For decades, factories and government institutions have relied on control room solutions for better security and efficiency, but now many more industries are jumping onboard. With the widespread availability of data, there are advantages to building out a control room, and an AV integrator can help their clients realize these advantages with the right technology. Some of those technologies include:
- Video walls
- Video matrix switches
- Microphones and switches
- Room management and controls
Together, these control room solutions will optimize information delivery and communication between team members.
The Control Room Video Wall
Control rooms are hubs for information delivery, and this information is quickly and clearly conveyed visually. A video wall is a must to ensure everyone in the control room is seeing the same information, at the same time and as quickly as possible to facilitate a faster response. Another major benefit of video walls is that they get most of the information off of individual workstations and display the info on a screen everyone can see.
Video walls can be built to any size, so any control room can accommodate one. Though video walls can be made from LED panels or specialized technology like microtiles, full size digital displays make the most sense for control rooms. This is a no-frills, perfectly functional approach that ensures maximum usability and cost effectiveness.
With a video wall in place, control room operators can arrange visual information in the most useful way possible. A single video wall may include news and weather information, security feeds, network device status, alarm information, power status – anything the control room operators need to do their job effectively.
Video Matrix Switches
Control rooms may operate dozens, or hundreds, of video outputs, divided up into one of more workspaces. The main control room is where most of these digital screens are, but there may be additional rooms for private meetings and offices. These spaces may need the same information fed to the control room, so there’s a lot of video information to handle.
Video matrix switches are responsible for keeping all of this information organized and directed to the proper outputs. There are many video switch designs, each with a different number of inputs and outputs, each capable of handling certain signal formats. Modern video matrix switches can also deliver audio, switch between sources and outputs, and even send information to a public address system. In short, the switch is the connection between the cameras and monitors, so you’ll want a switch that is rated for long term, continuous performance, and one that can accommodate the control room’s equipment.
Microphones and Speakers
Audio isn’t necessary for every control room, but if remote communication must be maintained, it is very necessary. This is true whether communication is between the control room and other locations, or between rooms at the control facility. In either case, quality microphones and speakers are needed to deliver quality audio. This is one of the easier parts of the job, as aesthetics are rarely a concern and performance is the priority. Gooseneck microphones are a perfect choice if there’s enough room, and they can be mounted in ways that get them off of the desk. If space is at a premium, there are boundary and ceiling microphones as well.
Audio conferencing technology may also be essential in side offices and meeting spaces. A tabletop conference phone like the Poly Trio works well in this setting, with sophisticated audio-blocking features that ensure meetings are kept private.
Room Management and Controls
AV solutions include room and system controls, so the control room’s functions can be easily managed from a single workstation, or even remotely. An experienced integrator will work with their client to determine how these controls should be managed and who should manage them, so the proper permissions are set up before the system is available.
Control room AV solutions also include management software, designed to make video wall layout and source switching as easy as possible. Ideally, this software would interface well with any existing control room software, and an integrator can also provide insight here.
Room scheduling solutions may also be necessary if meetings are frequent and meeting space is not always available. Room scheduling solutions include hardware and software components, and allow people to schedule meetings in advance and place them in a calendar everyone can view. Room scheduling solutions are also used to assign meetings to rooms, so there’s no chance of double-booking, and they can be used to communicate quickly with everyone involved, so there’s no excuses for missing the meeting.
An Integrator Can Make it all Happen
As control rooms are designed to communicate high volumes of high priority information, AV integrators are perfectly suited to the task. Given the complexities involved, though, choose an integrator that has developed control room solutions before. Control rooms may contain hundreds of connected AV devices, and that’s at a scale that only an experienced professional can handle.
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