image of a conference room within an operations center with overlay saying COVID-19 2020 series

Mission Critical Collaboration: The Response to COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, operations centers are hard at work. Critical in global monitoring and response, command centers including those in hospitals, local emergency operations centers, and even cyber security and social media have a role to play in handling pandemics. Join us as we begin this series exploring how each type of mission critical center is responding to the current situation.

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Mission Critical Collaboration: The Response to COVID-19

Over the past several weeks, we have been discussing how various mission critical environments are responding to COVID-19. Next, we will discuss collaboration spaces within these mission critical environments and how they play a role in key decision making for COVID-19 response.

Collaboration and Situation Rooms

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, collaboration is emphasized now more than ever. While many are relying on collaboration tools while working from home, there are also operators in command centers reporting to work every day. These operators use breakout spaces such as situation rooms and huddles spaces to increase collaboration. Specialized tasks teams can use these situation rooms to address a particular issue regarding COVID-19 response while still being plugged into all the relevant information being shared in an operations center.

Most command and control environments have a collaboration space such as a conference or situation room within – or close to – the main operations center. Often, they share technology and clear sight-lines to the video wall.

In many cases, sources from within the operations center are routed to the conference room so that a team collaborating within the situation room has all necessary information at hand. These kinds of situation rooms are present in all kinds of operations centers, from network ops to SOCs to cybersecurity to emergency operations, all of which are currently working hard to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Situation Rooms and “War Rooms”: Focused Response to COVID-19

Within these operations centers tasked with handling the various elements of coronavirus response, adjacent conferencing areas allow for focused meetings of smaller groups to allow focused responses.

Delaware’s State Health Operations Center, housed within the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill, staffs a growing number of operators (75 as of March 17) to handle various aspects of the state’s response. Some answer the state’s coronavirus hotline, while others coordinate the distribution of information to the public.

Within this larger operations center, there is a conference room that serves as the war room for the Department of Health and Human Services. Here, video monitors display heat maps of the virus’ spread in the region. Operations personnel within the war room use this information to coordinate the state’s response to COVID-19. While the entire operations center collaborates on emergency response, the war room allows for focused meetings to tackle one issue at a time.

Emergency Response Centers are not the only kind of operations centers to utilize focused collaboration rooms during the pandemic. Alongside all of the health and infrastructure concerns, COVID-19 has also unleashed a host of economic concerns. Private equity firms have set up war rooms to help the companies they own deal with the range of issues caused by the pandemic. This allows information and support to be coordinated from a central location to help businesses survive the storm.

Whether it’s detailing plans to keep employees safe or negotiating rent with landlords, these crisis centers provide needed support in an uncertain economic time as well as an opportunity to collaborate on solutions. Susan Clark, the general partner for portfolio operations at Technology Crossover Ventures, said, “Where we find the companies are facing similar challenges, we are actually connecting them so that they can solve for them collectively, versus feeling like they are on their own.”

Bringing multi-site collaboration together during global crisis

Often, organizations with mission critical operations centers have multiple site locations that need to communicate with one another. Whether it’s across town or across the world, these sites need to be able to clearly collaborate and share vital information regardless of location.

Across all industries, the demand for collaboration technology has increased significantly in recent years. In a recent survey of AV integrators conducted by Commercial Integrator, 61.5% of respondents reported that they are currently experiencing growth specifically related to the demand for collaboration technology. The reason why is simple: people installed more of this kind of technology in 2019 than in 2018.

In the pandemic-stricken world of 2020, having this collaboration technology is even more important as non-essential travel has massively decreased. Being able to collaborate with stakeholders and operators across all of an organization’s locations without having to physically travel allows “business-as-usual” to continue as much as possible.

Constant’s Operations Centers

Moments of crisis often remind us how invaluable the multiple types of operations centers involved in emergency response can be. It’s important that emergency operations centers, medical command centers, and social media monitoring centers be up-to-date in order to provide efficient, reliable response. If your mission critical environment hasn’t been updated in several years, the technology may not be as reliable as it should be for round-the-clock use in a crisis situation.

Should your mission critical operations center be in need of a refresh, Constant is here to provide video wall integration, console furniture, project management, and service to ensure your center is best equipped to serve the public good.

The team at Constant is continuing to manage projects and support our clients through these uncertain times. If you would like to discuss your command center requirements, our expert team is here to help.

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Stay Tuned

We are continuing to monitor the situation with COVID-19 and the responses aided by various types of command centers. Continue to check back as we explore these responses in the coming days with the continuation of our coronavirus series.

We began our series with a look into how emergency operations centers are responding to the outbreak and the increased responsibilities placed on cybersecurity operations centers. Most recently we took a dive into the world of digital monitoring. and healthcare command centers.

About Constant:

Constant Technologies, Inc. provides AV integration for 24/7 video walls and custom operation center furniture. With 30+years experience we can work with sensitive environments in the public and private sectors. Constant designs, installs and services projects of all scopes and sizes around the world. We create solutions with the highest levels of security, aesthetics and functionality in mind.