Saudi Aramco opens Barco’s biggest utility control room

Barco, a Belgian company, has offices in 70 countries. The Middle East makes up around 5% of group revenues, and around 7-8% of control room revenues.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  September 29, 2005

Barco’s appearance at Gitex coincides with the announcement of a major deal with Saudi Aramco’s Oil Supply Planning and Scheduling Department. The visualisation company manufactures LED screens, projectors and control rooms, and is providing the Saudi utility giant with a 200 metre square control room, the largest display wall ever used in the hydrocarbon and power industry. “This will be our reference control room project,” says Paolo Bravin, Barco’s international sales manager. “It is certainly our biggest in the utility market, and one of the biggest in the world for Barco.” The wall, installed in the operations coordination centre, was opened on September 12 by Aramco’s president and CEO Abdallah S Jum’ah. It will serve as a nerve centre for all Saudi Aramco operations, displaying all activities in real-time. “It is a 24 hour, 7x7 operation centre,” says Bravin. Consisting of 150 separate screens, the display wall uses the latest Digital Light Processing technology, which prevents the burn-in effect caused by displaying static data for a long time. Barco, a Belgian company, has offices in 70 countries. “The Middle East makes up around 5% of group revenues, and around 7-8% of control room revenues” says Bravin. “But we see an upward trend, there are lots of people who want to invest.” He points to the increased requirements for security, with the rising need for systems in car parks, luggage handling areas and other such places. “We have attended around eight or nine Gitex shows in the past, more than five definitely,” says Bravin. and believes that the event is one of the tools for doing business in the region. “It is a meeting point for the Middle East,” he says, adding that Barco has partners in all regional countries. New products on display include a new HD projector, the iCon H600, which features an internal PC. While this is not a brand new model for Barco, it is making its first Middle Eastern appearance at Gitex. “We’re looking to increase our presence in North Africa and India,” Bravin reveals. Other regional clients of Barco include Dubai TV, the Dubai racetrack, Saudi Telecom, Al-Jazeera and MBC. The company has a team of three people operating out if its Dubai representative office. “But there is lots of travelling from around the world to the region on a monthly basis.”

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