The modern control room

What exactly is a modern control room?

A control room or operations center is a room serving as the central hub from where a facility or service can be monitored and controlled.

These control rooms usually consists of a number of operator workstations and a large view screen or video-wall which is visible from all areas within the room. Information or processes are monitored and controlled by the individual operators and shared to the large display screen to allow for collaboration.

NASA’s ISS flight control room – source: Wikipedia
Some examples of control rooms

Security control room – This type of control room is usually used to monitor security camera feeds and alarms and may be staffed by the police, military or private security companies. The operators typically communicate information to the response teams in the field or co-ordinate special operations.

Process control – Power plants and mines have a number of automated processes which run 24 hours a day. The machinery & processes need to be monitored  constantly for safety and operational reasons. This is usually achieved by control room operators viewing and monitoring these processes from a central location being the control room from where the equipment can be controlled remotely by SCADA software.

Call centers –  may utilise a control room to monitor incoming and outgoing calls. The statistics may be displayed on a large screen for the purpose of enhancing the customer service experience.

 Design considerations

A modern control room should be designed with ergonomics, aesthetics and functionality in mind. These include lighting, space, acoustics and the health and safety of the operators.

The equipment needs to be reliable, with built-in redundancy as many control rooms operate 24 hours a day and equipment failure could negatively impact the operation or even cause harm.

The large format displays or video-walls need to be easy on the eyes and appropriately positioned to allow for maximum visibility. Rear projection LED lit DLP screens such as the ones manufactured by Barco are considered the most reliable as they are designed for true 24/7 operation.

 

Authored by Yusuf R Shaik – Control Room and AV Solutions

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