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allows because of their superior colorimetry, contrast and uniformity among other characteristics. If space is confined, flatpanel displays may be specified. Ideally, the number of displays is a function of the various outputs required – but again, physical limitations may demand some degree of creativity on the part of the integrator. “The size of the room will often decide what can be installed in it,” says Griffiths. “It also really depends on what content the user wants to see displayed on the screens. If a lot of different data needs to be viewed at the same time, then a number of smaller screens would be a better option than a smaller number of larger screens. Otherwise Christie Entero HB cubes or flatpanel displays could be used.”

practice between sites but at all costs avoid the ‘we’ll do what we did at the last place’ mentality,” warns Godfrey. As such, when it comes to designing the optimum solution, showing the customer their options is perhaps the ideal approach. “In order to find the right solution, we usually invite customers to bring their images and their software systems to our showroom,” says Winck. “Showing them different display technologies and different display sizes – i.e. pixel sizes – we can simulate the final result. Of course, the decision is also influenced by the space available.” It’s inevitable that the

‘KVM has a role to play in

streamlining and de-cluttering the workspace while increasing interactive capability’ Jamie Shepperd, Adder Technology

It’s a recurring mantra in the industry that no two control rooms are the same: “Each installation is unique,” smiles Annette Häbel, technical communications manager at Guntermann & Drunck (G&D). “There are never two identical control rooms.” “You can carry best


“A KVM matrix allows users to operate thousands of computers over hundreds of simultaneous consoles consisting of just keyboard, monitor and mouse,” explains Annette Häbel, technical communications manager at G&D. “Through fibre optics, users and computers can be placed up to 40,000m apart from each other, eliminating computers from the control room. KVM systems are typically

screens are the focal point of the installation – but they’re like actors in a movie: all eyes may be on them, but they’d be nothing without the supporting infrastructure. Key to that control room infrastructure are switching technology and KVM systems. “There is a case for saying that the starting point for the control room system is the matrix switcher, which controls the routing of all system inputs and outputs, and which forms the backbone of the system,” believes Deame. “The number of sources, control stations, and display devices required will determine the best switcher for the application. RGB Spectrum provides a range of compatible matrix switchers from from 8 x 8 I/O to 640 x 640 I/O, which can be configured to accept copper, fibre or twisted pair connections. These switchers provide a versatile foundation upon which to build the rest of the control room system.” Versatility, modularity,

scalability, flexibility, upgradability: all are much- prized attributes of any control room solution, given a projected lifetime often measured in decades as well


A large, international electricity and gas company that provides power to millions of people across the United States depends on an East Coast monitoring complex to secure its power generation and distribution facilities. As part of the system designed and installed by Alliance System Integrators, RGB Spectrum’s OmniWall 32 Display Processors work with its MultiPoint Control Room Management System (MCMS) to enable the integration of multiple security platforms. The main control room

as uncertainty about what the future might bring. Separating the videowall

controller from the screens, for example, provides the flexibility to save valuable space.

“Videowalls can take up a lot of space in the control room, but the videowall controller doesn’t have to,” points out Rob Moodey, sales account manager for Matrox Graphics, whose company is also in the KVM extension and AV-over-IP business. “Control room clients are demanding cost-effective, high-density, low-footprint controllers that offer excellent scaling and switching capability. Requirements often include the ability to capture and display different types of local and remote sources, so universal input support is key.”

modular, so individual parts can be easily replaced. Multiple modules – DVI, VGA, DisplayPort for example – can be easily integrated, and combined with KVM extenders, KVM switches, a range of additional functions such as monitoring and management in one system.”

THE KVM CONTRIBUTION An important contribution to flexibility, scalability and upgradability is made by KVM – keyboard, video, mouse – technology, a point made persuasively by G&D’s Häbel. “KVM is all about creating space for users at the same time as providing the best technical solution,” she says. KVM lets users access all available computers – which may be some distance

contains two identical monitoring systems for redundancy. Each side of the room has an MCMS system that includes three control stations, each with seven local monitors, plus a shared 2 x 4 videowall. An OmniWall processor enables the real- time routing of video feeds from security subsystems or news broadcasts to any display device in the room. This set-up is mirrored on the other side of the room, with a second OmniWall processor and MCMS, for a total of six control stations. The complete

from the workstations and screens – via an intuitive user interface. Maintenance therefore doesn’t disrupt the users. And KVM uses existing cabling, so it’s quite cost- effective.” “Our KVM products cope with all sorts of video signals, additional signals from audio, over USB to RS-232 and a wide range of resolutions,” she continues. “Our DL- Vision-MC2 KVM extender can transmit resolutions as high as 4K at full frame rate, meaning that application processes can be displayed simultaneously on a single large-format display.” Jamie Shepperd, group

marketing manager at Adder Technology, is also an evangelist. “KVM has a role to play in streamlining and de-cluttering the workspace while increasing interactive capability,” he judges. “The trend increasingly – and it’s a challenge for integrators – is towards multi-site, multi- room. How will these sites be connected? Again, KVM has an important role to play by providing that connectivity between rooms, buildings and sites.”

Whether it’s the physical

attributes of the room, or the capabilities of the AV infrastructure, the goal is invariable: to create an

redundancy built into the installation ensures that, if necessary, either half of the room can operate the full monitoring system. MCMS integrates all

displays under a single unified interface accessible at each control station. The GUI allows operators to access information from any source computer in the system. KlickSimple technology enables each array of control station monitors to function as one continuous display, controlled by a single keyboard and mouse.

ergonomically appropriate environment that will enable operators to react to developing events with maximum effectiveness.

PROTECT YOUR ASSETS “Staff and knowledge are the most precious resources of a company,” says Häbel. “That’s why it is so important to consider a control room’s design from an ergonomic point of view. People need to be able to focus on their work. With a KVM extension solution that’s pretty easy because fan noises, heat and computer emissions from the computers leave the room when they are relocated in a technical equipment room.” But it’s not just about

the physical attributes of the room – air flows, noise, lines of sight, comfortable workstations and so on – but also about giving users the tools to do the job. “The operator interface is critical to control centre design,” believes Tim O’Neill, managing director of Atkins’ Rail Communications Systems business, “from detailed specification of touchscreen layouts, 3D representations of infrastructure being controlled, PA message libraries, decision support and the presentation of CCTV images.”

May 2014 23


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