Dynamic KVM: The new paradigm in the design of control centers

For decades the central element around which the operation of many control centers was articulated had been the VideoWall; a luminous wall in front of which the positions of the operators are oriented and in which the content they manage is displayed. In most control rooms, the VideoWall not only serves as a sales tool where the company shows its great capabilities in front of visits from potential clients, but it is also a central piece of the operation of equipment, since it allows the information to be displayed in a common area for all operators.

The philosophy that the design and operability of a control center should spin around a central information display element, such as the VideoWall, is evolving, shifting the focus to individual workstations of the operators. In this way, in recent years the VideoWall has been losing weight in the operation of the control center to give it to the position of the operator.

This trend has come hand in hand with the development of new technologies in KVM systems that, after a great evolution carried out in recent years, has gone from being a simple access system to remote CPUs, to becoming a complete system that allows to visualize and manage multiple sources available in the same IP network, generating a large canvas in the workstation of each operator as a “small personal VideoWall”.

To this end, these last generation KVM systems, in addition to facilitating operators access to a wide variety of remote sources and arranging them on their monitors (it is no longer strange to find configurations with three UHD monitors in one place), they offer the possibility of generating their own font compositions and even defining areas of these displays as common areas for all operators, which helps to maintain a global vision of the situation in the control center. In this way, part of the local monitor of the operator can be transformed into a “global VideoWall” replicated at each station. The DeskWall system is a clear example of how the maximum efficiency of each operator’s workstation can be obtained through the multi-canvas at the same time that it converts the most complex systems and the large amount of information that is managed in the room control in a simple and intuitive experience.

It should also be mentioned that in many cases the integration may be superior to that of a conventional videowall, since the fact of having the information directly at the workplace makes it visually more accessible and ergonomic as it is not necessary to derive the view of the usual work area from the workstation screen(s). Likewise, the deconcentration produced in many cases by having images of enormous dimensions moving within their peripheral field of vision is reduced.

All this has allowed that in many installations in which it is not possible to install a traditional VideoWall, whether due to room design, dimensions or simply because of economic reasons, the operators can operate in the same way and without ceasing to have the functionalities that it offers. In addition, the absence of a VideoWall in the control center can directly affect your operating costs, since the costs associated with its maintenance, electricity consumption or cooling needs are reduced.

However, the control centers usually continue to use the VideoWall installation as a global information visualization tool, although its role is less. That is why the latest generation dynamic KVM systems and graphic controllers that are integrated under a single umbrella from the same manufacturer, become a global solution that works as a single and unified ecosystem.

The sources that allow integrating this type of solutions include not only access to remote CPUs through traditional and well-known KVM encoders, but also allow access to sources through remote desktop services (such as RDP, VNC, NoMachine, etc.), embedded clients of VDI services (such as VmWare, Citrix, Azure, etc.), browsers, connections to video streaming sources; and almost any service that needs to be integrated and accessed in the control room depending on the needs of the company and its sector.

The use of new next generation KVM technologies that incorporate a great capacity to access remote services with multiple heterogeneous protocols on a single platform, as well as multiple high definition monitors with a single small device, is not only beneficial for operators who can, in a simpler way, access all the services necessary to carry out their daily work but it is a great help for IT departments that see their workload reduced by eliminating a large number of intermediate computers that through the old technologies were necessary. Thus, in an installation with a traditional KVM, access to a virtual machine, a WEB-based system and another in RDP could previously represent three remote CPUs that had to be supported, which today can be eliminated or replaced by simpler maintenance systems.

In conclusion, the evolution of the traditional KVM systems to the latest generation dynamic KVM systems has led to the functionality provided by the VideoWall in traditional control centers now being integrated into the workstation of each operator, which it is the main asset of a control room. Consequently, by placing the visualization and management of information at the center of operations, the work of the operators becomes more versatile, dynamic and agile.

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