The issue The current economic climate is forcing many organisations to look at the consolidation of control rooms as a way to save money. This might mean operating with fewer control rooms and moving to a more centralised structure; or it might be mergers / co-locations with related functions or organisations. The challenge is still to get more from less.
There are some very real cost savings that can be made. Fewer control rooms is likely to result in fewer staff controlling the same infrastructure; fewer rooms can reduce the property portfolio of an organisation. Consolidation can also bring about sharing of back-office functions and reduced maintenance costs.
Technology is often the enabling force. More powerful systems and automation are allowing more infrastructure to be controlled by fewer people. As the nature of "control" changes to increased monitoring and occasional intervention, new technology is changing the way the growing volumes of data can be acceptably presented to operators. Communications technology is allowing more remote operation and connections to be made between related control functions - this can be a way of providing more resilience in the system.
The challengesOne of the major challenges in delivering control room consolidation is managing the change for the staff. Resistance can risk successful project delivery and acceptance. One key is to get staff involved in the process. But it's also important to understand the culture of the organisation and how things get done.
Overcoming the loss of local knowledge is often critical as control moves further away from the infrastructure under control. It is also often an important issue for the public who may interact with the control room.
There are very human issues around this change in the operator role. So careful attention has to be paid to workload management, job design, selection and the design of systems interfaces and support tools.
The important factors are first, paying the necessary consideration to the human issues when making this kind of change; and secondly, a joined up design based on operational needs that considers control & comms systems in parallel with the control room itself.
For more detail, download our white paper from www.ccd-design.co.uk/p/White-Papers/
Labels: control room design