Control room conference a valuable learning experience

Control room conference a valuable learning experience

Site visits and case studies were highlights of Australia’s peak conference for control room operators, vendors and researchers.

The Australian Control Room Network Association’s (ACRNA) most recent annual three-day conference, held in Melbourne from 29–31 October 2019, was attended by more than 60 delegates representing control room operations across Australia from a wide range of industry sectors including electricity, gas, transport, utilities and mining.

After a networking breakfast, the first day of the conference program focused on case studies presented by control room operators and control room industry specialists addressing change management and technology challenges. Those case studies included:

  • Change resistance
  • Employee health and wellbeing addressing circadian disruption with human-centric lighting in control rooms
  • Improving usability
  • Fatigue management — enhancing control room operators sleep through thermogenics
  • Relocation of a control room
  • Safer control rooms
  • Merging new technologies and people
  • Virtual reality as a design tool

That final case study came with an exciting hands-on opportunity for delegates to experience the virtual reality design system during conference breaks.

Day one concluded with a networking function and the annual conference dinner, with the very engaging guest speaker, Professor Mark Wiggins, speaking on ‘Change, technology and learning’.

The second day of the conference began with a second networking breakfast followed by control room site visits to AGL Reewabnles, CitiPower/Powercor, Emergency Management Victoria, Jemena, Metro Trains, Department of Transport (VicRoads), Transurban (CityLink) and Yarra Trams. Site visits are a highlight of the ACRNA conference as they provide a valuable learning opportunity for operators to experience a wide variety of control rooms outside of their normal environment. They also provide the opportunity to develop valuable networks and relationships, enhancing cross-sharing of knowledge, experience and lessons learned.

Following the control room site visits, the afternoon program included a panel discussion and debrief by delegates, sharing what they learned and observed at the control rooms they visited.

Day two concluded with a networking function and an informal conference delegate dinner.

The third and final day began with the ACRNA AGM, which underlined the healthy growth of the association, with many new members nominating for committee positions and enthusiastic discussion on the direction of the association.

The afternoon program included a presentation by a representative of the International Critical Control Room Association (ICCRA) which is now an affiliate association of the ACRNA.

The association’s main focus throughout 2020 will be establishing and enhancing member services such as industry newsletters, guidelines (eg, fatigue management), facilitating training opportunities via one-day regional workshops, and further developing relationships with other associations and organisations involved in the management of critical infrastructure and services.

The ACRNA 2020 annual conference will be held in Queensland — date to be announced — and details of one-day regional workshops will be published on the ACRNA website:

The association has been formally established for just over 18 months and in that time it has been well accepted by industry and supported by corporate members, without whose support the association would not be able to deliver its low-cost, high-value annual conference and future regional events.

The association’s corporate members are: Jemena (platinum); Transurban, Viva Energy, AGL, PowerLink, Origin APLNG (all gold); and Control Centres Australia (silver).

Image courtesy ARCNA

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