Control rooms are often taken for granted. While attention is given to cameras and other security technologies, as well as installation issues and, as always, costs, the design of the control room is often an afterthought. When one considers that the operators working long hours in the control room are modern-day guards, it would make sense to ensure their working area was comfortable enough to motivate them and empower them to do a good job.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions spoke to Penny Bond from ProGroup to find out more about the hidden art of control room design.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What are the key features to consider when designing/building a control room?
Penny Bond, ProGroup: Exactly what the control room is intended to control. They need to identify the equipment to be used, and based on that, the staff complement. Then select the area to be used. It’s surprising how many companies choose a tiny dark back room with limited access and want to convert it to a control room with six operators and a supervisor. Particularly in control rooms, it is important to have an area that is light, comfortable and well ventilated. Many control and security personnel work a 12-hour shift. The ergonomics of the design is essential – desktop height, screen distance etc.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Is it possible to make a control room a ‘nice’ place to work?
Penny Bond, ProGroup: Absolutely. The workability of the room is largely hidden, so there is free rein insofar as finishes, lighting, graphics etc. The room can be made as ‘nice’ as the space and budget allows. A lot of control rooms, particularly in secure venues have rest rooms with easy seating and TV sets etc, while others have a kitchen area for simple meals during the shifts. This is so that there is no need to leave the premises during the shift. We try to make our consoles as attractive as we can, with laser cut stainless steel decorative panels, PVC bullnose edging, appropriate lighting, pleasant colour schemes etc.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Do companies put in the effort to create functional, but comfortable and healthy control rooms?
Penny Bond, ProGroup: The bigger enterprises, such as banks, VIP protection unit, big mining companies do. Smaller companies often just want the least costly option. Available budget has pretty much everything to do with it.
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