An End User Q&A – What Are They Saying About the Top 9 Control Room Challenges
We reached out to end users, as we often do, to better understand their challenges. This article covers a selection of the responses we got from users in Emergency Response Centers and Process Control Operations Centers.
Their video walls serve as an essential part of their control room, but the video wall isn’t the end all solution to the challenges that they face every day. Let’s see what they have to say.
1. How do you deal with the flood of data?
ANSWER: The challenge is to bring together and visualize the large amounts of data from the many different systems in the control room so that the employees can do their job in the best possible way. We need to cope with the “excess” of data by constantly displaying what is most important and have access to what is currently needed while having the rest of the information available in the background so that it can be retrieved quickly if necessary.
ANSWER: The flood of data or the flood of information, rather, in our control center is increasing dramatically. For example, each deployment unit need information about individual alerting routes and availabilities, and every operator registers every call. All of this information must not only be managed by the dispatcher, but must also be addressed in seconds. An inappropriate process and lack of a proper system to instantly manage it, leave too much room for errors.
2. Do you have too many screens on your desk?
ANSWER: All essential systems are permanently connected to designated screens and are operated directly from there. Additional screens are often assigned additional information or, if they are not required, they are switched off and only switched on again when necessary. It is important that all essential information is visualized on the large main screen, currently mostly static, but sometimes more dynamic.
ANSWER: The large amount of information to be managed requires more and more monitors. It would, of course, be most desirable that only the most critical information is displayed, and only displayed during the active work phase (e.g. query, decision, alerts, support, resolution). Just like in a modern aircraft cockpit.
3. How is equipment obsolescence handled in your control room?
ANSWER: Since ISO27001 it has not been an issue anymore, but an ongoing task.
ANSWER: We haven’t had issues with systems becoming obsolete. Our control center undergoes regular updates, although there are some exceptions.
4. What challenge have you faced with the collaboration and communication between the operators and other stakeholders?
ANSWER: COVID-19 has certainly brought about new ways of working here where video conferences has become a permanent method of internal communications. Currently, the conferencing systems are completely independent from the control room systems, as the control room technology isn’t prepared for an integration.
5. Do you work with many different systems? As a result, have you experienced interoperability issues between the different systems?
ANSWER: Yes. Some. For example, there are problems moving the mouse pointer over several system platforms with the KVM system, because there are no compatible drivers (common to all KVM manufacturers).
ANSWER: This is one of our biggest problems. With new technologies constantly emerging, often new standalone solutions without any integration with the control center system due to missing interfaces, more and more data must be transported manually by the dispatcher.
6. Any challenges with ergonomic factors like tiredness, noise, lighting, distractions, etc.?
ANSWER: With our new control room, we have succeeded in addressing ergonomic considerations. The COVID-related creation of alternative workplaces was the biggest challenge here. We had to quickly set up emergency workplaces at different locations, and in some cases, drastically slimmed them down.
ANSWER: Ergonomics certainly play a role, but they have been doing so for a long time, and so not a recent challenge. Control centers that were built following the latest ergonomic specifications, are mostly still up to standard.
7. Any challenges with “Ease of use” of the systems?
ANSWER: Fundamental and frequent changes in the operation of systems (e.g. Windows) are innovative, but massively disruptive.
8. Do you also see the trend that more and more data comes via IP?
ANSWER: Yes, on many of our systems, but for the visualization in the control room, these are managed via KVM.
ANSWER: Yes, definitely.
9. Will remote work become an issue for you?
ANSWER: Due to the COVID-19, this is unfortunately a reality and I believe that it will remain this way.
ANSWER: In our control center, there is no option to work remotely. For such demanding application scenarios as ours, the process only works with a physically present team. However, in the entire control center world, I do believe that this is a trend that could work for many.
Addressing Control Room Challenges
VuWall is focused on developing video wall management and AV distribution solutions that enable interoperability between systems and offer ease of use from our TRx centralized platform with easy drag-and-drop operations. Our visualization solutions are designed to reduce integration risk and time and improve operational efficiency. Our team of experts are here to help you design the most efficient control. Learn more about our Free Design Services here.
- VuWall’s Control Room Solution
- WEBINAR: New Trends & Critical Considerations for Control Room Design & Display Solutions (Presented by VuWall, Samsung, EENA 112, CCD)
- Article: 3 Steps to Building an Integrated Control Room with a Seamless Visualization Experience
- Article: 3 Ways to Increase Productivity in a Control Room