Technology is changing, and control room furniture is changing too. This year, we are seeing several exciting trends in control rooms throughout the country.
With today’s technology management needs and our new understanding of the importance of ergonomics, it makes sense to invest in higher-quality control room furniture. Many organizations are looking for the following types of features:
1. Multiple Structure and Setup Options
Five years from now, your control room may have a completely different set of monitors and equipment. Ideally, your control room furniture should be designed flexibly enough to work well if you have a different setup in the future.
At this point, most control rooms have already transitioned to low-profile, flat-screen monitors, a major shift from the bulky CRT equipment of the past. Operation centers are increasingly using IP video streaming so operators can more easily manipulate audio-video content.
Future technology advances may require a different structure with more storage or desk space. It’s hard to say what kind of technology shifts may happen over the next decade, so it makes sense to choose furniture that will grow and move with you.
2. Easy-to-Reach Ergonomic Controls
Ergonomic design has been around for a long time, but many organizations are paying more attention to ergonomics this year than they may have in the past. Workers need good ergonomics not only for comfort, but also to stay productive during long shifts and avoid repetitive injuries on the job.
Ideally, all of your operators should be able to sit with their feet flat on the floor and their arms roughly parallel to the ground while they work. Other positions may lead to a higher risk of health problems over time. Since each employee has different proportions and is a different height, your workstations should have a wide range of adjustability options.
Ergonomics extend beyond chairs and lighting to include your control room consoles and the equipment on top of them. Your consoles should have all of the following ergonomic options to keep employees in the best possible work position:
- Monitor and focal depth adjustment. Your operators should have at least 8” of adjustability for their focal depth, and the monitors should move together with single-touch controls. Ideally, these adjustment options should be within easy reach from the operator’s chair. A recessed adjustment rail will keep the work surface free and clear.
- A large range of height adjustments, including sit-to-stand options. As a minimum, your console furniture should allow users between the 5th and 95th height percentiles to sit in the optimal position. Better yet, you can choose sit-to-stand consoles that allow these same users to stand comfortably. If you want to keep things simple for your operators, look for furniture with electric adjustability and heavy-duty lifting legs that will withstand the test of time.
- Extra knee space. For many control room operators, traditional furniture does not leave enough knee space for comfortable work. Make sure you choose console furniture with extra open space in this area.
- Temperature controls. Different people work best at different temperatures. Some of your operators may get cold fingers easily, which affects their typing and working speed, while others may feel a little too warm. Personalized temperature controls are a solution that works for everyone. No more fighting over the thermostat!
- Supplemental lighting. Different operators may have different preferences for lighting in their workspace. It’s nice to include user-controlled lighting options with each console so everyone can work at their best.
- Centralized environmental controls. Ideally, most of the controls we’ve mentioned should be in a single place that is within reach for the operator. The easier it is for the operator to create their ideal environment, the easier it will be for them to stay productive and avoid distractions.
Your organization may want additional customizable ergonomic features and configurations beyond the ones we’ve mentioned. It’s a good idea to talk with a control room furniture expert about your operators’ pain points so you can create the best possible solution.
3. Control Room Furniture LED Video Walls
LED video walls have become extremely popular in control rooms and security operations centers. With so much more data to analyze than in past decades, operators appreciate having larger displays.
In the past, your organization may have used monitor projects or hybrid laser cube display walls to visualize data. While these solutions still have their place, LED video walls have a few unique advantages:
- LED displays integrate HDR and QLEDs, allowing them to display the most vivid imagery. A single display panel may offer 8k resolution, but integrated panels can reach HD resolutions and higher.
- LEDs can operate effectively in just about any lighting environment, including well-lit areas. That means you can set up an LED video wall in a room with windows or other bright sources of light.
- You can arrange LED cabinets into unconventional shapes such as curved walls, which may create a better viewing experience or fit better with your space. Video walls can be easily customized to your organization’s needs.
- LEDs often take up much less space than traditional projection systems, which gives your organization more breathing room.
- LED video wall screens often consume less power than traditional systems.
LED video walls can display information instantaneously, and they work well together with VoIP systems. They can be much brighter and offer much more clarity than standard projectors. Best of all, the screens are usually very easy to install.
With all of these advantages, it’s easy to see why LED video walls are trending in 2022.
4. Control Room Furniture Has Better Technology Management Features
Control room furniture today has better technology management features than ever. Many operations centers are choosing consoles with cable management, climate controls, quick connect USB ports, and other technology integration features. Your operators and IT teams will definitely appreciate these features.
At Russ Bassett, we include a variety of technology management features in our control room furniture:
- A steel technology wall around the console that provides a deep, secure storage space for power, equipment, and cabling.
- Perforated steel for passive cooling.
- Modular technology cabinets with a pull-out shelf to allow IT techs to easily access rear-facing cable connections.
- A complete cable management system so no one loses workspace or gets tripped up by loose cords and cables.
With new sources of data and the right technology systems to handle it all, your team can catch more issues than ever before.
Is Your Organization Ready for New Control Room Furniture?
Control room consoles and other furniture should be designed to support the technology of today and tomorrow. It is important to plan ahead as you look for the right furniture solution for your control room.
Russ Bassett can help you find the perfect flexible furniture solution to set your organization up for success throughout the next decade and beyond. We help organizations transform mission-critical environments with adaptable and technology-integrated console furniture and space planning.
Contact the Russ Bassett team today for assistance with designing a future-ready control room.