2017-11-14 - With Baby Boomers about to retire, we are now entering the days of Generation G - the gamers.
For any organisation that relies on Control Room Operators to help run, sustain or grow their business, they must understand not only the technology they use, but also the human habits of the people using it.
It is also no secret that playing video and computer games is popular for the younger generation. These groups use gaming technology for an average of 8 hours per week. And it is this generation that are likely to be the new generation of Control Room Operators.
New skills for faster and more accurate decisions making
According to studies, gamers were up to 25 percent faster at making a correct decision when faced with screen based problem solving tasks. As an example, skilled players of the online strategy game, Starcraft, perform up to 400 actions per minute. This is four times faster than those not from a gaming background. This and other games, present the gamer with highly active periods with a lot of alarms to be monitored and decisions to be made. These skills will make gamers highly effective as future Control Room Operators.
Impress the hard to please young engineers
It is obvious that this generation will not be satisfied with the standards set by previous generation (several keyboards and a lot of different telecom equipment on the desk). This new generation of operators (iPad generation) are used to touch interaction technology and they are accustomed to higher environmental standards, and happen to be great problem solvers (skill gained from gaming).
Giving careful consideration to the facility will attract the next generation whilst improving the standards of the current. To make skilled control room operators stick around, attention to the human factors and ergonomics is required.
Use furniture specially designed for control room operators
At ABB we are doing this in several ways. Firstly we are innovative when it comes to the development of control system user experience and control room workplaces for critical 24/7 processes.
Today’s operators need to keep an eye on several things at once ranging from process data to surveillance cameras, even weather forecasts. Things can get complicated because different information is usually displayed on separate systems via dedicated monitors, keyboards and procedures. To get a complete view of these separate systems, the operator has to move between different displays. And it does not have to be this way.
Improve the operator’s performance and health and well-being
Control room desks can become an active part of the process by adopting the latest Human Factors standards. A fixed sitting working position is not healthy for operators and getting the ergonomics right will help to:
· reduce fatigue
· create alertness
· improve the operator’s health and well-being
Every operator is different, and it is important to have a very flexible platform, that is future proof and attractive for young people.
We believe that advanced solutions and special control room furniture can assist operators in handling the increasingly complicated operating challenges in 24 hour, 365 day environments. If a company gets this wrong, then despite investing in some of the latest systems or technology available, it may not necessarily translate into improved production or employee retention.