Jan. 31, 2022 - Increasing productivity and efficiency in today's modern control room begins with building an integrated control room, where operators can focus on their mission and not on the technology. The challenge is being able to display the relevant combination of information in the right place at the right time on the video wall, the operators' desktops, in a crisis room or a director's office. Having all systems and applications interoperable and controlled from a single unified platform is the key to creating a seamless visualisation experience. This article describes how to do just that.
Creating the Most Efficient and Reliable Modern Control Room
The primary purpose of a control room is to provide a central space that can effectively monitor and control complex systems, whether it is a large industrial process control application, a complex transport network or a command centre for emergency services.
For the most effective operations, control room operators must have up-to-date information that is accurate and complete. That data must be presented to them in a clear and logical way, in a layout that can be changed quickly as needed so that they can respond rapidly to changing situations and emergencies.
Modern control rooms generally include a large video wall for common access and visualisation of data and group analysis, coupled with individual workstations. These workstations typically have the same data as the large screen along with additional information, allowing specialist operators to extract the additional information required for their specific roles.
To achieve this, it is imperative to select the right technology that allows the combination of both elements (video wall and operator workstation content) to be managed by a single system in an integrated and flexible solution.
Here are the three critical steps to achieving the ultimate integrated control room installation:
1. Large Video Wall & Control System
The first step is to select a high performance and flexible large screen video wall and control system. It is important to choose a video wall that can display high quality images and data, offers a thin-bezel or no bezel (LED) design, is modular for scalability and delivers a great viewing experience in various lighting conditions.
There are various manufacturers that can offer such high-end displays. A great example is Samsung's The Wall, a proven next-generation MicroLED display that is redefining the industry with a one-of-a-kind visual experience. The Wall brings superior colour purity with innovative colour enhancing Ultra Chroma Technology, a perfect black presentation with Black Seal Technology LED HDR and HDR 10+ support for optimum peak brightness and accurate grayscale expression. It is a real game changer for control rooms. In July 2021, Samsung certified VuWall's VuScape video wall controller as the first to ensure a seamless interoperability and optimized visualisation experience. READ PRESS RELEASE
Video Wall Processing (a.k.a. Video Wall Controller)
It is equally important to select the right video wall controller to maximize the usage of the video wall. Selecting the optimum controller is key to ensuring that operators can see what they need to see, when they need to see it. The most critical characteristics to consider are its performance, scalability, flexibility and ease of use. You can learn more about the specifics of these critical considerations in this article: "Essential Considerations When Investing in a Video Wall Processor". VuWall's VuScape line of video wall controllers have been deployed in thousands of control rooms worldwide. Designed for mission-critical operations, they offer high performance video processing, can easily control and manage any source to any display and offer the utmost flexibility and scalability with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface with a full-featured video wall management software.
Video Wall Management Software
In addition to the performance and processing power of the video wall controller, it is often the software that resides on these controllers that makes all the difference. There are many comparable video wall controllers out there, but it's their software that differentiates them the most. The software is what determines the user experience and how productive control room operators will be. The most critical consideration for selecting the right video wall management software is interoperability; a platform that can route virtually any source type to any display and is compatible with third-party devices so that a single interface can be used to manage all devices on the network. Ease of use is another critical component; software that offers easy drag-and-drop operations both to configure and to operate the video wall.
TRx is VuWall's centralized management platform – the only true interoperable platform that provides both AV-over-IP distribution and a fully-featured video wall management software. TRx even includes a control panel designer to create customized HTML-based control panels to facilitate day-to-day operations, all without any programming required.
2. Workstations & Switching Technology
Selecting the optimum switching solution is crucial in control rooms that must provide operators with the information they need when they need it. Providing operators with the correct information from a vast array of different sources can be challenging, but thankfully, this challenge can be overcome with the right technology.
Accessing the Right Information
With an increasing amount of data and visual information, an effective control room demands a system that unifies and routes information effectively so that each operator can select the most relevant data and easily control remote computers to accomplish their tasks.
KVM Matrix Switching for a Flexible Connection
One of the most efficient and flexible ways to achieve this is with a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switching system. Typically, the computers and source devices supplying the data that operators need to observe is located at a distance from the operators in a secure server room with a controlled environment. Access to those computers is possible using KVM extenders, an integral element of the switching system.
At the centre of the KVM system is a matrix switch that routes individual computers to operator workstations. Any operator can select any source computer and control it as though the computer was located only a few metres from their desktop; with no latency, interactive delay on the keyboard and mouse or misleading artefacts on the screen. It is also possible for several operators to view and control the same computer simultaneously – under strict access control to maintain operational integrity. More information on the capability and application of KVM switches within control rooms can be found in the KVM in Mission-Critical Control Room brochure.