This is a recurring problem raised by our customers. How to manage the cohabitation of different populations in a control room from an acoustic point of view? In particular, these 3 groups that perform different tasks:

  • Operators, focused on the screens at their desks or on the video wall
  • Supervisors, planners or specialists who intervene from time to time in supervision or crisis scenarios
  • Outsiders, whether they are simple visitors or decision-makers present in the space because a particular situation requires their intervention

From an audio point of view, several sounds will collide, especially if the room is small:

  • cross-talk, including phone calls
  • audible alarms
  • audio from certain sources if the media controller settings allow it

There are no miracle solutions to this problem, but you can consider three practical solutions when designing the room to mitigate the effects of this noise nuisance, which can be detrimental to the operation of your control room.

Separation of spaces

We deal with this subject in detail in our Control Room White Paper, so let’s just recall the basic principles here. A control room must include specialised adjoining rooms (preparation/planning, crisis/command, etc.)

The use of controlled partitions

The principle is to introduce a certain visual and auditory flexibility: the partitions are equipped with electrically controlled windows (Privalite type) but also with microphones/speakers which are activated by a simple switch or by a control button on a touch panel of the home automation type. A simpler alternative is the use of headphones, but we prefer the first solution for reasons of comfort and communication performance.

A thorough acoustic treatment of the space

These include the use of specialised ceiling canopies, acoustic fabrics for furniture and micro-perforated panels for wall cladding and furniture.

Last option: the human

Without putting in place complicated binding procedures, communication about good oral practice in a control room can pay off. We are struck by the fact that many teams complain about noise nuisance (as do all open office spaces) but that very often simple (in-)training and posting of the adhoc procedure on the subject have never been put in place.

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