Discover Barco’s portfolio for Critical decision-making with Suchit Rout
Based on the past, Barco is mainly known as a supplier of cinema systems and high resolution screens. How would you position Barco as a tech company today?
Although we are well-known for our projectors, we operate in a lot more professional niche markets. After all, the company has been around for over 80 years. We are for example also a world leader in medical displays, and have been active in the control rooms market for more than 25 years. We thus have a deep understanding of our customers’ requirements. Overall, our mission is to empower our end users with impressive visualization and innovative collaboration solutions, enabling them to make meaningful connections and have insightful experiences. For our different markets, this translates into creating magical moments (digital cinema and entertainment), protecting health (healthcare), supporting people to work smarter together (corporate enterprises), or enable faster and better decision-making (critical control rooms).
What is Barco’s current product offering for critical control rooms?
Barco offers systems for critical monitoring and critical collaboration. Both of these together enable critical decision making. The critical monitoring part of our offering uses various visualization technologies, purpose-built for 24/7 operations and long-term usage, combined with a low total cost of ownership. This includes LCD and rear-projection video walls, video wall controllers and management software. The critical collaboration offering comprises of software and media platform solutions which enable decision-makers to securely share situational awareness faster across all decision-making units.
How would you describe the term “critical decision-making”?
For Barco, critical decision-making is the result of critical monitoring and critical collaboration. Due to the abundance of data available today, organizations need the proper means to get the most out of this information to make the best possible decisions. Because the final decision-making is still in the hands of humans, you need a way to present this information to people wherever they are. This includes operators in the control room, individual operators, field workers and decision-makers in the breakout rooms. Barco's critical decision-making (CDM) offering is based on a modular, network-centric, media distribution platform. It consists of both software and hardware components, and is covered by long term enterprise service options. This CDM offering allows for the secured distribution of critical information like video, images and data across the entire enterprise — and beyond — over standard IP networks. This ensures the high availability of all necessary information at the right location, while always upholding the necessary security requirements. In this way, all stakeholders (including control room operators, field workers and higher management) have the essential Shared Situational Awareness that enables better critical decision-making.
What’s Barco’s added value in this space to e.g. the public safety communications industry?
Our critical decision-making portfolio is an answer to the needs of critical infrastructure management to enhance collaborative decision-making. While the control room serves as a central information hub, all stakeholders can tap into the information from their current location. This can be a breakout room, but also field workers can consult the information using any mobile device that includes a standard HTML5-supporting browser — like laptop computers, tablets, and even smartphones. In this way, individual operators and teams are equally empowered to manage large complex operations, all in real-time. The modular approach of the offering enables easy scalability: when the organization and responsibilities grow, the system can swiftly adapt to the new requirements, making these investments future-proof.
Has critical decision-making evolved over the past years?
Very much so. The rise of Big Data has a tremendous impact on the possibilities in critical decision-making, and we see a continued impact in the years to come as well. As with any other process, it continues to become more efficient and effective by use of better technologies. Because Barco has been a technology provider to control rooms globally since over two decades, we have witnessed (and actively participated in making) critical decision-making become better, faster and quicker. In the beginning, critical decision-making was primarily point-to-point and tactical. It evolved to becoming hierarchical with defined procedures. Modern critical decision-making is agile and incorporating teaming principles with defined workflows. What earlier used to be housed in a single big centralized control room has now transformed into a fully-connected remotely-organized well-oiled machine, aided by state of the art technologies.
Do you see any new or upcoming industries for critical decision making?
More than being tied to particular vertical markets, critical decision-making is a horizontal competence. It is therefore applicable to any market that requires critical infrastructure management. It is therefore not limited to the traditional verticals that use a control room (including utilities, public security and transportation), but also to enterprises and even large retail stores. The option to collaborate and share information between different networks opens up a wide range of exciting new possibilities. Because Barco’s offering consists of open systems that can be integrated into any organization’s existing infrastructure, we foresee an expansion of the potential markets.
If people need to remember 1 word about Barco in critical decision-making, what would it be?
Can we make that two words? I would say ‘Innovative and Reliable’. Because these 2 words cover quite well what we stand for: we offer cutting-edge technology that is designed for critical applications and thus thoroughly tested for 24/7 use in critical applications. Furthermore, it also means that customers can rely on Barco when additional support is needed, or if new system requirements are added. Because of our many strategic alliances with industry leaders (e.g. software providers), we can offer verified complete solutions to our customers that combine the most innovative technologies and guarantee interoperability.