Christie Projectors Drive Idaho Power’s Hybrid Control Room Wall

Patent Pending Solution by Primate Technologies Inc. Uses Monitor Mapboard Overlaid by Dynamic Projected Content for Increased Situational Awareness

Christie® projection technology is an integral part of a groundbreaking hybrid display wall solution for Idaho Power’s new control room that is helping  the electric utility serve its half-million customers with a more efficient, more informative, and more reliable monitoring system. The SA2 patent-pending solution designed by Primate Technologies, Inc. overlays dynamic projected content from a series of Christie DS+6K-M SXGA 3-chip DLP® projectors onto a digital-based modular tile mapboard from Monitor Mapboard Systems. The unique combination allows abnormal conditions to be projected and lit upon the screen, making it easier to see situations such as an open breaker or multiple breakers flashing at different stations. 

Idaho Power’s service area spans some of the most rugged and remote landscape across southern Idaho and eastern Oregon to serve a population of approximately 1,000,000 people. When the utility was moving to a new location, it sought to remodel its control room and started exploring potential alternatives to the traditional, static-type mapboards that would not be affected by the ambient light from the windows.  In the past, the utility had used anything from a paper map to a tiled mapboard. Idaho Power was intrigued by the hybrid Scadaboard solution suggested by Monitor and  Primate that still met all its criteria for a rugged, 24/7 wall that was also customizable,  providing up-to-the-second information while maintaining a static component of the control monitoring display which is critical during outages or catastrophic events.

Primate Technologies Inc., which builds robust visualization software products for the energy industry, developed the unique concept of overlaying projected content from overhead Christie projectors in strategic areas of Monitor Mapboard Systems’ modular, digital output based mapboard with software driven dynamic content just in the areas needed. The result was a hybrid display wall that is much more visible to the entire room, allowing for increased situation awareness and the ability for operators to easily add collaborative information and tags to the projected dynamic content.  Primate Technologies, Inc. software also allows users to add additional displays or change the appearance of the dynamic content projected on the board.

“Idaho Power’s hybrid solution is the first of its kind and represents a marriage of leading technologies in 24/7 control rooms,” said Rita Patterson, vice president of Sales, Marketing and Customer Relations at Primate Technologies, Inc. “With the primary goal of providing a highly efficient control room environment, we needed to make sure that the companies we chose fully understood that environment. For digital front projection, Christie was the clear choice as they came highly recommended by trusted customers.”

Monitor Mapboard Systems provides situational awareness tools for displaying the ‘big picture’ in the form of large, physical dynamic mapboards, which are graphic representations of the client’s grid or service territory.  It also offers dynamic mapboards that are wired with LEDs to show abnormal status. When coupled with Primate Technologies’ dynamically projected software, this “live” Scadaboard™ provides the ultimate situational awareness mapboard solution.

“Electric utilities have a history of using mapboards to display their big picture system status, making them a critical tool for alerting the dispatcher when something has happened,” noted Vince Blaeser, principal, Monitor Mapboard Systems. “The hybrid Scadaboard solution brings additional layers of relevant and dynamic content to the system operators.”

“Analog display walls are common in the industry, and we considered everything from using materials that included metal or plastic tile boards, to massive silkscreen tile boards with switches or lights,” said Gary Felton Jr., Chief Dispatcher, Load Serving Operations, Idaho Power.  “The hybrid display was the ideal solution. We are especially impressed with the images from the three Christie DS+6K-M projectors. They are exceptionally bright, crisp and vibrant, and really ‘pop’ when you see them on the board.”

“We are pleased to be selected for this unique solution for Idaho Power that represents a perfect marriage of three leading technologies for control rooms. This hybrid display has a truly high-tech feel,” said Dave Muscat, senior director, Control Room Solutions, at Christie.  “It’s really inspiring to see how Primate Technologies, Inc. and Monitor Mapboard Systems helped Idaho Power brilliantly meet its needs.”

At Booth 9207 at the IEEE Conference and Exposition April 14-17 in Chicago, Monitor Mapboards will feature Scadaboard™, a real-time monitoring display wall technology that uses Primate Technologies, Inc.’s data visualization software and Christie DHD800 HD DLP® front projection to bring timely content to a Monitor mapboard, delivering enhanced situational and operational awareness. 

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