Whether you refer to it as a control room, security operations center, command center, or another variation, one thing is clear: they are an integral part of an enterprise organization’s ability to identify threats and respond accordingly. Vistacom often discusses the importance of a common operational picture and within a control room, that’s where this term comes alive, providing operators with the information they need to make decisions in real-time as incidents occur.
Prior to being able to respond, building the control room and designing the space with a singular goal in mind is of utmost importance: ensuring the operator’s effectiveness. The basic goal of a functional and forward-thinking control room is to ensure exceptional operator functionality. While this is an ongoing focus, the recent rise in COVID-safe practices within businesses has taken room design and functionality to a whole new level, prompting a review of additional guidelines and considerations organizations should evaluate when constructing mission-critical spaces:
For many operators, effectiveness is tied to their workspace. And the nature of response is better streamlined by centralizing control of multiple workstations simultaneously. For example, having a single keyboard and mouse that allows operators to intuitively interact with any and all screens and dashboards can ensure faster response times without the added complexity of changing from workstation to workstation. Today’s control room operators have an average of 3 to 8 displays with 2 to 4 different PCs. With centralized control, the work surface can be made a little more intuitive and less cluttered. In the ongoing fight against the spread of COVID-19, this can be even more customized with a plug-and-play option for each operator to have their own keyboard and mouse, which can reduce touch points and prioritize cleanliness in the room.
Additionally, operators can benefit from individual headsets that promote health and safety best practices, while integrating seamlessly with unified communications platforms to better communicate effectively across departments and external emergency response teams.
One of the most common best practices for ergonomic workspaces is the benefit of a sit/stand console for operators which provides a number of benefits including:
- Reduced back pain
- Accommodations for operators of different heights
- Ability to keep operators engaged and focused
As important as the consoles are, chairs are just as important. No two operators are built the same and a flexible, durable, seating option is paramount. 24/7-rated chairs provide the adjustability and will meet the demands of the operator and the environment they are in.
Room Comfort Factors
Overall room design is an important consideration when creating a control room. Lighting levels (and options that allow them to be adjusted) help support natural circadian rhythm. Human-centric lighting (HCL) is a holistic approach that should include all aspects of how lighting affects operator’s wellbeing, productivity and comfort in the control room. For operators working late-night shifts, circadian rhythm is very important and utilizing technology like HCL can help support natural circadian rhythm and reduce overall fatigue that can hinder an operator’s ability to respond effectively.
Reducing Foot Traffic
From remoting or virtualizing PCs, to break room and rest room design, to installing a conferencing area within the control room itself, minimizing foot traffic within the control room removes potential distractions for the operators and improves the overall health and security of the control room staff. Remoting or virtualizing PCs means IT staff isn’t physically in the control room to service them. Installing services such as conferencing within the control room means staff isn’t leaving the secure area and outside team members aren’t coming into the control room space. Post-pandemic, this means less risk of contagions being introduced into the control room itself.
Overview Video Wall
The incoming information for an operator is what makes the difference between responding effectively and missing the mark. An overview video wall can help paint a common operational picture that enhances situational awareness and promotes effective response. Choosing the right technology that can be easily integrated into existing systems and solutions — and working with a valued integrator partner to do so — will help make the video wall installation a seamless process and add more value to your investment. An overview video wall adds another tool to the operator’s tool box which should not negatively impact workflow or operations.
Line of Sight
When operating in a control room that has a centralized video wall with integral information on it that must be accessible at all times, the ability to see what’s happening is crucial for operators. Sometimes it can be as simple as staggering a console to allow for better line of sight for an operator (so they aren’t staring at the back of someone else’s head) or elevating a desk to allow for standing.
As an organization looks to update or build a control room or security operations center, there are so many factors that should be considered: traffic and talking patterns between operators, the reduction of distractions, how sight lines play into the layout, and so much more. Leveraging the knowledge of a control room expert that specializes in these elements and can make recommendations based on individual needs is critical to maintain the level of comfort needed within the operational space.
Vistacom can help set organizations up for success, pointing out ways to maximize situational awareness and operator efficiency throughout the process.