Control Room Operations in the Age of Coronavirus

Posted in: Command & Control , Healthcare , Security , Transportation , Utilities

By Joshua Herring on Mar 25, 2020

Over the last several weeks, the world has seen an unprecedented shift in day-to-day business operations, transitioning toward a remote workforce and all that entails, as well as limiting person-to-person contact in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

As more direction comes from the federal government (as well as many state leaders), businesses are tasked with not only keeping people safe, but critical assets, as well. Many times, this means keeping employees deemed “essential,” such as security directors and on-site operators safe and these departments operational. While this is not without its challenges, there are a number of ways to achieve both:

Reduce Operator Fatigue

Protecting facilities and the people in them is a 24/7/365 job that involves long hours and attention to detail, and that can do a number on the ability for operators to remain at the top of their game. Organizations should take this into account when designing or upgrading a control room space, choosing ergonomic workstations that allow for comfort, the right lighting for viewing video and alarms, and the ability for operators to sit and stand as needed. Incorporating best practices, such as regular breaks, proper temperature control, and the right equipment can help reduce operator stress and fight fatigue, leaving these essential employees better able to handle incoming alerts.

Focus on Basics

While cleanliness within an operations center should be an ongoing focus, in today’s landscape, the inherent nature of shift work and engaging multiple operators within a control room space deems this absolutely essential. The sanitation of operator consoles should be top-of-mind, centered around wiping down keyboards/mice, phones, headsets, touch screens, drawer handles, and any other surfaces that are frequently used. This should be done at each shift change or any time multiple people are in the space.

Engage in Remote Monitoring

In the current climate, so many organizations rely on being physically present at their facilities, but that might not be realistic with the lockdowns in place and restrictions placed on what is considered “essential.” Some businesses might be looking for ways to continue daily security operations using a fully managed and outsourced GSOC to provide immediate support and assistance. These “GSOC-as-a-service” providers, like RAS Watch, allow organizations to comply more fully with shutdowns and mandatory quarantines, while also protecting business assets and properties.

Take a Look at Best Practices for Remote Communications

Remote work is trending across enterprises, vertical markets and even in education, leaving businesses scrambling to meet the demand of employees in a work-from-home environment. The same rings true for security leaders. Cloud-based video conferencing platforms such as Starleaf allow for encrypted communications between remote workers and control room operators with 99.999% uptime on their systems. Right now, Starleaf has three-month licenses available and their systems can be remotely configured and maintained for a zero physical footprint from an installation perspective.

Engage With Partners That Can Guide the Process

One of the best ways to help protect staff is to enlist the help of outside partners that can ensure technology is supported (and can do so remotely). When a control room is in constant use and required to be “up and running” at all times, even the smallest amount of downtime can be detrimental to the safety of the business and its employees. The system in place should have regular check ups, and engaging with a partner that can ensure remote access and support is available and working at all times should be an integral part of any control room plan. A good partner can also work with a business’ team to ensure that system documentation is up-to-date with the latest manuals and SOPs, as well as help develop contingency plans in the event of an outage. While you never hope to use these plans, an essential function of business is to address issues before they are issues.

In uncertain times, there are a number of ways to continue to support essential business functionality and the protection of both physical assets and people. To navigate the challenges this landscape presents, engaging with an integration partner that can recommend platforms and tools tailored to specific user needs is critical. Vistacom’s team of experts is able to work with you remotely to learn more about your business, your needs and make a plan on how to help you succeed — and thrive — in this climate.

Last Post
Back to Blog
Next Post