Data Management in Distributed Work Control Rooms Enters a New Era

The increasing needs of today’s control rooms in security and surveillance environments make data distribution a complex and constantly evolving affair. This is a concern that particularly affects control rooms that house equipment with operators distributed in different locations in one or several buildings, and in a single or geographically separated town.

The challenge is not only in collecting and managing data from a large number of sources, but also in sharing data between different places so that it is possible to work collaboratively around the same information.

How does a control room manage to receive data originating in all kinds of formats and from multiple sources and then serve it up easily and efficiently, and in an easy-to-use format — to operators at various sites? This article describes the changes currently experienced by audiovisual sources, signals and networks, as well as the need to adapt systems to these changes.

Data collection and control

The data originates in various formats. They can arrive directly by cable using a continuous signal, or be accessible within a network through different application protocols. Lately there is a growing demand not only to easily access the viewing of multimedia and network sources, but also to manage the content on the display itself and using a keyboard and mouse. We go on to review commonly used content sources to take into account when setting the needs for distribution, control and presentation of data in a control room.

Audiovisual sources

Video is a common source of data, but audio can also be useful to operators. The introduction of 4K video or ultra-high definition (UHD) has increased the resolution of these audiovisual sources, and it is now possible to accept source content in resolutions up to 3840 x 2160 for presentations on control room displays.

Network Sources

Desktop capture software tools offer an inexpensive method of transporting and controlling slow-moving graphics or data sources on an existing network. Common screen capture protocols are available in open-source applications, network software applications, and widely used operating systems. They are also compatible with keyboard and mouse control of the source machine.

The use of IP CCTV cameras has also proliferated in many applications, especially in security and surveillance. The H.264 compression standard is ubiquitous in IP cameras, AV encoders, and IPTV systems. Video processors must be adaptable to the use of common protocols and unicast or multicast sending and broadcasting platforms. Systems for decoding IP cameras must also offer the ability to effectively interface with or select content from thousands of cameras.

System needs for today’s control room

In addition to the different types of sources, the needs for scalability, security, integration and ease of use also influence the design of the system.

Companies and organizations that handle high-value processes, essential services or public safety tend to distribute data to a large number of departments, establishing real-time collaboration between different offices, buildings or campuses, or over large geographical distances. Sometimes it is necessary to present shared data in one or many videowalls to support different organizational functions, or in digital signage displays distributed by the company, school or organization.

IP networks are an attractive platform for distributing AV data sources in control room operations. In an organization, networks reach everywhere, but some network segments may be protected by firewalls and security applications, or restricted for use in unicast transport rather than multicast, popular in distribution applications. A system that transports video and audio over a network in real time must provide scalability when transporting content to a large number of displays and end operators, also extending it along segments that present more sophisticated transport restrictions, such as encryption or transport. performed solely by unicast.

For a room control system to be integrated, easy to use, flexible, scalable and secure, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Be compatible with multiple videos, audio and control formats.
  • Provide the ability to interface with network-based application servers or desktop capture applications.
  • Be expandable over time, or be able to manage more sources and displays, or transmit data to new locations.
  • Possess an efficient method to distribute content to displays and locations.
  • Have an easy-to-use configuration and control interface.

Reasons for using an Intrusion Detection System

We are all exposed to a series of events, sometimes uncomfortable and unfortunate, sometimes even with unimaginable risks that violate physical or material integrity. That’s when we think about the security measures that would have alerted us or protected us from what happened.

Many of us are clear and act before things happen, but the vast majority do not. They have asked themselves the following question: How many of us who belong to the Security guild have these intrusion detection and burglar alarm system installed in our own residences and / or offices?

In ancient times, these systems were considered invasive, since normal activities were affected because a non-modifiable time that the system used to arm or disarm had to be taken into account, as well as its large volume and unattractive design. Today, many of them are already part of our lives, such as the mobile phone; if we go out without it, it generates a feeling of strangeness. The same happens with those people who by not activating their systems suffer the same sensation.

Custom makes habit and many people are already used to its alarm detection systems; this activating and deactivating activity is part of your daily routine.

The most important reasons to use an Intrusion Detection system, apart from performing its function, as its name implies (intrusion detection), is the power of automation, through its relay outputs.

Through wireless actions (by keyboard or calendar), another of the most relevant functions is that a dry contact can be accessed which, by coupling to other modules, achieves on or off functions of other systems, signal triggering, door release, sprinkler activation, among others. As technology seeks integration over time, detection panels are no exception; There are already links between systems that air-condition homes, automate domestic functions, among others.

Today, the integration between control systems plays a very important role in communications, whether to alert an event, a failure or a deactivation of our alarm system. These signals alert us or keep us in continuous communication with our homes or workplaces. Before or even in these days, the means for this operation were the telephone lines, the so-called copper pairs. Now we speak of the GPRS medium through the cellular band radio spectrum. With this technology we are able to reach geographically remote places that we could never have addressed due to the type of technology we had.

Feature Image Courtesy: Unsplash

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