According to AAA, an estimated 46.9 million travelers journeyed by automobile, airplane, train or cruise ship for the Thanksgiving holiday. Transportation systems helped secure and move these travelers to their destination amidst heightened security concerns, road construction and unpredictable weather patterns. These systems are so integrated into daily life, that most travelers have no idea of all the behind the scenes effort required to make it all work.
But when these systems stop working, people take notice. Recently, for example, worldwide headlines trumpeted the computer glitch that brought a major U.S. airline to a dead halt. With the upcoming Christmas holiday season, transportation operators cannot afford the risk to travelers, the lost revenue or the bad publicity that comes with service disruptions.
To keep a transportation system moving, it is necessary for operations personnel to rapidly access, view, and aggregate data maintained in multiple operational systems. This data also needs to be delivered in many formats, such as video feeds, teleconferencing sessions, maps, and more. Given this complexity, it can be a tall order for control rooms to operate efficiently, ensure systems are running smoothly and keep costs under control.
There are two key technologies that can help control rooms operate at peak performance. The first is high-performance KVM systems, which offer a quick, simple way to provide access to an unlimited number of operational systems. Using the right KVM technology, operators can securely switch between these systems in seconds from their workstations, eliminating the need to move from place to place to gain access. Both local and remote users can shift instantly between systems to share screens, sessions and data.
Emerson’s Avocent® KVM switches have remote extension capabilities that allow systems and peripherals to be back-racked in a separate location. To ensure a high-fidelity experience, these KVM switches are designed to provide pixel-perfect quality with no latency—as if the machine were still sitting right next to the user.
KVM switches can go a long way in helping keep operations running smoothly even when a system goes down. Avocent switches provide instant switching to hot standby systems while continuing to deliver a high-fidelity experience. They also eliminate any single point of failure. You can direct each user to a different hardware target so that if the target fails, only one user needs to switch to a hot standby machine.
A real world example: a major international airport decided to consolidate five control rooms into a single command and control center. Using KVM switches, the airport consolidated 29 dispersed departments into one centralized control room, and users can now share desk information with video walls in real time, for smooth distribution of information and incident knowledge transfer. KVMs have also helped the airport increase resilience – simply by swapping out transmitter and receiver units, users are back online instantly and with no single point of failure. The airport has taken advantage of the remote capabilities as well, securely back-racking all systems in a communications room.
The second key technology is centralized remote management, which can simplify the job of IT management by enabling automatic location, connection and administration of systems from a single console. Avocent’s centralized remote management systems enable real-time status information and instant diagnostics, giving the IT administrators the tools to diagnose problems and forestall downtime.
Using KVMs to share systems is a great way to reduce costs as well. Not only can users perform their daily tasks more efficiently, but the number of primary and active standby systems needed to support operations can be reduced. This can add up to significant capital cost savings and even eliminate the need to build multiple control rooms.
An in depth review of Emerson solutions for transportation control rooms is available for download. If you have determined that KVM switches and remote centralized management are the right solution for your control room, seek out a vendor with a broad set of options, allowing you to correctly size your control room solution to deliver an operating environment that matches your business requirements.