LED TICKER RESOURCES: RFP GUIDELINES
The following guide is to help architects and purchasing departments properly specify a LED ticker display. If you are putting a spec together and would like us to review or provide you with any guidance don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LED Ticker Hardware
The devil is in the detail. The following are our recommendations to create a spec that clearly outlines a quality ticker sign.
Cabinet Size – Clearly showing the height, width, and depth are important to ensure your ticker properly fits and is aesthetically appealing.
- Height = 16 pixel (5.8 inches), 24 pixel (8.2 inches), 32 pixel (10.6 inches)
- Width = specify your desired length in 3 inch increments
- Depth = for straight cabinets we suggest 2 inch and for curved 3 inch
Bezel Size – As with any display you want the cabinet bezel to be as thin as possible to keep the attention and focus on the LED message. We would suggest .5 inch.
LED Matrix – This is one of the most important items to specify. The more LEDs in the matrix the better overall resolution you have to show graphics. For showing logos and graphics we would suggest 24 or 32 pixels in height. To calculate width on a .3 inch pixel pitch there are 40 pixels per foot.
Pixel Pitch – This is the spacing between each of the LED bulbs. The tighter the pixel pitch the better the images show at close viewing distances. For indoor applications we would suggest .3 inch (7.62mm)
Maximum Character Size – This can be calculated by multiplying the Pixel Pitch by the number of LEDs in height. For example a 24 pixel ticker with a .3 inch pixel pitch would produce a 7.2 inch maximum character height.
Maximum Brightness – If your application is in a storefront, atrium, or area with considerable ambient light this is an important item to pay attention to so your message isn’t “washed out”. For normal indoor lighting we would suggest 1,000 nits and for higher ambient areas we would suggest greater than 3,000 nits.
Color – The level of color is important to ensure you are looking at similar featured tickers. You want to ensure you have at least 8 colors to provide you with white and blue options and target 16.7 million shades to get quality logos and graphics.
Mounting Style – Most tickers are designed for standard flat wall mounting. If you have a unique need for some type of angled mount, vertical installation, or ceiling mounted be sure to clearly define it.
Cabinet Style – Rigid, straight ticker sections are most common. If you intend to have your ticker fit in more architecturally where it is concave, convex, circular, etc clearly specify to ensure the display can conform to the design.
Serviceability – Make sure the ticker is front serviceable so in the event of a failure you can easily swap out a module or section without considerable work.
Manufactured & Assembled – We suggest asking where the ticker is manufactured and assembled. If coming from overseas do your due diligence on the repair and service options in the event of failure.
Safety Certifications – Check your building requirements to see if your products require UL,CE, and ETL compliance. This goes hand and hand with where products are manufactured to ensure you don’t receive something that could cause you problems with facilities or building management. (Read this blog post for more information)
Without the proper platform behind your Ticker you may be very limited in what you can display. Ask questions on the functionality and make sure the provider you select is continually improving their product so you aren’t left stranded.
Cloud Based – Look for a web based system that ensures you don’t need to provide or maintain any computers / servers.
Mobile – Ensure the platform is designed to allow you to log in and manage the content on your ticker via a tablet or mobile device.
User Access – Don’t get restricted to having only 1 person with access. Look for a solution that supports allowing multiple users within your organization edit and contribute content.
Scalability – If you want to grow your network of tickers ensure that the platform will allow you to continue adding additional units so you can easily manage all of your tickers from 1 user interface.
Control – Verify you have full access to the platform to update content and schedules at your leisure. (i.e. you don’t have to call your provider to have them update for you)
Scheduling – Ensure you can add as many different types of content as you want into your sequence and that you can schedule that content to show on a specific day of the week, date range, or time of day.
Update Interval – After you make an update how long before that change is reflected on the ticker. We suggest that the update is sent in less than 60 seconds and it is automatically injected into your ticker stream on the next play through.
Development – Is the software platform developed by the ticker provider or are they purchasing / licensing it from a 3rd party provider?
Depending on your use of a ticker licensed content may be a very important part. Be very leary of any provider that tells you that you can find free stock quotes or sports scores on the internet. The sports teams and financial exchanges guard their data closely and require licensing of it. Ultimately you will be the one displaying it so you don’t want to get caught stealing data and encounter legal issues.
We suggest that your ticker platform support the following data types included (no additional charge).
RSS Feeds – The ability to find any publically available RSS feed and post it. This is popular for grabbing specific news sources and or a feed of data from your website / blog.
User Generated Messages – The option to quickly go in and select a font, size, and color and then type in a message.
Images – Upload .bmp files to show graphics and logos.
Twitter– Using standard Twitter search criteria be able to create a stream of tweets.
For licensed data types we suggest you educate yourself on the following:
Headline News – While you can grab a wide range of news sources via the internet for free, you may also want to look to a licensed source such as Reuters for their top headlines.
Sports Scores – As mentioned real-time scores for MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL, and NCAA Basketball and NCAA Football do require a licensed source. While not extremely expensive to get scores and updates, inquire about the data feed used.
Basic Stock Quotes – In order to show 20 minute delayed equities from TSX, NYSE and Nasdaq this can be done relatively economically, but again there are exchange fees that you want to make sure your provider is paying to properly license the source. A few suggested things you want to ensure are part of your data feed:
- Watch list – the ability for you to hand pick a list of stocks to create your own watchlist, and update at your leisure.
- Dynamic Lists – verify your source provides the option to show the top gainers, losers, and most actives for NYSE, Nasdaq, and the TSX.
- Index Chains – the most popular items to watch on a ticker are the constituents of the S&P 100 or the Dow 30. Verify that you can enter 1 code to
dynamically get all stocks in these key indexes.
Premium Financial Data – For users that want to show more than stock quotes you want to investigate premium data options such as Metals, Agriculture, Energy, Bonds, Currencies, and Indexes. Even at 20 minutes delayed these sources still come with higher fees from the CME Group, Dow Jones, and the CBOE MDX. Displaying of the Dow Jones Indexes and the S&P Indexes do need to be licensed and reported each quarter to the respected authorities and these uses are policed so do your due diligence to ensure your provider meets these requirements.
About the Provider
Equally as important as selecting the right hardware and software is making sure the company you are selecting is reputable and there to support you. Here are a few questions we suggest:
- How long has the company been in business.
- How many people are on the client services / support team that assists LED ticker clients.
- How many tickers (not displays – specifically tickers) has the company installed in North America.
- How many linear feet of full color ticker did the company ship in the last 12 months.
- Does the provider offer on-site installation services.
- Does the provider offer on-site support services and extended on-site warranty coverage.