express their opinion about future technology and market trends in the storage industry," said John Ives, president and co-founder of Storage Markets. "Every opinion is aggregated and the results are demonstrated by the share price of a particular outcome. In turn, this kind of data can be useful for vendors making strategic decisions or to support other forms of industry analysis."

Academic studies have shown that predictive markets work best when the community is a broad, diverse group that acts independently. Storage Markets includes participants from hardware and software vendors, data centers, end users, and analysts that approach the topics from the perspective of engineering, marketing or sales. The founders envision that this technique will grow to ultimately shape how all-strategic decisions are made in the storage industry, so this is a huge opportunity to influence the future of storage investment.

"Predictive Markets work," said Alex Costakis, senior vice president and managing director, Hollywood Stock Exchange. "We have been applying this technique to answer market intelligence questions for the motion picture industry for the past ten years. Studio executives would be paralyzed without the insights that the 'wisdom of the crowd' provides. I have no doubt that the data storage industry will find the Storage Markets tool extremely useful."

Questions posed on Storage Markets are constructed to answer specific market intelligence inquiries from a company or organization that seeks clarity. In addition, Storage Markets poses general interest queries designed to spur trading activity. The data resulting from trading activity can be used by all registered traders to quickly understand, for example, when a key transition might take place, or where such a feature should reside in a particular time period.

Early participants have found that trading real-world issues on Storage Markets is both fun and insightful, and it brings out a competitive spirit among the top traders. The mechanics work like this - P redictions on future events are traded in virtual currency called Bit$. Once the final outcome is known, Storage Markets pays off the winning security at Bit$ 100, while the losing securities become worthless. Savvy players have figured out that they can profit by staying a step ahead of conventional wisdom. The virtual market allows them to post higher gains by buying and selling to take a profit in one outcome, and then invest in others.

"As a former analyst, I was constantly getting customer requests for some sort of crystal ball to help them plan for market transitions. A nd now as a customer of Storage Markets, I know first hand that the data collected proved to be very useful to help us assess where to focus new product initiatives," said Steve Kenniston, a storage industry professional. "This tool helps cut through the hype to understand the future of the storage industry."

"As a Storage Market trader, I have gained insights on storage industry trends and how they evolve. Storage Markets is a venue that I use to verify and compare my knowledge against a neutral industry backdrop," said a Director of Engineering at a prominent server company who goes by the username 'sidv' at Storage Markets. "It is also very stimulating to compete with my peers on correctly ascertaining market trends."

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