1. #1
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    Default Comms centre design

    G'day all from Down Under,
    got a question regarding communication centre design. I am working at a combined military/civil airport, and we operate our own version of a 911 call centre, whereby all emergency calls get rung through, all fire alarms on base are received in our watchroom, and on top of all that maintain a watch both visual and audio over aircraft.

    We are needing to design a new layout of desks, computer, phone and radio stations (and accomodate a king single bed), to enable the watchkeeper to have all required tools under his fingertips whilst still having maximum visibility of the airfield.

    My question is, has anyone been involved in the design process of a comms centre, if so, what problems did you encounter, and does anyone have any schematics, photos, or back of the napkin designs that they would be interested in sharing? The watchroom itself is about 20' x 20'

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    nmfire's Avatar
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    Default

    I've been involved in the design of the one I currently work in. Minus the watching an airfield part, it is exactly the same as what you describe.

    I would check out a console furniture manufacturer called Wright-Line. They make great stuff. You can put the LCD monitors on articulating arms so they ca n be stacked and positioned where convinient and not block your view. The desk surfaces can also be ordered with electric height adjustment. It kicks ***! The height can be adjusted for the users comfort. And it was easy for me to install the equipment. I put the whole thing all the way up which is high enough for me to scoot under it with a chair and wire things... like working on a car up on a lift.

    Use 19" flat LCD screens as a minimum size. Make sure the monitors have standard VESA mounts on the back, this is very important for the stands and arms. Don't skimp on the monitors, remember you are going to be staring at them for 8-12/-6 hours at a time.

    Thank about how many PC's you will be running in there. How many need a keyboard and mouse at immidiate access all the time? How many don't? You can put the ones that don't need a dedicated keyboard an mouse all the time on a KVM switch. For example, I put a keyboard and mouse on the desk for the CAD computer and that is all it does. Then I put a second smaller keyboard and another mouse hooked up to a KVM switch. So i can push the button on this little KVM box to switch that second keyboard & mouse between 3 alarm system and the radio PC. It stays on one of the alarm system 90% of the time unless I need to go to the other less frequently used systems. The radio PC has it's own dedicated mouse so the KVM is hooked up to it only as a backup. The alternative to this is to have 5 keyboards and 5 mice on the desk which is simply not practical or possible. I reduced it to two which is much more manageable.

    Layout the monitors and keyboards as ergonomicly as possible. Nothing is worse than having to swing your neck or your body from side to side all day because the two most used screens are on opposide ends. Our old communications center was like that and on a busy day, my neck would hurt. I made sure it was better in the new center.

    I highly recommend a headset system that will allow telephone and radio together. Life is so much better without picking up the phone. If you can afford it, a wireless headset system is the cats ***. The users remote can control radio PTT, telephone pickup and hangup, etc.

    AIR CONDITIONING!!!! With a ton of computers and monitors, the heat load is a lot more than two people. The AC needs to be able to keep up. This is often forgotten..

    LIGHTING! Make sure the lights are dimable or can be shut off. 20 high power flouresant lights fully ablaze for 16 hours will make me insane. People think I am noctournal because I live and work in the dark all day and all night. I love having maybe one desk light and thats it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
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    Default

    thanks nmfire, given me some excellent points to consider, you just made my job a hell of a lot easier!

    Cheers
    Fuzz

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