Hi-tech industrial control rooms have become increasingly common in today’s automated industries. And with global market growth ahead of expectations at 9.6% instead of the predicted 5.7% (Omdia research, 2023) , businesses need to guarantee their control rooms are sophisticated and up-to-date.
However, for any company looking to invest in its own hi-tech control room, there are some essential items they need to be equipped with first to ensure that those responsible for operating the control room have a safe, comfortable, and efficient workspace.
This article will review high-tech control room trends, different types of high-tech control rooms and the essential items like equipment, technical furniture and supporting systems needed to outfit your control room. By the time you are finished reading, you will have a better understanding of the different components needed to create an effective high-tech control room.
Control Room Trends
Recently, there have been some major trends in developing hi-tech control rooms. Here are some of the most important to consider:
Designing for Little to no Downtime
Companies are investing heavily in state-of-the-art systems to ensure that their control rooms remain online and operational even during times of heightened demand or emergency situations. Video walls are especially important in these scenarios, as they allow operators to view multiple sources of information at once. Equipment like redundant servers, emergency power backups, and high-end networking can all help ensure that the control room remains operational.
Additionally, processors which are equipped with failsafe switchovers are critical to keeping control room operations running smoothly. By having a secondary processor on standby, the system can instantly switch over if the primary processor detects any issues. This helps improve the availability and reliability of operations, ensuring that the control room can continue working effectively – even in emergency situations.
AV over IP (IP Video)
IP-based digital video, commonly known as AV over IP (IP Video), has become increasingly popular for high-tech control room deployments. This is due to its cost-effectiveness compared to more traditional analog methods of data distribution and transmission. It is appreciated for its flexibility and opportunities for effortless, reliable and secure data sharing. In addition, it is also ideal for use in KVM (Keyboard-Video-Mouse) extensions for control room environments.
Decentralization of multi-room or multi-location control rooms is also a trend. This offers custom design configurations and easy access to data sources, giving the operators more control over decision-making and redundancy. It also adds flexibility in case of an emergency or evacuation situation. AVoIP makes it especially easy to connect with other rooms or locations.
Ultra-High Definition (4K) Displays
Operators in control rooms need visual clarity to ensure they are making the right decisions and to identify problems quickly. As such, ultra-high definition (UHD) displays have become increasingly popular for control rooms. UHD resolution has four times as many pixels as Full HD (1080p).
This function increases clarity and detail at close viewing distances, making it easier for operators to read labels and interpret symbols. UHD also offers wider color gamuts and increased contrast, which can be important for accurately interpreting images.
Ergonomic Technical Furniture
Ergonomics-friendly furniture is essential for hi-tech control rooms. This includes adjustable height desks, chairs, and monitor arms to ensure operators can adjust the working environment to their natural posture or comfort level. This helps to reduce fatigue and stress on the body, in turn improving operator performance over periods of time.
Machine Learning for Optimization
Machine learning is another control room trend that has been gaining traction in recent years. In fact, AI and machine learning solutions are fueling the growth of the control room market.
By leveraging AI, machine learning can facilitate real-time predictive maintenance and provide system optimization for the control room. For example, using machine learning algorithms to anticipate faults or detect irregularities within the system can save time and improve efficiency in the process of managing a control room.
Cybersecurity at the Heart of Operations
With the rise in cyber-attacks and data breaches, ensuring a high level of security is also becoming more important in control rooms. This includes having measures such as multi-level authentication and encryption to protect valuable and sensitive data from external threats.
Operators are able to identify potential threats early on if they have the necessary tools and resources. Intuitive graphical user interfaces can help operators understand complex data quickly, while artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to detect irregularities in the system and make predictions about future events. AI-powered analytics can also be used to translate large amounts of data into meaningful insights to help operators stay informed about the status of the control room.
Here, ergonomics-friendly furniture is key to creating a control room that is both operator-centric and comfortable, allowing personnel to remain alert for long periods without fatigue.
Control Room Screen Upgrades
Liquid crystal display (LCD) screens are increasingly replacing light-emitting diode (LED) screens in control rooms. This migration is due to the LED’s higher brightness, improved contrast ratio and greater color accuracy.
These features are especially vital for control rooms as they allow operators to quickly and accurately interpret information from the screens.
LED also offers better off-angle viewing, making it easier for multiple operators to view data without straining their eyes. Moreover, LED technology is becoming more energy efficient and has a longer lifespan when compared to traditional LCD displays. This makes them an attractive option for control rooms, as it reduces downtime and operational costs.
Modern Control Room Layouts
Layouts for hi-tech control rooms vary greatly depending on their function and purpose. While some layouts may be more suitable for power plants due to the need to monitor multiple systems simultaneously, other layouts may focus more on the ergonomics of furniture placement.
No matter what type of layout is chosen for your business’s floor plan, it’s important to ensure that everything within the control room is designed for optimized comfort and efficiency. This includes considering factors such as furniture placement, adequate space between workstations, easy access to equipment, and support and organization of equipment and any supporting peripherals.
Modern Control Room Solutions
The right control room solutions are essential to ensure a successful hi-tech control environment. From ergonomic chairs to monitor arms to adjustable furniture, having the right solutions in place can make all the difference when it comes to optimizing a control room environment.
It’s also important that these modern solutions are designed with an eye toward scalability and future upgrades. This way, as technology advances and additional components or equipment, are added to the control room, the solutions can easily be adapted to accommodate these changes.
Types of Hi-Tech Control Rooms
In this section, we’ll explore the different types of hi-tech control rooms, their unique features and functions, and their requirements.
Operator Control Rooms
These control rooms are designed for operators to monitor and adjust processes in real time. Situational awareness equipment and information displays can help with that. For instance, they can give operators a live view of the process, allowing them to make decisions quickly and accurately.
Audio-visual setups at the workstation and on walls are also important, as they can help to ensure operators have full control over the processes they’re managing.
An efficient control room floor layout is critical. However, the complex tech setups the control room industry demands can make office spaces cluttered or clunky. As such, your control room floor plan should be populated with durable, well-designed and properly implemented furniture.
Saraval Industries can source high-quality industrial control room desks and control room consoles that are equipped to manage the large monitor arrays, multiple computers, extensive cabling and more that high-tech control rooms rely on.
TV Control Rooms
TV control rooms are designed to monitor, manage and adjust systems that support TV programs or broadcasts. This makes them heavily reliant on specialized equipment such as cameras, monitors, multiple computer towers, monitor arrays, power and data cabling.
All of that can make it complicated to maintain a sleek, well-functioning TV broadcast studio, especially around workstations where projects have strict deadlines.
Therefore, any video editing and production desks that editors and their teams need should organize space and even have a custom design so that everyone can focus on the task at hand.
Utility and Power Plant Control Rooms
These control rooms are used to assess, monitor, and adjust production processes. Plus, they must operate 24/7 to deliver their essential services. That said, control room designs for this industry need to be built to manage and optimize the utilities and power plants without fail.
Also, their setups require an efficient layout and specialized equipment, such as monitors and sensors, that can monitor multiple systems at once. In addition, control rooms built for utility and power company workrooms should have multiple touch-panel displays that can quickly adjust settings and access data.
All workstations used should be able to adapt easily to the high-paced and ever-changing environment. For instance, operators should be able to adjust the height and angle of their control consoles and monitors as needed.
Equipment that is helpful in making these adjustments include ergonomic monitor arms and monitor stands, and sit/stand desks, which can help operators find the most comfortable position for their work.
Video Production Control Rooms
Video production control rooms are used to manage the entire video production process, from pre-production to post-production. These control rooms need to accommodate the advanced systems used in video production, such as editing suites and instant replay systems.
To build out your video production control room, you need things such as AV over IP software, professional computers, digital and streaming media distribution equipment, production recording equipment, signal processing systems, video production equipment and wireless signal processing.
Technical furniture used in these control rooms should be durable and have features supporting all the different components used in the video production process. Workstations should be equipped with enough space to monitor and adjust multiple systems at once while also having a design that can handle both heavy equipment and easy accessibility.
Environmental Control Rooms
Environmental control rooms are used to monitor conditions such as temperature, humidity, and air quality. They have a range of sensors and monitors to track these conditions, and the control room must be designed to accommodate all of these different systems.
To make sure that the environment is properly controlled, you will need reliable equipment such as a UPS system for reliable and uninterrupted power supply, emergency lighting systems for safety, control room furniture with centralized environmental controls, and an effective HVAC system with the right filtration system to maintain ideal temperatures and environmental conditions.
Additionally, ergonomic furniture should also be included in the design of the control room to ensure that operators are comfortable while they work. This includes adjustable monitors with stands and arms, ergonomic seating solutions, articulating keyboard trays, CPU holders and more.
Radio Control Rooms
Radio control rooms are used to manage and broadcast radio programs. Equipment you’ll see used here include a communication system with transmitter, channel and receiver, LAN systems, Bluetooth devices, mobile phones, workstation computers and remote controls.
Any broadcast technical furniture used in the room needs to be highly functional and durable to support the deadlines this industry demands.
Noting that there are a few main things to keep in mind regarding these demands and your technical furniture. The first is that the console needs to be able to handle the weight of all of your equipment. The second is that the console needs to be designed for the staff’s ease of use. The third is that it needs to organize any peripheral devices and ancillary equipment so you can get your work accomplished quickly and effectively.
Factory Control Rooms
Factory control rooms are used to monitor the production and operation of a factory. Optimized space is paramount to these industrial control rooms, which must house the large quantity of equipment needed for effective operations.
Likewise, all the industrial furniture used in factory control room settings should provide enough space for operators to access all the equipment at once while allowing them to adjust their workstations for maximum comfort. The furniture should also be suited for long hours of use while allowing staff to move quickly and effectively between tasks.
If the factory control room has a video wall, technologies such as AV over IP and KVM can assist in sending the video wall display’s content to a monitor in a separate room. The goal of this function is to assure the continuity of any information needed.
Surveillance Control Rooms
Surveillance control rooms monitor security systems in commercial and residential settings. To be effective, these control rooms should have technology that allows them to monitor multiple locations simultaneously, track suspects and send out alerts when necessary.
To maintain a well-running surveillance control room, you need technology you can depend on – multiple computer towers, monitor arrays, power and data cabling – along with a well-functioning security console to manage all the equipment.
The furniture in these settings is critical, too. Unlike the office, control room operators must remain seated throughout their shifts. This means they need a comfortable chair and workstation that can be adjusted easily.
The right furniture should also allow for troubleshooting and maintenance. If an operator is responsible for any tasks outside of his designated area, he needs to move around quickly without having to leave his workstation. So, adjustable and efficient furniture solutions are key in these types of rooms.
Let Saraval Industries Help You Design the Perfect Control Room Setup
Saraval Industries specializes in finding the best possible control room solutions for our clients, selecting and installing high-quality furniture designed to function with complex technological setups.
Years of experience working with different industries and supplying furniture for their control room environments have helped us understand their unique needs. That means we know exactly how to design a workspace containing large monitor arrays, multiple computers, and power & data cables, maintaining a commitment to sleek aesthetics and great functionality.
Contact us today for a quote and learn how we can help you optimize and maximize efficiency in your control room and elevate your operations.
Sources cited: https://omdia.tech.informa.com/