Video Walls in the Energy Sector
- June 12, 2018
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Technology advancements have helped power plants becomes “smarter”. As they move (or have moved) from analogue to digital sensors and controllers, the amount data generated by these systems provide a great operational picture of the plant. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) allows organizations to harness sensor data, which enables plant operators to pick up on inefficiencies and problems promptly, saving a great deal of time and money. But unfortunately, making sense of this data it’s not always easy, or even possible, unless you have the right tools.
Beyond the Control Room
When we talk about video walls in the energy sector, more specifically in a power plant, control rooms and command centers leap to mind (such as the NYPA’s center in White Plains, NY). But in truth video walls are no longer limited to control rooms, there are many other applications and locations where organizations can make great use of video walls. Power plants, and other facilities can deploy video walls in conference rooms, for example, so that plant managers, company executives and other key decision makers access KPIs without disrupting the control room operator’s workday. Not only executives can visualize sensor data from the plant, but they can also monitor staff productivity, as well as any other metric that helps increase efficiency and personnel safety and well being.
Administrators can organize the data into dashboards, and a good video wall controller will be flexible enough to allow easy switching between views, layouts, content, etc. Even more advanced controllers will have the option of multiple content displays, where the video wall is divided into multiple sections, or even with Picture-in-Picture capabilities.
In the use case of a video wall in a power company’s headquarter, executives can meet in a conference room with a video wall. The video wall controller connects to the web, where it receives the data in real time from the power plants. Staff and executives can share their computer screens and use information from many sources to make fast and good decisions about the plant’s operation. Video walls are a great way to make data and information heavy decisions more efficiently.
Leveraging Standard Technology
Video wall technology has become more accessible and affordable. No longer they run on proprietary hardware, but can leverage the use of standard PC and network infrastructure (the same tools used for all the rest of the IT infrastructure) to deliver high quality content to the video walls with incredible reliability (key requirements for a power plant’s control room). The drop in display costs, as well as the simplification of video wall controllers means that video walls can be deployed everywhere you need them. What’s more, all this video walls now can be integrated into the IIoT for a more efficient operation and decision-making.
Another key advantage of using standard IT infrastructure is that, in most cases, the network system is already in place, so the deployment of the video walls is easier and minimally disruptive. The video wall controller sits in the server room with all the IT equipment for added safety, and the support and maintenance is highly available and cost-effective (as it doesn’t require highly specialized support staff). Refreshment cycles and upgrades are less expensive, and ensure minimal downtime of the video walls (basically, all that is needed at most is to swap the old PC with a new one). This flexibility translates well into a low total cost of ownership (TCO), as well as a fast Return On Investment (ROI)
The IIoT has brought amazing things to the energy sector, and having a video wall solution in key areas can provide a powerful platform towards a more productive and efficient operation. When it comes to energy management, having the right strategy can help save significantly in operation costs and having the right platform to visualize and analyze the data will make for an even more efficient operation.