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It’s Electric: Videowall Technology Transforms the Tennessee Electric Power Board

It’s Electric: Videowall Technology Transforms the Tennessee Electric Power Board

EPB (Electric Power Board) is the municipal utility for Hamilton County, Tennessee. It takes power generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and provides it to 170,000 residential, commercial, government, and industrial customers, making EPB one of the largest publicly owned power distributors in the country. Its EPB Control Center in Chattanooga is the hub of a 100 percent fiber optic network, which delivers electricity and also feeds two large Planar videowalls that operators use to keep tabs on every aspect of the electrical grid and ensure that customers receive reliable, cost-effective power.

In collaboration with the systems integration firm, Whitlock, EPB selected the 55-inch Clarity Matrix with G2 Architecture (MX55HDU) for the control center. The primary videowall is a ten-wide-by-four-high (10x4) array of displays which depict all required operational information. A four-wide-by-three-high (4x3) videowall, installed perpendicularly to the primary videowall, depicts any additional information that operators or managers need to monitor and manage the network.

“Our fiber optic network lets us gather much more information than was possible in the past. With the Clarity Matrix videowalls we can see and present all of it and more such that we are more knowledgeable of how the network is performing and can do the best job possible managing it,” says Jason Read, senior engineer for EPB.“ The functionality of Clarity Matrix is not likely to be found on any other such videowall on the market today.”


A critical element of Clarity Matrix with G2 Architecture is its use of the Clarity VCS, a flexible videowall processor. Clarity VCS offers a selection of capture cards to capture and display a wide range of visual sources. These include DVI, HDMI, component HD, analog RGB, Dual Link DVI and SDI (SD, HD, 3G) inputs, as well as standard definition video in composite and S-video formats. “Clarity VCS is especially good at displaying SCADA applications whose data comprises every operational aspect of EPB’s network,” says Alan Jackson, control rooms subject matter expert at Whitlock. “It allows the smallest data point—and there are more than 2,000 of them in this network—to be displayed on a portion or all of a single Clarity Matrix display, or scaled up to fill the entire 40-unit videowall in 1080p resolution. This gives a single operator or the entire control team quick, clear, instantaneous visibility to any point in the network where there could be a problem. As a result potential outages, or issues with voltage or current consumption can be avoided and efficiency parameters can be maintained at optimal levels for any and all customers.”

EPB’s Read adds that Clarity VCS greatly improves operator productivity. “Because we can scale any piece of information up to the full wall, operators don’t have to spend time searching for or drilling down to understand the location or reason for a problem or potential problem. In seconds or minutes, they can see an issue before it causes a failure or outage and take action to mitigate it much more quickly.”