Traditional control rooms often lack the scalability and flexibility required to accommodate future technological advancements and changing operational needs. With emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and automation becoming more prevalent – along with continuing data growth – control rooms need to have the infrastructure and capabilities to integrate and adapt to future developments.
The growth of data continues at pace
In this data-driven world, control rooms face the challenge of managing and monitoring multiple sources and video feeds from various operations. This influx of information has become too overwhelming for traditional systems to handle effectively.
Moreover, control room operations are being consolidated both functionally and geographically. Smaller control rooms are being merged into a centralized control room to enhance communication and collaboration.
For instance, airports are combining emergency services, baggage handling, immigration, flight control, and other operations into a central Airport Operations Centre. Similar consolidation efforts are taking place in the power utilities sector, including electrical generation & distribution, oil and gas production facilities, and rail traffic management.
Consequently, challenges arise regarding the migration, organization, and control of data sources for each function. Ensuring critical information is accessible to operators within and outside the control room remains a significant hurdle.
Control room integration and consolidation
Many control rooms are designed with specific applications in mind, often centered around a single systems vendor for a particular function. These core applications serve as the main function within the overall control room. However, alongside these core applications, there is also a need to monitor and control other complementary data sources, such as CCTV cameras, web pages, TV feeds, and external third-party systems. The integration of these additional sources into the control room poses various technical, commercial, and legal challenges that must be overcome.
Consequently, control rooms often struggle with outdated technologies and design principles, which result in a lack of necessary tools and information displays for operators. This limited situational awareness, coupled with inefficient workflows, leads to frustrated operators and negatively impacts response times and decision-making abilities.
Advancements of data visualization and control
The adoption of AVoIP technology is rapidly advancing, playing a crucial role in ensuring seamless communication and efficient operations. This technology allows for the transmission of high-quality audio and video signals over a network infrastructure, enabling real-time monitoring, collaboration, and decision-making.
The way operators access this data is also evolving. Many control rooms are now opting for larger workstations that provide individual operators with access to a greater number of data sources. This allows for improved situational awareness at an individual operator level.
At the same time, there is growing need for smaller video walls and/or individual large displays setups designed for sharing information among smaller groups of operators, promoting more efficient collaboration.
A crucial necessity for numerous critical services and applications, which must consistently be accessible to users, is ‘high availability’ – the capacity for a system or network to remain operational and reachable for an extended duration, typically without any discernible downtime or interruptions. Attaining high availability entails incorporating redundancy and fault tolerance mechanisms across the infrastructure. This frequently encompasses redundant hardware components like servers, network devices, and storage systems, as well as resilient software configurations capable of withstanding potential failures.
Probably, the utmost crucial aspect of a Control Room operation is security. This significance is magnified even more when dealing with copious amounts of potentially sensitive data transmitted over a network. Connections between connected devices should be fortified with enterprise-grade AES encryption, where user and API connections utilize TLS encryption, guaranteeing that all information remains secure in the possession of authorized operators.
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Future-proofing control rooms with Aetria
Datapath’s control room solution, Aetria, is now deployed globally in control rooms, utilized in prestigious locations such as Presidential palaces, defense hubs, and businesses of all sizes across every continent.
Aetria proves invaluable as data volume grows, assisting operators in comprehending the information. By leveraging Aetria, sources can be efficiently distributed throughout the control room environment, granting operators timely access to relevant information.
Moreover, all Aetria installations are equipped with redundant systems, guaranteeing uninterrupted operations by automatically transferring video wall, workstation, and data source configurations to backup systems.
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