RSS drives Reuters lobby’s screen

We just got back from the wonderful Global Voices conference which was held in Reuters’ Headquarters. We met bloggers from around the world (we met Hossein Derakhshan, aka Hoder, the famous Iranian blogger, among many other talented bloggers from around the world like Dina Mehta of India who was blogging the event). What a great way to end our tour through Europe. I predict that this conference will soon be a lot bigger than the 100 attendees that were here today.

Anyway, while there I got to talking with Ivan Newman, head of internal service for Reuters. Quickly I learned that he has worked at Reuters for 18 years and knows tons of people and things about Reuters. He has a wealth of knowledge about Reuters. Anyway, Reuters just moved into this headquarters back in May, so I asked him “what is the coolest thing about this building.”

Without hesitation he said the lobby screen. I wish I had my camera (our batteries were dead) but it’s a huge screen right behind the reception area when you walk in. Something like 30 or 40 feet wide.

We talked a bit more (I learned there’s enough cable in the building to stretch from London to Los Angeles, for instance) and then Maryam and I went off to attend sessions at the conference.

Later Ivan came up to me and had Matt Hassock with him. He’s technical operations manager for Reuters. Matt is the one who had the screen built, so knew more about it. He said he’d turned it on just to show me, so we went downstairs.

This is one hell of a screen. It cost 600,000 pounds (about $1 million). It’s made up of millions of five-color LEDs. But that’s not the cool part.

It’s a Flash app running on a Windows XP box. Matt tells me the box has not been restarted since it was turned on in May. But, that’s not the cool part, either. The app, every few minutes, checks with one of Reuters’ news servers around the world. It’s like a big RSS Aggregator. While we were standing there it checked with the server in Russia, pulled down several photos and news headlines and displayed those. It had a cool animation that showed which city it was displaying, then you saw current news headlines flying across the screen.

Ivan said they wanted a corporate showpiece that would subtly remind visitors of Reuter’s business and brand. I’d say it does that, and more.

Oh, and they have two of these screens. A second screen displays news and market prices from around the world to the public square outside of Reuters’ headquarters.

Now we’re off to visit the London geek dinner.

35 thoughts on “RSS drives Reuters lobby’s screen

  1. Sooner or later the financial services world is going to find out, but I think it is in the best interests of Reuters customers to know that Reuters is shutting down the Kansas City development office, putting over 100 employees out of work.
    This is significant because the people there develop BridgeChannel, Bridgestation, Reuters Plus, in addition to a good part of the BDN data delivery infrastructure as well.
    Why, then, is Reuters hiding this fact from its customers?? Shouldn’t Goldman, Susquehanna, Fidelity and others be made aware that financial service products they depend on every day are being outsourced to the far east — likely to consulting companies based in India??
    As an interested third party, I feel the actions of the brass in London to move these mission critical products off-shore is something that definitely needs to be told.

  2. Sooner or later the financial services world is going to find out, but I think it is in the best interests of Reuters customers to know that Reuters is shutting down the Kansas City development office, putting over 100 employees out of work.
    This is significant because the people there develop BridgeChannel, Bridgestation, Reuters Plus, in addition to a good part of the BDN data delivery infrastructure as well.
    Why, then, is Reuters hiding this fact from its customers?? Shouldn’t Goldman, Susquehanna, Fidelity and others be made aware that financial service products they depend on every day are being outsourced to the far east — likely to consulting companies based in India??
    As an interested third party, I feel the actions of the brass in London to move these mission critical products off-shore is something that definitely needs to be told.

  3. Todd: I’m sure there’s a firewall between the Internet and the machine that runs the sign so even if it were unpatched (we have employees checking on that cause we don’t like hearing that things are unpatched, which this machine seems to have been) it wouldn’t have gotten broken into anyway.

  4. Todd: I’m sure there’s a firewall between the Internet and the machine that runs the sign so even if it were unpatched (we have employees checking on that cause we don’t like hearing that things are unpatched, which this machine seems to have been) it wouldn’t have gotten broken into anyway.

  5. There is a nice little application called TickerShock ( http://www.mesadynamics.com/tickershock.htm – OS X only ) that takes RSS feeds and allows you to run them as a news ticker along the bottom of a screen. We have it running on an old laptop connected to a 19 inch LCD in our school hallway. We feed the ticker with school announcements and such via a weblog and RSS. Images display as desktop images and refresh every 5 seconds.
    More about how we use it can be found here:
    http://tim.lauer.name/archives/003108.html

  6. There is a nice little application called TickerShock ( http://www.mesadynamics.com/tickershock.htm – OS X only ) that takes RSS feeds and allows you to run them as a news ticker along the bottom of a screen. We have it running on an old laptop connected to a 19 inch LCD in our school hallway. We feed the ticker with school announcements and such via a weblog and RSS. Images display as desktop images and refresh every 5 seconds.
    More about how we use it can be found here:
    http://tim.lauer.name/archives/003108.html

  7. Reuter’s bought a commpany called Tibco that makes a pub/sub information distribution technology that they sell to financiual companies… I suspect their screens are feed from Reuter’s internal Tibco Information Bus (TIB) feeds and do not use XML at all… but they may use XML. They probably have to encypt the data to protect the data as a asset… they sell that data as a service. But claiming it was RSS got Dave Winer’s attention… and fed you more readers. Check out the TIB for industrial strength subscription services. It ain’t cheap…

  8. Reuter’s bought a commpany called Tibco that makes a pub/sub information distribution technology that they sell to financiual companies… I suspect their screens are feed from Reuter’s internal Tibco Information Bus (TIB) feeds and do not use XML at all… but they may use XML. They probably have to encypt the data to protect the data as a asset… they sell that data as a service. But claiming it was RSS got Dave Winer’s attention… and fed you more readers. Check out the TIB for industrial strength subscription services. It ain’t cheap…

  9. Sounds cool. I created an similar application for plasma screens and bigger ones around the BBC in London, Washington and New York. Also, those massive screens you might see at railway staions around the country are fed by RSS and other xml formats, delivering a nice video payload with ‘extras’ like news, weather, market data etc.

    The ones that feed from just RSS, without direct journo input just run and run. They clean up after themselves and do clever stuff with images and are also network aware – where they show someting nice when the network goes off and spring back to life. Flash makes like easy – and informs – as well being low maintenance. Cool! The coolest thing about it the rss data has already been through the editorial process for publishing on the news website, so no need to have bespoke content for it. It’s there already – just bigger ;)

    Good to see you again tonight, Robert ;) Another interesting evening!

  10. Sounds cool. I created an similar application for plasma screens and bigger ones around the BBC in London, Washington and New York. Also, those massive screens you might see at railway staions around the country are fed by RSS and other xml formats, delivering a nice video payload with ‘extras’ like news, weather, market data etc.

    The ones that feed from just RSS, without direct journo input just run and run. They clean up after themselves and do clever stuff with images and are also network aware – where they show someting nice when the network goes off and spring back to life. Flash makes like easy – and informs – as well being low maintenance. Cool! The coolest thing about it the rss data has already been through the editorial process for publishing on the news website, so no need to have bespoke content for it. It’s there already – just bigger ;)

    Good to see you again tonight, Robert ;) Another interesting evening!

  11. I got to talking with Ivan Newman, head of internal service for Reuters. Quickly I learned that he has worked at Reuters for 18 years and knows tons of people and things about Reuters. He has a wealth of knowledge about Reuters. Anyway, Reuters

    Are you new to this writing thing?

  12. I got to talking with Ivan Newman, head of internal service for Reuters. Quickly I learned that he has worked at Reuters for 18 years and knows tons of people and things about Reuters. He has a wealth of knowledge about Reuters. Anyway, Reuters

    Are you new to this writing thing?

  13. Sounds very much like the hacks cnn is running within their situtaions room. Not sure of the 40ft monitor and infrastucture assets at cnn !

  14. Sounds very much like the hacks cnn is running within their situtaions room. Not sure of the 40ft monitor and infrastucture assets at cnn !

  15. Very cool to see things like this, but I think your headline is a little mis-leading. Doesn’t sound like RSS is feeding the app, but Reuters internal news systems.

    I worked at Reuters for many years as well, and they have some amazing technology to shuffle news and data all around the world – you need to be that good when the world’s currency, bond and stock traders rely on that data.

    But in this case, I’m not sure its about RSS, its all about what Reuters has done since the 1960s – move news and information around electronically and format it in the best way for the application.

  16. Very cool to see things like this, but I think your headline is a little mis-leading. Doesn’t sound like RSS is feeding the app, but Reuters internal news systems.

    I worked at Reuters for many years as well, and they have some amazing technology to shuffle news and data all around the world – you need to be that good when the world’s currency, bond and stock traders rely on that data.

    But in this case, I’m not sure its about RSS, its all about what Reuters has done since the 1960s – move news and information around electronically and format it in the best way for the application.

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