Posts tagged control center

Another Way to Buy Your New Control Center

"Control Room Group"Are you ready to refresh your existing control room, expand your existing control room space or build a new control center in a new facility? If so, you’ll soon see that making the decision to move forward on the project was the easy part of the process and now the really hard work begins.

What is the hardest of the hard work? Figuring out how you’re going to pay for the new control room.

In previous posts, we’ve talked about the traditional ways of purchasing Control Room Group (CRG) goods and services, i.e. the traditional negotiated purchase and the lease – and the benefits of each. Now we’d like to talk with you about a NEW way to purchase your control center.

Let’s fast forward through the initial contact, the series of meetings between your staff (operators, engineers, IT staff, facility engineers and security staff) and ours (design engineers, production engineers, project managers and installation managers) and get to the part where you’re satisfied that the CRG will provide you with the control room of your dreams and you’re ready to buy.

So, what’s the NEW way to buy all or a portion of your control center? By taking advantage of available federal grant monies. Yes, there are federal grants available that can pay for all or a large portion of your control room project! I was surprised to learn over the last few weeks of 2011 about the number of government grant programs that are available to our clients, and this grant money can be used to help pay for your control room project.

In an attempt to facilitate the grant proposal process and ease the potential pain of learning this process, the CRG has a staff member who is expert in the world of grants and we are offering their services to you FREE of charge. Our team is here to help you research available grants, determine whether or not your project qualifies and then, and most importantly, help you write the grant proposal. If you want to get started on searching for available grant money, please call me or drop me an email.

As you move forward on your project(s) this year, don’t forget that there are a variety of ways to pay for your new control center – outright purchase, lease and purchase, lease only, and last, but certainly not least, utilizing available federal grant monies. Please take advantage of our new grant assistance services. I think you’ll be plesantly surprised by the number of funding sources available to the market.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to call me at 888-619-9083 x8010 or e-mail me at david.jones@avispl.com.

Free consultations from the Control Room Group. Who says there’s no such thing as a “free lunch?”

By David Jones, Sales Manager Control Room Group

Just recently, I had the opportunity to review a control center request for proposal that was sent to us by a client in one of our vertical markets. We had been working with this client on a regular basis over the past few years helping them design their control room facility.

De ja vu all over again set in as I was sure I’d seen the specification before. After a little investigation I was surprised to find that we had indeed responded to the very same specification not once but twice in the last year.

Each of the three clients had used the same firm as their consulting engineering company and each had been given the exact same specification down to the bullet points.

Although the three companies were prominent in the same vertical market, the problem is that the three had entirely different needs, missions and budgets insofar as their technology requirements in the control center. As I’ve mentioned before in my blog, there is no one size fits all control room design or set of control room technologies, but let me say it one more time – There is no one size fits all control room design or set of control room technologies.

The Control Room Group has more than 450 clients that we’ve designed and built control rooms for over the last eight years and we’ve never built the same room twice. The likelihood that these three clients had exactly the same control room requirements was pretty slim.

Also, as you might have heard me say here before that the Control Room Group works with all the manufactures of mission critical components to create a custom solution that is specifically designed to meet your unique control room requirements using common off the shelf components.

So, here’s where the “free lunch” comes in. If you’re in the process of designing a control room facility using an in house or outside resource (aka consultant) I’ll make you a special offer.

If you or your consultant contacts me at David.Jones@avispl.com before the end of the year – December 31, 2010 – we will provide your project with either a FREE system design that exactly meets your needs or a FREE system design review and subsequent comment and suggestion report.

So, maybe there really is such a thing as a “free lunch?”

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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.

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