The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Mission Critical Control Room Evolution: (Part 2: Purchasing the Correct Solution)

In part one of this series, we talked about the five key considerations for Mission-Critical Control Room (MCCR) design. How MCCR systems are purchased has also undergone numerous changes over the last 20 years. Some have been good, some are bad, and some are very bad. We can all relate to this frequent post on LinkedIn – “The Bitterness of Poor Quality Remains Long After the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten.” The statement is logically true and gets tons of “likes” and comments. But when was the last time the sentiment was put into practice. It’s rare when anyone gets something for nothing, especially in the MCCR industry. In the MCCR industry today, it is relatively easy to make certain that one buys a high-quality system with short- and long-term support at FAIR and competitive price.

Here are some tips to make a good control room purchase decision:

Prepare Your Requirements

  • If you’re renovating an existing facility, ask your MCCR operators what they do and do not like about the “old” MCCR. Accommodate their suggestions whenever possible.
  • For renovated and new facilities, visit other MCCR’s and talk with the operators who staff these facilities. Ask the same questions.
  • If you have the time, attend an industry specific trade show/ conference or two to learn about new technologies and trends.

Questions to Ask Consultants & Vendors

  • If you chose to work with a Mission Critical Control Room consultant to help with the design of the system and the selection of the technology, talk to your peers who have an MCCR and used a consultant on their project. From these references, create a list of possible candidates for your project
  • Interview the consultants and their past clients.
  • Ask the consultants to show you a recent Human Factors Study they’ve completed for a client.
  • Ask the consultants to show you at least two system designs they have completed for a client.
  • Take part in MCCR component demonstrations before your specification is put together by the consultant.
    • Various display types
      • Projection
      • LCD panels
      • Direct View LED
    • Various content controller types
      • IT based
      • Hardware based
  • Interview Audio Visual System Integrator (AVSI) entities that are qualified MCCR specialists and ask:
    • What are their pre-delivery procedures?
      • How will they maintain regular communication and keep the solution on schedule?
      • Will your system be staged at their facility and available for a factory acceptance test (FAT)?
    • What are their delivery procedures?
    • What are their installation procedures?
    • What are their commissioning procedures?
    • What is their quality assurance process throughout?
    • What is their service after the sale procedures?

The System’s Specification

  • Remember that MCCR technology becomes obsolete rather quickly so make certain you ask for a system that is practical, affordable, and scalable.
  • Make certain that the specification that is generated is a performance-based specification and not a product-based specification.
  • Ask for a detailed commentary describing the upgrade paths for the system described in the specification. Understand what the expected lifespan of the technology will be and balance that with the quote.

When you have your answers and are ready, purchase your MCCR from an MCCR system integration specialist.

If you follow the guidelines listed above you will have put yourself in the position to buy a high-quality MCCR system, fully supported by a high quality systems integration company for a fair and affordable price.

If you missed it, read Part 1 of The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Mission Critical Control Room Evolution

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