Category Control Room Design

The Control Room of the future? You decide.

By David Jones, Sales Manager Control Room Group.

A friend of mine who works for a manufacturer that we represent asked me what I thought the control room of the future will look like. To broaden my response, I put the question to our sales team. After some discussion, it occurred to me that we had ignored our most valuable resource if we truly were interested in the control room of the future – those that are using the control rooms of the “now”.

The Control Room of the Future

As a provider of 24/7 mission critical control room systems, my experience is that control room design is driven by the technology immediately available to us at the moment the design goes from mind to paper. When you think about it, that is a very narrow perspective.

Would our system design perspective be broader if we worked 24/7 in a fully operational control center knowing exactly what was needed to make the control room more efficient and productive – the control room of the future? I think it would.

So if you presently have a control room of any shape or size I have a favor to ask of you. Please send me an email at David.Jones@avispl.com describing your present control room. Please include details like when the control room was installed, the size of the room, which technology is used and what you like and don’t like about the facility. Then tell us what you want your control room of the future to look like, again including information such as size, technology, functionality and anything else you’d like to mention.

To show our appreciation for your input, I’ll trade you a cool piece of Control Room Group swag for your email.

Let’s go forward to the future!

Control Room System Scalability (aka Crawl-Walk-Run)

By David Jones, Sales Manager Control Room Group.

When you look at the pictures on our website of the control rooms that we’ve designed and built, you no doubt notice that most are large and loaded with the latest technology. That might lead you to believe that all we work on are big and bigger projects.

CRiB: Control Room in a Box

Not the case. We started working with many of our clients when their needs and budget allowed for a system comprised of little more than a single piece of technical furniture, a small video processor and a single large format display.

Those setups eventually evolved into the control rooms pictured on our site.

During my career in the control room industry, I’ve never had a client ask me to come back and make his or her system smaller. The client’s needs grow, which means that the system needs to grow as well.

When we begin working with a client we make certain that the system’s infrastructure is scalable, meaning that the design will allow for growth as the client’s operational requirements grow. A scalable design ensures that the budget used to create the first control center is truly an investment, and a return on that investment can be expected.

So how did a single console and screen turn into the large control centers you see on our site? I’ve included two architectural renderings that illustrate this transformation. The first rendering shows a system designed for a small single operator control center – we call this system a CRiB (Control Room in a Box).

CRIB expanded to accommodate two additional operators

Rendering #2 shows the same system expanded to accommodate two operators by adding another console and additional large screen video displays.

Regardless of the size of the project, our design engineers work directly with clients to create the system design that will best serve their needs now and in the future.

If you’re interested in building a new control room or upgrading your existing control center but you’re not sure where to start, give me a call at 888-619-9083 x 8010 or send me an email (David.Jones@avispl.com) and we’ll discuss System Scalability, or as I like to call it “Crawl-Walk-Run.”

What’s Best For My Control Room: Video Walls or Walls of Video?

By David Jones, Sales Manager Control Room Group

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like everyone dreams of having a “video wall” in their control center. Video walls are great, but they’re not necessarily the correct control room display for everyone.

A Video Wall

One of the first tasks of our sales team is to determine whether the client needs a “video wall” or a “wall of video.”

Although both are powerful tools and have a potential place in the control center, there are big differences between the two. Most customers have never had those differences explained to them. This leads to mistakes in the system design. The client ends up spending money (not “investing”) on unnecessary technology that will never be used properly.

A video wall is made up of a video processor and an array of video displays, (typically video cubes or narrow bezel LCD panels.) The video processor addresses the entire video array just like a CPU addresses a monitor. Users can run multiple applications on the display and open other windows as needed.

A Wall of Video

This setup would come in handy at an energy management center, for example. If there is an outage, it can be managed on a portion of the video wall, without sacrificing the rest of the display.

A wall of video is also composed of an array of video displays; however each display shows the signal from one of multiple inputs. A video matrix switch routes the appropriate input to its corresponding display.

In our illustration of a power outage above, one of the inputs would have to be removed for the energy management center to address the situation on a wall of video.

A wall of video is more appropriate for a security center, for example. Each display would show the signal from one of multiple cameras. If one camera fails, the remaining displays would remain functional.

As we said earlier, both the video wall and wall of video are powerful tools, but each addresses unique control room needs. Many of our clients come to us asking for a video wall when in fact a wall of video fits their requirements best.

If you’d like to learn more about the difference between a video wall and a wall of video, and learn more about how they can benefit you in the control room, please email me at david.jones@avispl.com. I’ll give you all the details.

Learn more about the Control Room Group

Meet the Control Room Group

By David Jones, Sales Manager Control Room Group

The Control Room Group (AKA the CRG) is a business unit of AVI-SPL. Created in 2002 by current CRG Vice President Sean LaNeve, the CRG works exclusively in the mission critical control room market space.

We design, integrate, install and support full spectrum command and control facilities. Our client list includes the United States Military, the Florida Department of Transportation, Bank of America and Nevada Power.

US Central Command

As we say at the CRG, there is no “one size fits all” control room design. We specialize in customized solutions for our clients. This requires strategic partnerships with the manufacturers of products used in the modern control room, including video cube technology, flat panel displays, human machine interface (HMI) systems and video processing technology.

The CRG is composed of teams that focus solely on one of four vertical markets:

  • Government
  • Utilities & Process Control
  • Transportation
  • Corporate (Network and Security Operations Centers)

The CRG teams are experts in their markets. They speak the language of the control room and understand the nuances of control center operations. But most importantly, they are familiar with the system designs that best address the day-to-day issues and opportunities that arise in each vertical market.

Our Utilities & Process Control team alone has more than 60 years of direct experience in the electric utility industry. The team has successfully completed more than 35 control room projects that range from small cooperatives to the largest Investor Owned Utilities in North America. All of our vertical teams have similar success and service records. It is our industry-specific structure and focus that makes the CRG a unique and valued strategic partner to our clients.

Meet David Jones My intent is to keep this blog as current and informative as possible. Our industry expertise enables us to provide you with statistical and anecdotal information about all aspects of the mission critical control room market.

Please don’t hesitate to give us your feedback – questions, comments or critiques. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you.

Learn more about the Control Room Group