You may hear the term “slatwall” being used to describe part of your furniture, but what exactly is slatwall? What does it do for your dispatch furniture?
The slatwall panel was originally designed to serve as shelving in a retail store so that retail workers could hook merchandise onto the wall. Slatwall panels are made up of rows of dovetail-shaped slots, and they are designed so that items can be hooked into the slots and hung from the slatwall. The most common use of slatwall in the 911 Public Safety industry is to hang monitors. A panel is usually mounted at the back of the monitor surface, and it moves up and down with the height adjustment of that surface.
Slatwall has also been adapted to be used on dispatch consoles due to Xybix creating and patenting RollerVision, which is a monitor mount with focal depth adjustment.
What Are the Benefits of Using Slatwall?
Slatwall provides many benefits. One of the main perks is that it provides a large space to hang various things, such as monitor arms, pen holders, Kleenex trays, and file folder holders. Often, a slatwall panel is about 12 to 18 inches tall. This provides quite a bit of space to mount all kinds of parts off of the wall, helping keep Comm Centers organized.
Slatwall holds monitor arms, and the arms hold the monitors. The dispatcher will reach out and grab each monitor to move them back and forth in order to set them at the best focal distance. Each monitor is adjusted one at a time. This allows the dispatcher to move a specific monitor closer than the others, but this is not recommended by the ANSI – HFES 100-2007 ergonomic standards. These standards state it’s best for all monitors to be at a similar distance from the operator’s eyes.
What are the Downsides To Using Slatwall?
Slatwall is not without its problems. A monitor arm is about 20 inches long, which requires a lot of leverage from the slatwall panel. As Archimedes said, "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” Even with a small monitor, a slatwall panel needs to be hooked onto a wall of thick steel. If it’s not, it will bend or the slatwall will pull away from the base. Early models bent out from the top and peeled down like a sardine can. Keep an eye on this, and stay aware of any issues.
Using slatwalls can also blocks the dispatcher’s siteline of neighboring stations and other dispatchers. The panel is 18 inches of height and is made of solid material. There is no way the dispatcher can see what is going on in front of them in the room. This can give some claustrophobic dispatchers a sense of being closed in.
If you have any sort of clean freak in the comm center, slatwall will drive them crazy. A slatwall panel is comprised of rows of crevasses that will trap dust and keep it there. On top of that, it is located at the back of the station and is hard to access if someone attempts to clean it.
Do Your Research!
As always, do your research when shopping for new dispatch consoles, and make sure you take the time to ask questions. Using a slatwall is right for some comm centers, but may not be the best fit for everyone. If your sales person promises the world, look into it and ask around rather than simply taking their word for it.