Horse Auction Firm Uses Data-Driven LED Displays For Running Sales Events

January 30, 2021 by Dave Haynes

This is not the most exciting use case I’ve seen for digital signage, but as noted endless times, useful and efficient is often more meaningful than Wow Factor jobs.

In this case, it’s a horse auction company that uses DV LED screens, BrightSign boxes, and live data feeds to show the state of affairs on auction days.

The set-up is at Tattersalls auction houses in the UK and Ireland. Tattersalls is a centuries-old bloodstock auctioneer that facilitates the trade of National Hunt and Flat Horses to bidders across the globe. Last year, more than 7,000 horses were sold across Tattersalls sites in Newmarket in England and Ratoath, County Meath, Ireland.

During sales days, says a BrightSign case study, Tattersalls uses an audio-visual system to display lot numbers and prices in guineas, alongside a video feed of the horses being led around the ring. Additional currencies are also displayed, depending on the audience, including Hong Kong Dollars, Chinese Yen and Emirati Dirham.

The original display systems at the auction sites have functioned well for around 20 years but had finally come to the end of their working life. Consisting of individual LED segments in hardboard enclosures, the displays across all sites looked tired and were inflexible to use. Furthermore, they ran on an RF feed, which provided low picture quality.

Seeking something more sophisticated, Tattersalls turned to Spectra Displays, who proposed a complete turn-key system based on BrightSign players, blending functional, high-tech displays into the auctioneer’s historic buildings, which it is legally required to preserve under the UK’s Listed Building regulations.

The signage system takes a video feed from a camera on the main ring and displays it with text overlaid onto the live footage on LED screens. The screens show the bid number, prices in the appropriate currencies plus horse traits and breezing videos, where bidders view the horse running at a moderate speed.

Different screens show the same core content, with the presentation adjusted to suit the size of the monitor. For instance, the smallest screens display just current lot number and horse price in guineas. There is a ticker of previous lots sold and the value they sold for in guineas on some displays. Content is streamed online for the benefit of remote bidders around the world.

A guinea, by the way, is not a furry starter pit for kids, but an older English currency term that equates to roughly one pound sterling.

“BrightSign players saved us a huge amount of work,” says Richard Handley, Manager at LED supplier Spectra Displays. “We were faced with either writing a bespoke PC application or finding a player that allowed for more interactive features. Other players could trigger input but would not enable a user to write their own script without creating an HTML5 webpage.”

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