Winfried Schultz, Marketing Director at Black Box EMEA outlines how to prepare for the future of control rooms and emergency call centres with mobility-solutions…
Our world is changing. Mobility not only affects our private life but also our professional environment. We expect our work places to support today’s communication methods such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and for workflows, processes and IT-hardware to adapt to our demand for real time data. In modern control rooms, process control centres and emergency call centres the reliable supply of information can mean the difference between life and death. In these environments, it is crucial to work with systems that reliably allow visualisation with no delay and give the operators simple and intuitive control over access to multiple data sources and servers, while maintaining network security.
The technological ability to switch between virtualised desktops over IP or RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) via touch panels and mobile devices is now a reality. Users can access both virtual machines and physical PCs without ever losing the “real” desktop experience, and more importantly without noticeable delay. Video signals can be extended at up to 4K quality, and peripheral signals (mouse, keyboard, input devices) and digital audio signals – e.g. for internal communication purposes – are routed to the correct operator or loudspeakers. Collaboration devices allow any registered user to upload and download data, such as images or videos, and even mirror and share complete screens on common displays. Content can be sent from a mobile device at the place of interest directly to a distant control room. The team leader can then quickly decide whether the data obtained should be displayed on one or more video walls by simply pressing a button on a touch screen panel. There are virtually no limits to the transmission distance: just think of the transnational operations after the earthquake in Italy in August, when international emergency services were coordinated within hours.
In the manufacturing and energy production sectors, controlling production lines in multiple locations from mobile devices, and retrieving status updates is already daily routine. Status messages, logged data and circuit diagrams can be distributed to different control rooms and video walls; this is especially important if it is necessary to ensure critical monitoring and controlling of processes from a secondary “backup” location. One example could be preserving the energy supply of an entire region in a threat situation.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) will be an increasingly important topic, because the use of virtualised desktops can incorporate huge cost savings with regards to energy, hardware, and maintenance costs. However instead of writing off all physical servers today, it often makes sense to run physical and virtual servers side by side. The solution to this is to utilise a bridging technology, such as Black Box InvisaPC. It enables users to access both PCs/servers and virtual machines over IP in real time, transmitting HD video and peripheral signals at a very low bandwidth consumption (more than 40 Mbit). Applying a corresponding hardware manager, traffic between user and server is strictly limited to authorised users, even when transmitting from one country to another over the internet. Another advantage of this VDI technology is that the access to mirrored virtual “backup systems” can be carried out almost instantaneously. If one system fails, it will be replaced by switching to another virtual machine.
For both redesigning existing, and designing new control rooms and emergency call centres, you should plan properly to ensure that the applied technologies are future-proof and can flexibly adapt to new requirements. With Black Box modular high-performance KVM Matrix Switches, KVM-for-VDI (InvisaPC™), Video Wall Processors, as well as Room Control Solutions and Collaboration Solutions, you can make sure that your investments are safe for many years, and corresponding data visualisation and workflow reliably meet the requirements of your individual working environment.
Black Box designs and equips more than 500 control rooms per year globally, and consults customers about future-proof technology combinations throughout all phases of their projects, and beyond. Furthermore, Black Box implements all infrastructure and sets up all hardware components from the IT-room to the operator desk. Contact our Application Experts across Europe for project consultation and answers to your questions on network security and IP technology: visit www.black-box.eu/CRConsultation or call us toll free at 00800 2255 2269.