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Taking control of data and security

As part of our month-long special report into control room systems and KVM, Installation spoke to Steve Murphy, managing director of control room video wall specialist Ultimate Visual Solutions (UVS), about data and cyber security considerations in control room environments

Steve Murphy

We are collecting more data than ever before: but how do we make sense of it in the context of the control room? What are the pitfalls?

With the increase in the amount of data available to control room operators, it is necessary to provide as much automated analysis of the information as possible, to inform control room operators of required actions rather than them being the ones responsible for trying to view all the information and take the necessary decisions and the appropriate actions.

For example, in terms of the large amount of CCTV information available to traffic control rooms, additional sensors and video analytics within cameras, or their associated management system, are used to detect slow moving traffic, traffic traveling through red signals, vehicles traveling in the wrong direction, etc.These systems can automatically send alarms and our UVS video wall controllers use these to display only the relevant camera feeds and data on the video wall related to these events, thus reducing the control room operators’ workload and decision making. They can then concentrate on managing the appropriate actions required; for example, by alerting the relevant agencies.

Operators still have access to a large amount of data which is provided by multiple disparate systems, via multiple servers. We have seen a large increase in the demand for high-end KVM over IP (keyboard, video & mouse) solutions within our control room applications. These systems allow operators to have two-to-four operator monitors on their desk, with a single keyboard and mouse, and the KVM over IP solution provides access to any number of remote servers. These can be displayed simultaneously on their screens, with multiple application windows in a single screen which are live, simply by moving the mouse into the application window. This also allows operators easy access to a large amount of data as required.

How big an issue is cyber security? Can tech such as blockchain play a part in control centre operations?

Cyber security is a big issue and one that is taken very seriously by control room management and their operational staff. For any installation of our video wall technology in these applications, there are very strict IT and network protocols that must be adhered to, and compliance proven. 

For example, clients will have their own software patching and updates regimes that we have to configure. We also have to configure specific windows hardening as recommended by the National Cyber Security Centre as well as specific firewall rules. This is paramount to protect the infrastructure assets and ultimately people from any dangers caused from cyber vulnerabilities.