Keep everything under control


Knowledge is power, the old saying goes, and a control room lives or dies by the ability of operators to make informed and timely decisions, often based on huge amounts of information.

“Multiple and varied data streams need to be instantly accessible and visualized through multiple outputs, typically large digital surfaces and smaller visual displays,” says Stephen Wair, business line manager for control rooms at Sharp NEC Display. Solutions. “The ability to link sources, such as video surveillance, to map information and location data enables faster interpretation of events and faster, more accurate decision-making.

“The challenge is to manage datasets from different time periods and sources and convert them into a standard that operators can use. It’s about comparing apples to apples to get the big picture.

“The control room system will transcode all available data to the latest streaming standard, allowing existing cameras or other analog data sources to continue feeding the system. The amount and diversity of data continues to grow, and the system must manage and present it for the most effective situational awareness. This requires high computing power and a deep understanding of where the data comes from. The data must then be displayed visually, which allows for quick decision making.

Thanks to the modern obsession with filming everything on CCTV and connecting every device imaginable to the Internet of Things, there is often so much data that human operators could never keep up with. So instead of operators visually digitizing, say, hundreds of CCTV streams, the system performs basic pre-analysis, using software analyzes that apply complex algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI).

“Data analysis programs identify potential unusual events or anomalies in the data, such as one person walking in the opposite direction to the flow of the crowd, or multiple people running,” says Wair. “This triggers the visualization of the data by a human operator to make a decision. “

Analytics is now being used in innovative ways to add additional layers of intelligence, says Hanna Samuelsson, senior usability engineer at Axis Communications. “For example, audio sensors can not only detect sound, but also indicate what kind of sound it is, such as broken glass or gunshots. Data from additional sensors can be incorporated into AV feeds to give more information. So smoke detectors can alert operators of a potential fire, as well as video cameras that can help with remote confirmation without risking an in-person investigation.

False alarm filter
The analysis software will also attempt to filter out false alarms or “false positives”. According to Samuelsson, finding a balance between false positives and “false negatives” (that is, missing something important) is a perennial dilemma. “The goal of minimizing false negatives often comes at the cost of an increasing number of false positives,” she says.

Control rooms have to deliver large amounts of information in a short period of time, often to multiple people. “The ability to accurately read and interpret the same information on multiple screens is vital for team decision making,” says Wair. “For example, calibrating the color workflow across all monitors in the control room will ensure perfect color match regardless of the output technology.

“DvLED technology is more and more attractive as prices drop and finer-pitch solutions compete with the levels of detail and contrast of more traditional LCD video walls. The advantages of dvLED include brightness, operational life, average repair time, and flexibility of form.

But how does all this data end up in the control room system? Samuel Recine, vice president of sales at Matrox Video, explains. “Most audiovisual information sources are either transmitted directly from computers as audio and video streams, or routed through encoders that digitize (and, where applicable, process) the audio and video sources as an IP stream. Once all the media is on the AV network as a packet stream, it can be switched and sent to wired and wireless nodes where it can be used and manipulated by operators.

“Live streams and videos recorded from different sources are often viewed in a video management system that specializes in managing video in multi-view, playback and reporting,” adds Samuelsson.

Live streams and videos recorded from different sources are often viewed in a video management system that specializes in managing video in multi-view, playback and reporting.

“It requires that the different streams are brought together and integrated to provide a cohesive view of the scene. Video streams can also be integrated into other applications as needed.

Data streams can also be recorded, Recine explains. “The recording can be used for operator training and to develop in-depth libraries of control room data to test and train AI algorithms to find patterns and search for optimizations. “

Stijn Ooms, Director of Product Strategy at Crestron, believes that a control room solution should deliver perfectly synchronized content across all screens, with seamless real-time multiple 4K content, easy layout switching and zero perceptible latency.

This is essentially the job of the distribution system. “More and more organizations are now using AV over IP solutions rather than conventional switching systems,” said Karl Johnson, director of product management at Christie. “AV-over-IP replaces proprietary circuit-switched AV hardware with standards-based Ethernet switches that can be configured with software. Today, standards-based SDVoE systems switch and transport 4K / 60 content over 10G Ethernet with zero latency and lossless quality, without artifacts.

“Standardized SDVoE technology includes a wide range of AV signal management features, such as video up and down conversion, image composition, multi-viewer applications, video wall magnifications, audio mixing, KVM control and switching. “

In a nutshell, fewer devices are needed to deliver a broader set of features, which is cheaper, more streamlined, and more scalable. “The robust and diverse nature of AV over IP encoders and decoders allows systems to use an assortment of products as needed,” Ooms explains.

“It doesn’t matter if there is 4K video quality in the control room and 1080p in the subcommittee room. And AV-over-IP is scalable and flexible. It can handle an almost unlimited number of sources and displays, and if you want to add more, no hardware or infrastructure needs to be replaced, you just need to add an additional decoder or encoder.

Interoperability challenge
Interoperability can be a significant challenge, as the scalability of AV over IP is only beneficial if the existing equipment is compatible with the new equipment, according to Paul Vander Plaetse, CEO of VuWall. “Interoperability must be considered at two levels: signal compatibility and control compatibility. Signal compatibility is relatively easy, as most vendors have adapted their solutions to industry standards such as H.264 and H.265.

Fishtech Group Cyber ​​Defense Center (CDC) in Kansas City, Missouri. Designed to serve as a 24-hour cloud security and threat monitoring center, where Fishtech employees can manage and monitor their customers’ applications.

“Command compatibility, however, presents a greater challenge. Although devices from different brands can use the same streaming protocol, they require different control commands. To take full advantage of AV-over-IP, the audiovisual industry should consider standardizing control commands. A good example is the ONVIF initiative in the security sector, which guarantees interoperability between IP cameras.

Connectivity issues can also negatively impact the performance of AV technology, adds Samuelsson. “High resolution video requires high bandwidth and low latency, so it’s important that the underlying network has the appropriate capacity. Low bandwidth issues that negatively impact AV performance can be mitigated through software configuration.

As a result, integrators are forced to improve their skills, according to Igor Isheev, CTO at integrator Polymedia. “Control room AV projects require integrators to have networking expertise, because currently almost all systems (visualization, audio, streaming, KVM) are digital and network based. Everything works via TCP / IP stacks.


Datapath CEO Bjorn Krylander explains that the design of the control room system has followed a stable pattern, overall, over the past two decades.

Thin clients and KVM systems based on proprietary switching technology have made it possible to design flexible multifunction operator workstations and facilitate information sharing, but at considerable cost and complexity.

The transition to KVM and AV networks over IP, the commoditization of 10 Gbit / s networks and 4K display technology now allow command and control organizations to quickly adapt working methods to the skills and competencies of operators, safety and other operational requirements, while significantly improving the working environment.

The nature of many command and control operations is such that trends towards cloud computing platforms and enterprise collaboration solutions will not be enough as a tool anytime soon. Many critical systems will remain local.

However, modern visualization systems, such as Aetria and Aligo from Datapath, allow command and control organizations to design flexible solutions around their operations, placing operational requirements at the center of the design, not the capabilities of the operators. technologies deployed, thereby increasing efficiency, reducing costs and enabling better results.

At Datapath, we like to think of ourselves as structurally agnostic, whether your content and applications are primarily generated on desktops, in an equipment room, data center, or from the cloud, we can help you implement creates an efficient operating environment.

Simply anything anywhere.

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