Control rooms’ expanding boundaries
A former senior police officer, Chris Dreyfus-Gibson is Vice Chairman, International Critical Control Rooms Alliance and product manager for control room solutions at Sopra Steria. He says that to envision your control room and the capabilities it should have, you must understand that they are comprised of much more than computer systems.
He describes a control room as a combination of people, technology, the physical workspace, and operational processes. These four aspects should be optimized to get the right information to the right people at the right time, both internally and externally.
“The control room is usually the center of decision-making in that it’s a single point that can access a wealth of information and synthesize it so that it can be reviewed and a decision made, whether that’s by an operator on site or a more senior commander in another location,” he said.
"The future control room is potentially virtual with all elements working together."
A control room can now be more conceptual. “For a distributed workforce, the commander could be out in the field with an iPad, connected to control room systems while sitting in a car, along with an operator at home and another operator physically at headquarters. The future control room is potentially virtual with all elements working together.”
Intensified demands for safety and security
In the past, only a handful of organizations took security seriously. The extent of securing a site was often a sign, a fence, and an on-site monitor.
Today robust and responsive security is top of mind for almost all commercial and public facilities, and they’re rethinking whether they are adequately prepared for emergencies. Links in infrastructure that used to go unmonitored are now expected be secured, both in public spaces and all along companies’ supply chain.
This increased scope puts additional burdens on control rooms. They must be able to scan wider areas with much more precision, process that information, and share it as needed. They must be able to dispatch immediate updates to personnel responding on the scene, at the incident and the surrounding area. That likely requires external sharing.
In a large industrial complex responders could include:
- security personnel that are shared by other companies across the site
- public emergency workers