The Control Room of the Future - Technology and the Workforce


Fiona Campbell, ABB AB

The rate at which technology is evolving continues to grow at a rapid pace.  Whereas in the past technology was developed based on industry requirements and needs to increase efficiency and production, this is changing, and industry must now respond to new technologies in order to compete and grow.  Recent studies indicate that the use of automation in the workplace will nearly double in the next few years.  Industry is now facing not only challenges to keep up with the integration of automation, but also how to transition its workforce.  If we look at the control room as being the heart of the industrial environment, the focus in the past has mainly been on the physical and automated components.  The challenge in today’s control room environment is not only with the transition to more technologically advanced operations, but also to the need for more technologically advanced operators.  Competition for a smaller skilled workforce, with more options for careers that embrace technology will increase exponentially. How will industry attract the operators required to maintain and continue to increase production?  Understanding the challenges and being aware of the obstacles will help the mining industry to continue to attract, retain and enable the workforce of the future.  There are solutions that are not immediately apparent that can be applied to today’s environment, with the future in mind.  This presentation will discuss options for the mining industry to respond to these changing circumstances.
Keywords: Control room, operators, operations, workforce