May 25, 2020

Keeping the control room operational when physical access is limited

Control Room 3 min read last updated on: Jul 01, 2020

The need to monitor critical information remains essential during a pandemic, but the social distancing rules force control room managers to be creative. We have heard many stories of organizations that look for an optimal way to continue their critical services. In many cases, this included major sacrifices from the staff, who were asked to stay at their jobs for long periods. However, in some cases technology can help to ease the pressure on the operators and control room managers by offering a way to share content in real-time beyond the control room. But how to do that in an easy and secure way?

Control rooms typically deal with critical environments, so security is in most cases an important concern. The first step is to get the information from a multitude of sources securely into the control room. This is a process that has been perfected over many years and is already well established. Private, dedicated networks ensure that the information is impossible to intercept or hack.

Securestream image demoSharing information to the outside world is however more tricky. In order to allow other persons to consult the information, this needs to be presented in a user-friendly way, on any device – preferably in a common browser window. This way of working is however more vulnerable for cyberattacks. Opening the system in this way gives many network engineers bad dreams at night, as it also provides a way into the control room infrastructure. This gate needs therefore to be carefully thought-through, fit-for-purpose and very reliable. With SecureStream, Barco has a product that ticks off all these requirements.

Sharing pixels, not data

SecureStream works like this: the operator in the control room selects which sources need to be shared and puts these in a SecureStream Channel. This can be video, data, images, or a combination; whatever is needed. This Channel is then accessible by the other party using a standard browser interface. In other words, any device with an internet connection can access this – in case he or she has the necessary permissions, of course.  This includes operators working at home, third party experts, or field staff.

Very important in this is the way this information is shared. SecureStream does not stream the actual data, but a video stream containing the necessary information. This means that the outside users don’t have access to the data itself. In other words, only pixels are shared, no data. This makes it impossible for hackers to gain access to the secure network. The video stream itself is extremely performant, providing high resolution images on which all details are clearly visible.

Operators working at home

SecureStream can be a great help to keep the control room functional when access is limited. An operator in the control room can for example assemble SecureStream Channels which are then shared with colleagues working from home. This gives everybody the needed situational awareness, in real-time, without any health issues.

An example of a SecureStream Channel can be found using the image on the left (click or scan). This gives you an impression of the user-friendliness of the system, and the potential it has for your organization. Also remote experts can tap into this channel if they have the right permissions, for additional advice.

Visit the SecureStream product page by clicking here.

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