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Digital Ecosystems

Too much information in control rooms leads to overload

A lot of information comes together in control centers and control rooms. New technologies can be both a curse and a blessing in this respect, as human beings still only have two eyes and their capacity to take in information is limited. Researchers are providing tips to prevent information overload.

13 Feb. 2019
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Too much information in control rooms leads to overload (Photo: Siemens AG)

The limits of human perception and information processing can be reached all too easily in situations where there is too much information, reports the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health . It examined the most suitable options for displaying videos for use in control centers and control rooms and what effect this has on the employees concerned. 3D presentations, changing images and augmented reality were some of the options analyzed.

The results report shows that the strain increases the faster the images change and the more complex they are. Augmented reality (AR) can be useful, provided that only relevant and accurate information is displayed, otherwise the user will quickly become inundated. The researchers carried out both a laboratory and a field study. Their publication includes design recommendations based on their results and an indication of which technologies are suitable and unsuitable for certain areas of application.

In any case, the days when operators just had to stare at a small screen are long gone. Industry is already working towards the future when it comes to control centers, too. For example, Siemens presented the DynaGridCenter project in 2018 which is equipped with assistance systems, as reported on industrie.de . The grid control center is intended not only to visualize dynamic processes in the electricity grid, but also to make specific recommendations for grid optimization.

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