Carlos Lerma is the Director of Engineering for the control room group of AVI-SPL. We spoke with him to learn more about the unique audiovisual requirements of control rooms.
TD: What are the keys to creating a successful control room?
Carlos Lerma: To create a successful control room you need to know what content is going to drive the control room and who is the user of that room. Those are the key things that you have to know right up front. When deciding what the content is we work with the user and the room and decide how it’s going to look. Depending on the size of the control room there are certain things you have to worry about: the display itself, the users, and the viewing angles of the users. Of course, acoustics plays a big role in the room, and understanding where everything is located within the space is important for us in designing the control room.
TD: What are the biggest differences between control room installations and installations of other types?
Carlos Lerma: Well the first thing is that the control room environment is a 24/7 environment most likely, and you have to choose equipment that is designed for the space that is going to be used. You look at a control room and you look at special equipment; you look at the displays, the controls, the processor that is going to drive the displays, and then you think about the rest of the room, which will be similar to other rooms where you have an audio system, a control system, etc. Mainly, you have to pick equipment that is rated for the environment that is being used, which is 24/7.
TD: How does the mission critical nature of control rooms affect the approach to the installation?
Carlos Lerma: If you were to think about it from entities that are used to doing other environments, they have to stop and think about the space that they’re going to design. There’s a display in the environment; how is the display going to fit, where are the users, how tall is the room, how wide, how deep? You have to worry about those things before you think about the rest of the room. You have to make sure that users can utilize the room the way it’s supposed to be designed for them. That’s why we have a special entity that is dedicated only for this 24/7 environment.
TD: What are the differences between single-user desktop setups and traditional large display setups? What are users more interested in?
Carlos Lerma: It depends on the environment, of course. Process and control focuses on a user and the local desk. When you think about it, you’re worried about how the computers being subbed for the environment is being used, and how that operator interfaces with the system around them. The rest of the environments that we work on are more centralized in the way that they do operations. They have multiple people working on multiple things. What’s going on with their full environment, not just what they’re working on? We have to make sure that we pick the right environment for them to work in, and the right environment for them to have situational awareness.
TD: Anything else that our readers should know?
Carlos Lerma: Having a dialogue with the end users, not just the customer and not just the owner of the space but the people working in that space, having a dialogue between them, them understanding how it works, and understanding what applications they have on the wall or content is being managed, is important for us. We have to immerse ourselves in the environment and then provide them with a solution that fits that space. That’s why most of our products take 8-10 months to deliver, because we have the dialogue of how we’re going to use the system, what needs to be developed for the system, and then we create that system for them.