A digital brain serving an entire organisation with the purpose of studying and interpreting information, monitoring technological environments and infrastructures and solving problems in real time. This is how we could describe the Control Rooms of the future.
But are we really ready for this challenge?
What worries today's complex organisations is the risk of becoming mere spectators of this great digital revolution. New technologies are driving the evolution of Control Rooms towards achieving an important goal: creating an intelligent system capable of anticipating the actions to be taken during an emergency. In other words, what the Control Rooms of the future expect from the Digital Transformation is to acquire the ability to make better use of the available data, in order to make effective decisions.
Control Room: towards new growth trajectories
There are 3 growth trajectories that characterise the Control Rooms of the future:
Connectivity: simultaneously interconnecting people, resources and technological infrastructure to increase an organisation's responsiveness and competitiveness. In the Control Rooms of the future, it appears vital to invest in intelligent systems and state-of-the-art processes that can steer an organisation's growth towards total efficiency.
Data transmission speed: the next big innovation challenge for Control Rooms is to break down barriers to information exchange. Not only smoother interfaces for operators, overcoming a critical event depends above all on the speed of transmission of relevant information about the situation. Extraordinary new applications of Artificial Intelligence are waiting to be implemented as a tool to support operators in the slow and difficult task of finding data in the field.
Proactive approach to emergencies: another feature that makes the Control Rooms of the future so innovative is the possibility of simulating risk scenarios through virtual reality systems. This technology will enable operators not only to prepare in advance, but also to test effective decisions specifically designed to overcome a critical situation.
Artificial Intelligence to support decision-making processes
In the Control Room context, the decision-making process becomes more and more complex to carry out; the technological infrastructures to be managed appear rather distributed and difficult to integrate. Artificial Intelligence, properly combined with the experience of technical personnel, represents a very important support, capable of assessing the riskiness of an event starting from the analysis and interpretation of collected data. This does not mean replacing humans with robots and algorithms always and everywhere, but rather fostering the integration of human capabilities and the potential of Artificial Intelligence in decision-making. The final result to which this new way of working aspires is undoubtedly to provide more effective answers in a shorter timeframe than in the past.
Artificial Intelligence to support decision-making processes will be a key feature of the Control Rooms of the future. The orchestration of all these elements points us towards a reality that will simplify human life. Here, the operation of the Control Room will go from passive to active, in the sense that the operator's intervention will only be required in the decision-making phase, supported by situational analyses conducted autonomously by the system.
Emergency Management: how to overcome obstacles to innovation
New technologies applied to Safety & Security seem to usher in a new era in terms of emergency management. However, there is still reluctance to adopt them on the part of companies. While innovation seems unstoppable, operators in control rooms lack the necessary skills to interact with new digital technologies.
Tailor-made training courses for control room operating personnel are currently the only guarantee to accelerate this migration. Embarking on the Digital Transformation requires in-depth knowledge of the technologies aimed at revolutionising the structure of today's Control Rooms.
Ways of searching, gathering and analysing information, possible strategic implications on the work of operators, and future benefits for the community are all fundamental aspects that must be investigated before implementing new technologies. Only competence on all these elements, therefore, can prepare us to embark on the path towards the Control Rooms of the future.