We are now one-quarter of the way through 2022, and it’s becoming clear what control room design trends are here to stay and will define the year. If you’re modernizing your control room, here’s what to expect from this year’s biggest trends:
An emphasis on ergonomics and control room comfort
Mission critical operations centers often require long shifts which can be taxing on both mind and body. Selecting the right furniture and spatial design for a command and control setting can make a difference in operator comfort and performance.
The ergonomic, human-centric design takes into account the working relationship between users, workstations, offices, common spaces, the video wall, and more. One way spatial design takes operator ergonomics into consideration is through a sight line analysis, which ensures that video walls and consoles are placed in such a way that operators can view the video wall without unnecessary strain.
Another way to follow best practices for an ergonomic workspace is to choose furniture designed with operator comfort in mind. Sit/stand consoles are some of the most common ergonomic furniture choices for mission critical. Consoles that allow operators to choose between sitting and standing provide ergonomic benefits such as:
- Accommodation for operators of different heights
- Reduce stress and fatigue
- Prevent back pain
- Increase focus and engagement
When designing our articulating consoles, the engineers at Constant consider not only ergonomics but mission critical functions. We take into account cable management, equipment access, and power and data requirements.
Overall human-centric room design is also important and an emerging trend for control rooms. Components such as lighting can be designed to affect operator well-being, productivity, and comfort. For instance, adjustable lighting levels can help with circadian rhythms to reduce operator fatigue, which can affect their ability to respond to critical incidents. Taking the human factor into account in design can also include climate control and ambient noise levels to create an optimal working environment for operators.
Incorporating data sources from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) into system design
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the name given to the network of connected, intelligent industrial devices, resulting in systems that monitor and collect data as well as produce predictive and prescriptive analytics.
The IIoT has grown across multiple sectors including utilities, network operations centers, and security operation centers. This allows organizations to make use of even more real-time data but can provide challenges as well, such as how to manage and distribute information from different source types.
An experienced integrator can assist you in overcoming these challenges; while crafting the video wall system which creates your control room’s common operating picture, integrators like Constant Technologies can choose the best components such as processors to be able to support the sources you plan to use.
The proliferation of the IIoT has also further emphasized the point that control room technology is a rapidly-developing field. Control room design needs to be dynamic; while the room itself is a long-term investment that needs to operate reliably, it also needs the versatility to shift along with the ever-changing landscape of technology.
Biophilia, a design concept focused on bringing more natural elements into a built environment, has been popular in commercial interior design for several years now. As 2022 progresses, biophilia may start to present more prominently even in control room environments.
When it comes to control room design, biophilia can be brought into a space in a number of ways. Lighting is a major yet simple way that a more “natural” environment can be created. As mentioned in the section on control room comfort, lighting can affect operators’ circadian rhythms and performance. Due to advances in display wall technology, control rooms can now accommodate a variety of lighting conditions –including windows for natural light– while still maintaining visibility for data on the video wall.
Biophilic design also incorporates natural finishes and organic shapes. Expect more curved edges on consoles, for example, as well as more laminates that mimic the appearance of natural wood.
Even color choices may be affected by biophilic commercial design. In 2022, more commercial spaces including control rooms are choosing to decorate with colors that echo the palette of the natural world, from plant-like greens, to watery blues, and sunset shades.
An emphasis on collaboration
As organizations begin to look toward bringing employees back on-site, there is an increased emphasis on collaboration. While collaboration has always been an important component of control room operation, modern control rooms are specifically designed to encourage joint efforts in incident prevention and response.
As the vital nerve centers of their organizations, control rooms often bring together multiple departments or specializations that must work together to monitor and respond to various critical events. Effective operations in mission critical require a coordinated approach; control room design must enable efficiency and promote collaboration through strategic design decisions.
Command and control environments often have a collaboration space such as a conference or situation room adjacent to the main operations center. Often, these spaces share technology and clear lines of sight to the video wall.
Recently, collaborative areas have been included within the control room itself, with huddle spaces near the back or sides of a room for quick collaboration with all the control room technology and relevant information immediately at hand.
Control room furniture can also foster collaboration; consoles arranged in pods encourage coordination of response efforts and intelligence sharing.
LED video walls continue to grow in popularity
Both LED and LCD video walls can be great choices for control room data visualization. While LCD walls have classically been a popular choice, advances in LED technology have helped LED video walls catch up in the mission critical market.
Depending on the pixel pitch, LED walls may be better suited to greater viewing distance and work better in larger rooms. Mission critical LED walls can have a smaller pixel pitch and function well in a number of rooms, but it’s also important to keep in mind that the lower the pixel pitch, the higher the resolution – and thus the higher the cost.
An LED video wall is the only type of display to offer a truly seamless viewing experience and may be the better choice if you need to extend a visual across the entire video wall. However, if your content will have multiple applications where a perfectly seamless display isn’t as important, LCD is a good choice with many ultra-narrow bezel options available.
While we expect to see many more LED video walls installed in control rooms in 2022, it’s important to choose the technology that works best for your space. Working with an integrator like Constant will help you determine whether LED or LCD will best fit your goals.
Creating a control room with Constant
Working with an industry-specific partner is key to creating a successful control room. An integrator attuned to the specific needs of 24/7 will help you balance all considerations to create a system perfectly tailored to your unique use case.
Constant has over three decades of experience implementing video wall systems and console furniture in mission critical spaces. Our client list speaks for itself: we have worked with firms including CVSHealth, Akamai Technologies, Carnival Cruise, Facebook, Lockheed Martin, and more as well as with government agencies such as the Department of Defense, United States Coast Guard, and Air Force.
With a project as important as a mission critical control room, you need an integrator you can trust to help you make the right choices and determine which trends will fit your goals. Constant has a depth of knowledge unmatched in the industry and offers a wealth of experience as well as custom design services and long-term service contracts, and we are dedicated to ensuring your mission critical space operates at peak performance.
If you are preparing to build or update your control room, contact us today for a free design and budget consultation.
Constant Technologies, Inc. provides AV integration for 24/7 video walls and custom operation center furniture. With 30+ years of experience, we can work with sensitive environments in the public and private sectors. Constant designs and installs projects of all scopes and sizes around the world. We also offer long-term service and support. We create solutions with the highest levels of security, aesthetics and functionality in mind.