The Changing Shape of Control Rooms
The necessity for large corporations and institutions to integrate work from home options for workers has led to the traditionally centralised workspace devolving into a multi-locational system that is controlled from a centralised source. This centralised source must support not only operators working from home, but also accommodate an increase in secondary control centres that have been created to conform to social distancing requirements. Other outside agencies such as channel partners and cybersecurity specialists now also require space. Add to this the increased need for computer vision products to process and represent artificial intelligence or machine learning (AI/ML) generated data, and you will find the need for a new kind of control room setup.
As competition increases and acceptable margins for error decrease, control room technology manufacturers and design consultants are creating solutions that work in tandem with one another. This has led to the rise of the ‘process control room'.
Process control rooms are where the monitoring of a variety of industrial and technical process take place. These often require the storage of large pieces of equipment such as servers, computers, and monitors that are needed to provide a graphical representation of the multitude of processes that take place throughout the facility. With the incorporation of 5G and an increase in emphasis on the ‘Industrial Internet of things' (IIoT) we will also see an increase in the number of critical control centres within institutions and throughout industry. These will need to facilitate software solutions that upgrade communication between operators and management. They will need to provide multi-screen visualisation technologies to allow comprehensive situational awareness, and they will need to be developed using platforms that allow operators a measure of flexibility.
The role played by these process control rooms is expected to increase, substantially, in the future
As daunting as it sounds, it's important to remember that people are at the centre of it all. These processes, and all their associated networks and hardware requirements, need to be serviced and monitored by staff. So a reliable, space efficient, and flexible method of doing so is paramount. It must all fit together in a way that is beneficial to productivity and output while providing staff with the best possible workspace and conducive working environment.
Workspaces are essentially productivity centres, and they need to support the various ways people work. Atdec is knowledgeable about the control room space and our consultants are specialists in monitor and display mountings for both desks and walls including for control centres. In practice this primarily involved working in consultation with channel partners – specialists who design and build control rooms, commercial furniture multinationals, architects, and technical furniture manufacturers.
Atdec provides several solutions for control room designers
A more streamlined, increasingly paperless, collaboration-focussed, and technologically efficient workspace requires different workspace designs than in the past. Technical desks, multi person workstations, and collaboration zone designs can be customised to maximize space utilisation in the control centre.
Spaces are being used differently depending on the task at hand: one operator may sit at a desk set-up for a few hours, followed by a group collaboration zone. Co-workers need room to efficiently share ideas and engage in other team-inclusive decision-making, which, of course, must be efficiently enabled by technology. With the increased importance of visualising large amounts of data from multiple sources both rapidly and interchangeably, display mountings have diversified into custom configurations based on the individual requirements of the control room, and the specific operator on duty at the station. Atdec offers a variety of modular mounting solutions for ergonomic multi-screen workstations, that can be adjusted or reconfigured as required, including:
- AWMS for unlimited monitor mount configurations.
- ADB-VWP ‘pop out video wall' mount for accessible hardware.
- Modular and single display wall mounts for however many displays in whatever configuration required.
Accommodating Today's Workflows and Technology Ergonomics
- Modular mounts provide the perfect solution for custom configurations combining multiple screens to suit operational data.
- Displays follow the natural shape of the desk, maximising desk space and achieving the perfect viewing angle and focal distance for the operator.
- Displays or multi-monitor displays must be adjustable so each shift operator can work optimally.
Each individual and team should be able to configure their workspace "on demand:"
- Create comfortable and ergonomic individual workstations to maintain an open, collaborative work environment.
- With more operation centres monitoring more data from more sources, performance and productivity gains can be achieved by matching control room and remote access setups for staff working off-site or from home.
- Cabling well secured and concealed.
Desk Real Estate
- Move/adjust placement of screens "up and away" when not in use.
- Turn screens from horizontal to vertical orientation as needed.
- Mount technology screens on the back edge of a workspace so valuable space isn't taken up by traditional desk base stands.
Rapid changes in the space make it vital for hardware to be future proofed to enable control rooms to stay ahead of productivity trends. Atdec solutions are flexible and highly adaptive to these types of changes.