Sport is helping drive LED technology development and deployment
With considerable global focus having been on the World Cup and with UK domestic football clubs looking towards the impending 2014-15 season, LEDsynergy has been inundated with enquiries to quote on and deliver digital scoreboards and LED advertising and information displays for football clubs up and down the country and in almost every division of play.
“Football clubs; along with many other sports clubs and stadia; are really waking up to the possibilities that LED display boards can provide,” explained Jeremy Harwood of LEDsynergy. “At one end of the scale, there are clubs looking to acquire full colour, full motion, ‘all singing - all dancing’ solutions that use the latest technological developments available to show dynamic adverts, stunning images, streamed video and an array of player statistics and other important information. At the other end of the spectrum are simple led character boards that cost just a couple of thousand pounds and can display the countdown timer and the scores. And of course there is a whole myriad of options in between, in terms of design, quality and functionality.”
It is now quite common to see several extremely large video boards at the top clubs with even digital interactive pitch side hoarding becoming the normal for many but these often cost many tens if not hundreds of thousands to purchase. They typically also require a complex system to operate them and some real expertise to develop and programme in the material; although the entry price is continuously coming down and the programming is becoming easier. Then at ‘grass roots’ level there are projects like the one recently completed for Ben Johnston primary school, a simple to operate LED digit scoreboard.
Full colour displays of a metre or so in height and up to five metres in length are however proving to be the most popular as they represent the perfect balance between price and operational functionality. In addition to the traditional scoreboard function, the boards are typically used to provide information on future club events, fixtures, news, traffic details, player information and even material tailored to individual spectators or suppliers. Each display is driven by a PC using a simple software programme that may be directly connected to the board .Even reasonable quality video and animated messages can be created.
Jeremy continued: “Many of the enquiries we receive are price driven, but there are a number of other key factors to be considered when looking for a solution. Build quality is paramount; as is functionality and application. Two seemingly identical components could be used in a solution but one may cost many times that of the other. It’s just like cars, two different models will both, hopefully, get you from point A to B. One just does it in more style, is more desirable, includes the latest safety and user features, is less prone to reliability issues and will withstand the tests of time. Staying with the analogy, you may also want to go off road and even the best small town car would not be a good choice in that instance.”
“What this means is that every installation is different and we would never advocate buying an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution. That’s why at LEDsynergy we will initially ascertain what you might want to achieve with a system and then recommend and build a solution that meets your needs, now and into the future where possible, so that it doesn’t cause disappointment or unexpected issues.”
“And it’s not just about the hardware,” concluded Jeremy. “It’s about getting the complete package right. Many customers for example don’t consider the information they want to display or haven’t considered the advertising opportunities that an LED board capable of running animated promotions can bring. By investing a little more in the technical capabilities of the solution being procured at the outset and finding an appropriate developer for the material to be displayed can often mean that the overall cost of ownership can be reduced as the board can actually generate revenue. We have helped a number of customers develop their thinking with scoreboard so that they not only display the score but are now providing a good source of additional revenue to the club.”