The control room of the future
May 2016, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Conferences & Events
Hannes Hendriks is the estate manager at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate. He spent 18 years in the Defence Force and left as a Lieutenant Colonel, thereafter becoming involved in a number of large security projects in South Africa. At iLegal 2016, Hannes spoke on the Future Surveillance Control Room and the impact technology would have on it, and the personnel required to make it work. Although aimed at the residential control room, the principles can be extrapolated to any industry where control rooms are an important aspect of the surveillance project.
Hannes started his presentation looking at all the different risk management methodologies and functionalities that can or should be managed in control rooms today. These range from traditional access control and CCTV, through to health and safety, landscaping and irrigation, and incorporating service level agreement (SLA) management and a host of other functionality. Naturally, not every control room manages these features, but the control room, or nerve centre of the future will be equipped to handle all this and more – both technically and with well-trained human resources.
In terms of estate control centres, Hannes expects the future to include a complete GPS-enabled, cloud-based estate management solution that handles all functions of the estate. This solution will have two components. The first is a web application to be used by office personnel and will be a central repository for all association and account-related information. All employees and operators need is a browser to access the system, there is nothing to install and all account information will be securely hosted on servers.
The second component is the mobile manager which will be supplied to guards and other employees or contractors to simplify compliance inspections and work order entry. The mobile application will provide managers with the tools they need to access the relevant accounts and work efficiently on the estate property.
This streamlining of business processes, whether in estates or other control centres, is critical to the future control centre as it evolves from looking after security issues alone to the full management functionality of its environment.
As in many other presentations at iLegal, the key to the control room of the future is intelligence. Taking the output of connected devices, whether security or otherwise and incorporating them into a package designed to sort and ana-lyse the data into useable and pertinent information – or intelligence – is key to the success of these operations.
As the world becomes more connected, there is simply too much information for humans to sort through and understand. Intelligent analytical operations will hide the mass of data from operators and managers, only providing them with relevant reports and information that will empower quick and effective responses.
Hannes demonstrated the use of intelligent dashboards in his presentation. These are designed to provide a graphical overview of almost any areas under the control room’s purview, allowing those responsible to gain quick insight. Problems can be highlighted and assigned to the relevant parties quickly, whether it is a perimeter breach or a burst water pipe, and through mobile access they can be managed and followed through to conclusion.
Key to this new control centre is the use of technology. However, Hannes noted that all too often, advanced technology is underutilised because it is difficult to learn and use, and many people are still unwilling to trust it. To be used effectively, these systems must be designed in harmony with the needs, expectations and capabilities of the people who will be using them.
The final component of the future control centre is people. Operators and managers can no longer be guards who have been promoted. They need to be people with the aptitude and willingness to work in a control room environment, while learning and adapting to new technologies.
Of the many skills the operators will require in future, which range from computer literacy skills and accredited control room operator courses, they will also need the personalities that remain calm under pressure, exhibit excellent communication skills and be problem solving oriented. Hannes adds that a degree or a diploma will also most likely be a prerequisite.