Dairyland Power Cooperative elevates situational awareness

Wisconsin, United States - 2024

Since 1941, Dairyland Power Cooperative has been dedicated to supplying wholesale electricity to 24 distribution cooperatives and 27 municipal utilities in the heart of America's dairy region. Their expansive service area encompasses 700,000 customers across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.

This case study delves into the transformation of Dairyland Power Cooperative, highlighting their commitment to enhancing customer service through a comprehensive upgrade of their System Operation Center. At the core of this redesigned space lies a state-of-the-art video wall system that not only elevates situational awareness but also adheres to the critical infrastructure protection (CIP) space requirements outlined by NERC for a medium-impact control room.

Barco solutions:

  • 3x9 RGB Laser ODL rear-projection video wall
  • TransForm N / CMS networked visualization platform

Key benefits:

  • Enhanced situational awareness
  • Improved employee experience
  • Increased functionality


The map board, a beloved solution from the '90s, once gracing Dairyland's control center, had lost its support and dynamism, struggling to keep pace with the expanding power grid. The Dairyland team found themselves investing more time in troubleshooting and devising workarounds than they desired.

Furthermore, vital information was confined to individual workstations, leaving the team without the comprehensive situational awareness they yearned for. In response, Dairyland made the decision to empower their team with a comprehensive top-to-bottom overhaul of their control room, providing them with a wider array of options and capabilities.

During this process, they enlisted the expertise of RE Lamb, a renowned architectural consulting firm with a specialization in electric utility control centers. Recognizing the need for a system integrator with a strong track record, RE Lamb extended an invitation to AVI Systems to submit a proposal request, which AVI Systems successfully secured.

Eric Hammes, responsible for overseeing Dairyland's operations center, explained, "At this high level, there are limited experts in video walls. Thus, we realized the necessity of a systems integrator like AVI Systems to guide us through the available options and ensure the delivery of a high-quality product suitable for our operators. Undertaking a project of this magnitude independently would have been exceedingly challenging for our team."


Mike Scott, a senior account manager from AVI Systems, collaborated closely with the RE Lamb team to comprehend Dairyland's specific requirements and create a solution that aligned with their needs and financial constraints. Their recommendation was to replace Dairyland's existing tile map board with a cutting-edge Barco RGB Laser rear-projection video wall.

Scott further elucidated, "With extensive experience in control room installations, I can attest that the Barco rear-projection cube stands as the industry's gold standard for utility spaces. It boasts exceptional durability and delivers outstanding image quality, all at a significantly lower cost compared to equivalently sized LED or DVLED video walls. Additionally, Barco provides processors that enable us to work with a single vendor for the entire system—a feature our customers greatly value."

The completed video wall is composed of (27) 70-inch HD cubes arranged in a 9x3 configuration, spanning 8.5 feet in height and 45 feet in width, covering the room's front wall. To enhance acoustic conditions and the overall aesthetic, AMD acoustic panels were introduced along the lower section of the video wall.

The team meticulously devised the video wall processing solution using Barco's TransForm N and CMS platform. This solution adopts a distributed, network-based, and modular architectural approach. It incorporates mission-critical, security-hardened hardware for encoding and decoding sources, while the software platform empowers operators with the ability to seamlessly interact with sources and the visual canvas, facilitating improved viewing and quicker sharing through a unified keyboard and mouse interface.

Jon Wheeler, Barco's Utilities Sales Manager, emphasized the paramount importance of security and compliance in the room, which falls under NERC/CIP control. He stated, "The initial step involves a deep understanding of NERC/CIP regulations and the selection of products that align with these regulations. BARCO collaborated closely with Dairyland's IT, OT, and compliance teams to apply NERC/CIP guidance, alongside their internal guidelines, to classify Barco products."

As part of the project, Dairyland introduced new operator consoles featuring ergonomic sit-stand workstations and a support desk for team members to use during events. They also modernized their offices, training facilities, and study spaces, enhancing the environment with adaptable lighting options tailored to their specific needs.

Result and human impact

Through the transformation of its control room, Dairyland has transitioned from a static, outdated system to a dynamic, contemporary solution that enhances its ability to serve its customers. The key achievements encompass:

1. Enhanced Situational awareness: With the new setup, every individual within the control center gains access to a real-time, comprehensive overview of the entire Dairyland service area. This includes the availability of diverse data inputs previously restricted to a single person's screen.

Staci Pieper, a project engineer at Dairyland who oversaw the control center upgrade, remarked, "Being situated in the Midwest, we typically encounter major winter storms each year. The new video wall significantly enhances our effectiveness during such events, as it allows everyone to simultaneously observe the entire system. We now possess genuine situational awareness."

2.Improved employee experience: The introduction of features like adjustable lighting and adaptable content displays contributes to a more comfortable and productive work environment, prioritizing human ergonomics for the team.

3. Increased functionality: The team acknowledges that the new video wall surpasses the capabilities of their prior solution and continuously refines the experience to align with their specific requirements.

The new video wall significantly enhances our effectiveness during winter storms, as it allows everyone to simultaneously observe the entire system. We now possess genuine situational awareness.

Staci Pieper

Project Engineer at Dairyland Power Cooperative

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