A Holistic Approach to Mission Critical Environments

by Kimberly Cox

"Mission-critical environment" may state the obvious when describing an organization’s control room, but how often does the discussion end with the mission and ignore the environment? When planning an updated or new control room design, a company’s mission is certainly a primary factor, but taking a holistic approach elevates the discussion. It takes into account not only the purpose and values of an organization, but also the activities, processes, technology and human factors at play in a day in the life of a control room operator.

Since control rooms are the most important area in an organization, where decisions are made affecting successful outcomes and in some instances, the well-being and safety of the community the organization serves, it is paramount that the criteria used in control room design are not only based on  ideal conditions,but maybe more importantly, on crisis situations.

At the very least, a holistic needs analysis and the resulting control room design should address the following:

·        Identify operator sightlines to critical information displays to enhance situational awareness  

·        Evaluate how to promote operator collaboration to facilitate communication and eliminate distractions

·        Outline processes and related workflow to increase efficiencies and reliability

·        Assess current technology and anticipated future requirements for ease of access and accommodation

·        Operator comfort considerations to include movement, lighting, personal climate and acoustics

·        And finally, is design expected to meet organization’s objectives for 5 years, 10 years, or beyond?


Thinking holistically encompasses the whole of an organization’s complex operations and environment in relationship to the human elements and significantly improves the ability of an organization to meet its’ mission and objectives.  

Therefore, some top reasons for investing time, energy and resources into a thoughtful control room design are:

·        Minimized downtime and increased productivity improves return on investment and safeguards stakeholders interest

·        Reduced operator stress and fatigue resulting in improved decision making and faster,more efficient response times

·        Enhanced operator satisfaction and well-being leads to employee retention and easier recruitment reducing administrative costs

·        Increased public confidence in organization and their ability to meet goals and objectives


e-Systems Group's experienced team of specialists can provide guidance and help your organization with the implementation of a well thought out control room design.

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