The Covid-19 crisis has quickened the pace of digitalisation and heralded a new normal. Half a year down the line, governments and healthcare services are fortifying their command and control centres, corporates are revamping their work models, and individuals are adapting to socially-distanced remote working. Throughout this challenging period, control rooms have formed the first frontier of control for metros, smart cities, and other deployment areas fighting off the pandemic.
Control rooms are the operational brains of cities, enabling remote monitoring and managing escalations. The pandemic has led to an urgent need for remote situational awareness, enabled through seamless visualization, secured collaboration, and digital workflows to ensure optimal operation.
Currently, control rooms are increasingly being equipped, with innovative enabler technologies, to address the new normal. While dealing with Covid-19, healthcare personnel have been monitoring the situation and taking transformative decisions based on intelligence accumulated in Healthcare Operations Centers. Technology and BFSI sectors are also adopting control and command centres to tackle the hybrid new normal that is likely to remain the standard for the foreseeable future.
Corporate control rooms, in the form of Network Operations Centres and Security Operations Centres, enable excellent visualization, as well as remote campus monitoring and workforce management in hybrid workspaces, making day-to-day coordination easier and more efficient. With personal productivity and business continuity forming the crux of remote working, corporate control rooms are equipped to ensure seamless decision-making workflows between on-site content and off-site employees.
Reliable monitoring powered by fit-for-purpose technologies
Control rooms are, typically, the central intelligence centre for all operational activities, information, and coordination. Future-ready control rooms, relevant across a broad range of sectors and industries, meet key requirements through the optimal integration of video walls, networked visualization, and operator workspace solutions, combined with professional services for long-term support.
For example, in the public sector, governments can use control room solutions for security and surveillance purposes, to detect and take preventative action to potential issues at an early stage. Similarly, emergency services, including the healthcare sector, can rely on real-time data for deployment to locations that require assistance, and, to triage management and resource allocation. The manufacturing sector can also adopt control rooms for seamless collaboration between expert process operators through overview visualization and content management systems that enable the monitoring and control of the entire production process. Even industries such as telecommunications, utility, retail, education, and hospitality, can implement control room solutions to provide security operations and network operations management services in a timely manner.
With a pronounced possibility of growth, Orbis Research pegs the global security control rooms market to expand at a CAGR of 6.3% between 2020 to 2025, touching $7.55 billion in 2025, from $5.92 billion in 2019.
Hybrid control rooms for the new normal
With the hybrid model being adopted across sectors, control rooms are also set to adapt to the new normal. Solutions enabling remote collaboration and secure streaming will empower future control rooms. Hybrid control rooms will also ease the strain on resources, with technology stepping up to enable a comprehensive approach. Integrated command and control centres will assist governments and corporates in catering to logistics, healthcare, and safety requirements – by facilitating real-time surveillance, tracking, and information-sharing.
For optimal decision-making, all stakeholders must have unconstrained access to necessary information with images, video footage, and data being distributed in a swift and secure way, to locations including control rooms, crisis rooms, and remote sites. Such access enables all stakeholders to optimally monitor and manage the resolution of any critical situation. In addition to the hardware, hybrid control rooms will also require workflow support software to manage the video wall layouts, collaborate with remote stakeholders and create personalized digital workspaces for operators to consult, analyse, and manage their daily operations.
Secure and seamless remote decision making
Sharing critical information from a moated control room to the outside world is usually not a preferred proposition. To alleviate concerns, operational information can be transmitted securely and presented in a user-friendly way, on the user’s enterprise-authenticated device, to enable remote stakeholders to consult the information conveniently and participate in real-time decision-making. Therefore, it is necessary to design a platform which is highly secure, scalable, fit-for-purpose, and extremely reliable.
Seamless and secure information flow can be ensured through solutions that stream a video containing the necessary information, instead of streaming the actual, raw data, thus preventing outside users from accessing the data in its actual form. With only pixels being shared, it becomes impossible for hackers to gain access to the secure network, while the video stream itself provides high resolution images with enhanced visibility for optimal analysis and decision making.
(The writer, Rajiv Bhalla, is the Managing Director of Barco India)