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The Do’s and Don’ts of Operation Center Design

There are challenges to mission critical environments that aren’t present in other build-outs. From security operations to network monitoring to process control, these spaces are demanding environments that must be carefully designed.

These complex and demanding 24/7 installations can be a challenge to navigate, with a minefield of do’s and don’ts. We break a few down for you to help you get the best possible result.

Do: get started as soon as possible

In the world of operation center design, there’s no such thing as too early. Plans for your ops center design project should be set before the equipment in your space reaches “end of life,” not after. That means if you aren’t currently planning, you likely should be soon. Complex spaces like 24/7/365 operations centers require thorough, long-term planning in order to do them right.

Do: involve partners early

When it comes to getting strategic partners involved, the earlier the better. Involving experienced partners can clarify the process, including pre-design activities, and identify the best questions to ask other vendors.

A partner like Constant has clearly defined process that begins with the pre-design and continues through to post-construction support.

From the early stages of a project we can work closely with your facilities department, architects, and general contractors to ensure that every element of your project installation goes smoothly and remains in keeping with the overall plan and objective for your ops center. At Constant, we help analyze and refine your requirements pre-construction to ensure that all the right elements come together for your solution.

Do: design for the users

When designing an operations center, it’s key to remember that these environments are often staffed for long shifts. Operators occupy the space for hours at a time in potentially critical situations. The design of the space needs to promote efficient workflow as well as operator comfort.

These high-pressure environments should follow best practices for ergonomic design and user experience. Typical oversights when designing operations centers include: not optimizing for the actual number of operators; video walls and other displays installed without operator viewing in mind; and not considering collaboration.

For best practices in operation center design, the human factor needs to be a key consideration. Subtle but important design elements can have a positive impact on operator performance. When designing for the users, it is important to understand workflows, processes, and potential visitor interactions.

Don’t: forget the importance of redundancy

24/7 mission critical environments have no room for failure – downtime is not an option. The design of these spaces must include layers of redundancy to ensure that the failure of one element does not constitute an interruption of operations.

Standard commercial grade equipment often does not meet the stringent requirements of a 24/7 ops center. At Constant, we only integrate the most tried and tested audiovisual equipment.

It is important not only to use reliable equipment that can handle being turned on and never turned off, but also to design multiple backup measures so that the system can handle the failure of individual components without interrupting operations.

Don’t: take shortcuts

An environment as vital to operations as a mission critical control center is no place to cut corners. These spaces are some of the most important in an organization—they deserve careful planning and thoroughly vetted materials.

Shortcuts tend to reappear later as issues. Often, these issues cost more to resolve than simply doing things the right way in the first place.

Don’t: lose sight of the end goals

Like with any project, you’ll be happier with the end result when you have a defined understanding of what you want the space to accomplish. At the beginning of your project – and throughout – it is important to list out the requirements of the space and its overall goals.

What are the day-to-day goals for the space? How will it need to function in a crisis? Will there be areas for collaboration? Do you need to accommodate for potential site tours?

Keeping these end goals in mind will ensure that the operation center design does not overlook anything that you will need later.

Don’t: neglect cabling

Command center environments have an above-standard amount of technology in comparison to regular office spaces. With all this technology comes a whole lot of cabling.

The effective management of cables is not purely for aesthetic reasons; it is also key to keeping everything running smoothly. Mismanaged cables can tangle or crimp, which may interrupt vital operations.

The console furniture within your operations center should have clean and effective cable management. The rack room for your video wall system should also have neat, organized cabling.

Do: Contact Constant

This list of do’s and don’ts is by no means comprehensive. There are few environments more complex or difficult to design than an operations center. Hence our advice to involve expert partners early in the process.

It’s important to get the ops center right – the first time.

Constant Technologies has over 30 years of experience designing, installing, and servicing operations centers. From the initial design concept through day 1 – and support beyond that – we understand the complexity of command center projects. Working with an expert like us makes these complex projects as simple as possible for you and the end users.

From 24/7-ready video walls to ergonomic consoles with cable management, we offer turnkey solutions in operations center design.

If you’re ready to begin your project, get in touch with us today.

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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.