Challenges in control room design

The recent introduction of novel, partly automized working processes, which are operated via modern ICT, such as wall displays, smartphones and tablets, leads to major changes in control room design. Applying more innovative ICT enables a variety of new, collaborative working procedures, which are expected to lead to even more efficient and safer operations. Operators no longer depend on physical locations close to the controlled processes, but are able to work proactively over long distances.

Challenges in introducing new systems and operations in control rooms arise from cognitive and ergonomic requirements towards hard- and software as well as an optimum fit of task and equipment. However, challenges also arise from the introduction and development processes themselves. For both challenges HFC provides support and solution approaches.

Process-related measures comprise a consequently applied, user-centered, participative design process, change management, and respective training measures. Measures for design and development relate to the application of relevant standards and recommendations, the focus on the task at hand, the working context and the user skills, as well as the consideration of recent control room research.

For a comprehensive requirements analysis and the development of first digital prototypes of control room design, we cooperate with the innovative visualization services provider CADwalk. CADwalk technologies enable highly visualized design workshops in mixed teams of users, developers, and decision makers.  The patented visualization studio encompasses large scale AR/VR/MR technologies and has been used on over 40 commercial projects globally, including the design of medical facilities, air traffic control towers, and the mission control room for the European Space Agency. This approach ideally supports a user-centered design process, resulting in a shared vision of the future control room, the working procedures, and a digital prototype for further development.

We gained our expertise in customer projects on working position analyses and the conduct of comprehensive validation simulations. For reference, check out our recent project on advanced (mobile) ICT in control rooms with BAuA, VICTOR control room studies project for DFS, and our BMBF-funded research projects AUTUKAR and ELS.