What is a Control Room?

A control room or operations room is a room serving as a central space, where a large physical facility or dispersed service can be monitored. These areas are perfect for public sector organisations, stadiums, education establishments, and other high profile businesses which  can be severely affected by unforeseen circumstances. From piracy attacks to pandemics, crowd surges to viral rumours; risk is many and varied. While we all hope these situations will not arise, planning for if they do, can literally save lives in some cases.

While it is impossible to anticipate the full nature of the risk, events such as this could severely impact staff, clients, product, service and delivery. It could put staff, clients and assets at risk and/or impact brand reputation. The way an organisation responds will determine the outcome and impact so timely, informed decision-making is critical. This is where a control room can help, by providing the means to analyse, assess, determine a course of action and ultimately control the situation as much as possible. Solutions such as the one pictured, showing an NEC video wall driven by Hiperwall, can bring many benefits.

What Technology is Needed?

When an incident is underway, there may be a number of analysts or key personnel involved in critical decision making. It becomes important that content can be transferred from individual screens to the incident control room displays quickly and efficiently. This requires precise programming and systems that are robust, reliable and easy to use and is something that features in the majority of control rooms we have designed and installed.

Two way communication with any staff at the site is vital making robust videoconferencing equipment key. The Access to live TV feeds and/or CCTV is another crucial aspect, as this provides real time information on what is happening. This is particularly relevant when there are staff at ground level for crowd surges or incidents, they can be directed to safety or safely control the incident.

Flexibility is also important . For some organisations, the control rooms have permanent staff, however for others the rooms are only deployed when there is a crisis. For these organisations, having a divisible workspace that can be enlarged and opened up into other areas in case the incident requires further personnel is critical.  Again, precise programming and engineering is key and allows this easily.

Control rooms aren’t just for monitoring physical attacks or upheaval, fake news and brand attacks are also important to consider. There are many social media monitoring tools available which will provide the appropriate level of outreach to gain vital early intelligence on other forms of attack and fake news e.g. Sharp’s Hiperwall provides the unlimited flexibility to manage multiple and numerous sources helping to get an instant view of your media exposure to steer you through a crisis.

How we can help

Our team are experienced with Control Rooms, having installed a number of them over the years including at various Government organisations and comercially for a Global Fuel Giant. At time of writing two projects are finalists in the AV Awards and the Government project won the global Inavation Award for best Public Sector Project. If you are planning a control room or have an existing Control Room and are thinking about upgrading to employ some of the latest features available, please get in touch with a member of or team for advice. If you are interested in finding out more about our projects, please click here to go to our case study pages.