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The 911 Dispatch Console Purchasing Guide 2024

Updated: Apr 23

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911 Dispatch Console - Sustema

Who Is This 911 Dispatch Guide For?

This guide is intended to help you plan the acquisition of 911 dispatch consoles for emergency communication centers and PSAPs. We offer customized dispatch console furniture that helps our clients meet their needs and requirements when they are building a new center, or undertaking a renovation of their PSAP. But before we jump right into the subject, let's go over the basics first.

What is a 911 Dispatch Console?

911 dispatch consoles are the "desks" and workstations found in mission-critical work environments dedicated to public safety. These consoles are used inside emergency communication centers where telecommunicators perform their tasks of call-taking and dispatching. But, control consoles are also used in monitoring operational activities for a variety of applications outside 911 telecommunications, including security, process control, energy, utilities, transportation, and military applications.

911 dispatch consoles also differ from standard office furniture due to their need to withstand 24/7 use and integrate customized IT equipment. They also differ in technology integrations such as electrically height-adjustable surfaces, cable management solutions, occupancy sensors, CPU enclosures, power and data outlets, ergonomic design, and 24/7 use certification (among other features).

These consoles are designed to provide users with ergonomic comfort while reducing environmental distractions to allow operators to focus on the task at hand. Since 911 dispatch consoles are specialized furniture, when buying new ones it is important to consider many factors that will impact the design choices and other decisions to be made down the line. We will go step by step in this guide.

The 911 Dispatch Console Buying Process

1) Need Recognition

The acquisition of dispatch consoles often involves multiple stakeholders coordinating the project. Here is a short summary of what you can expect during the console buying process. The existing console furniture does not meet the current or future needs of the control center in terms of technology and/or ergonomics - if you are planning a budget for your PSAP, this is where you would normally start. This may be due to several factors including:

  • Moving out to a new location

  • Consoles are outdated in terms of ergonomics or functionality

  • Consoles do not meet your new IT requirements Poor cable management

  • Void or soon-to-be expired warranty on consoles Consolidation between different agencies

  • Low retention rate for skilled staff

2) Initial Contact

At this stage, you have identified the need for new consoles and started researching potential console providers. Contacting console manufacturers is the first step to help you better assess the different options available in terms of product design, service, and pricing.

3) Needs Analysis

Some of the topics discussed with dispatch console manufacturers in this stage include the project scope, console features, and budget. Most manufacturers have a comprehensive list of questions to help them better understand the scope of the project. Questions might include the number of workstations required, room dimensions, and the number of monitors and users. At Sustema, we take the time to understand your needs so we can offer the best possible solution for your control center. We can have virtual meetings with your team members and guide you through a virtual showroom to showcase the different console models and features.

4) Dispatch Console Design Process

Step 1: Floor Plan & Technical Features

After we get a clear understanding of your needs, your Sustema representative will prepare and send the design criteria to our design department. Our team of industrial designers will recreate your floor layout and renderings of the new consoles based on your requirements. Once the preliminary designs are completed, you and your team can review the proposed layout and get back to us with any questions or drawing modification requests. Sustema is proud to be recognized for the degree of customization we offer our customers.

Step 2: Design & Color Choice

When the technical design stage is completed, Sustema offers a wide variety of colors and styles to choose from to match the interior design of your facility. Multiple options are available for the work surface finish, edge styles, CPU enclosures, accessory colors, and more.

5) Purchase Order (P.O.)

Once the final drawings are signed and approved, Sustema will start the manufacturing process. The timeframe of this stage often varies as different departments in your organization may be required to approve the purchase order (P.O.).

6) Manufacturing

Once the P.O. is received, it will take approximately 8-10 weeks to manufacture the consoles. Consoles are then pre-assembled and tested at our facility for quality assurance. Throughout the process, the Sustema representative will stay in contact with your team to provide updates and answer any questions that you may have.

7) Installation

At this stage, Sustema’s representative and project coordinators will help you plan the installation at your facility. Sustema will take care of all the logistics with other contractors to ensure a smooth and easy installation. Our team of certified installers has security clearances to some of the most secure facilities and can also take additional site-specific training to meet your safety protocols.

8) Warranty

Sustema stays committed to providing the most advanced and ergonomic console solutions. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, we are now one of the leading console manufacturers in North America. Sustema offers a limited lifetime warranty on its control room and dispatch consoles.

How Long Does it Take to Receive the New Consoles?

While no two projects are the same and timelines may vary, having a specific date in mind to have the project completed can make it easier to "reverse engineer" the whole process and determine when consoles need to be ordered. On average, it takes approximately 8-10 weeks to receive the consoles at your facility from the date that the designs and purchase order (P.O.) are approved.

Tip of the Day: By having a specific date to complete the project, it becomes easier to "reverse engineer" the whole process and know when consoles need to be ordered, installed, and operational.

Example: For example, if the center needs to be operational by January 1, 2025, the P.O. and final designs must be approved by the second week of October 2024 at the latest.

What are the different types of 9-11 dispatch consoles?

Types of Consoles

When it comes to 911 communication centers, no two facilities are the same. Room dimensions, IT/power requirements, the number of users, the number of LCD monitors, and even the type of application will almost always differ. These elements will all have an impact on the final design and features of the console.

For instance, one of the main differentiators when designing a 911 dispatch console is the number of worksurfaces. Some consoles will have two surfaces to allow for a separate monitor and keyboard surface, whereas others will only have one where all the accessories and monitors will be mounted on. Next, we will go over the key differences between the two options of worksurfaces available on consoles.

Single surface control console
Single surface control console

Single Surface 911 Dispatch Consoles

Single surface dispatch consoles are available in two formats: fixed work surface or height-adjustable work surface. The number of monitors, CPUs, and other IT equipment needed on the console will influence the type of surface that it will require. This is why it is important to understand how the console will be used by the operators. Other factors may include the amount of time spent by the operators at their workstations, the cable management system, and power requirements.

Requirements for a fixed height work surface control console

Consoles with a fixed worksurface require a sturdy leg system to support the IT equipment, CPU monitors, and work surface itself. Sustema uses a metal base structure for all of its consoles to ensure the stability of the workstation over time. The leg system is mounted to the console’s back wall which also serves as a cable management system. Inside the wall, you will find separate cable raceways through which the power/data cables, power bars, and telephone/radio lines will run.

The CPU enclosures are attached directly to the lower base of the wall and are easily accessible underneath the console for troubleshooting. The wall system not only serves as a support but can also be used to integrate power/data outlets. The wall system can also be used to mount accessories such as phones, laptops, and file holders, and monitor arms - creating a clutter free workspace.

Dual Surface 911 Dispatch Consoles

Dual surface dispatch consoles offer the greatest flexibility in terms of ergonomics, functionality, and technology. The electrically height-adjustable surfaces can be raised or lowered independently from each other, enabling users to set their preferred height for monitors and for their mouse and keyboard. In other words, the primary surface serves as the workspace for users, and the secondary surface serves as a support for the monitors. Since users can set their preferred height on each surface, dual surface consoles offer a more comfortable work experience in both the sitting and standing position.

Dual surface consoles like the Transit C-300 series also integrate a cable management system inside the CPU enclosures and underneath the console surfaces. The CPU enclosures are secured, ventilated, and can host all the IT equipment required for 24/7 work environments (such as KVMs, 19" rackmounts, and multiple power bars).

Types of Floor Layouts

9-1-1 Call Center Floor Layout & Configurations

A key element to consider when designing furniture for control centers is the way in which the layout can maximize the efficiency and workflow of operators. The console shape, design, and dimensions can all have an influence on the floor layout configuration. Other elements to consider include the number of users on each workstation, the foot traffic during work hours, the required power and data sources, and even the way in which people need to collaborate with each other in the workplace.

Custom Floor Layout Configurations

Tangible factors like electrical and ventilation have to be considered when planning your 911 call center layout. Equally important are intangible elements such as acoustics, lighting, interior design, and the overall atmosphere of the room.

Tip: Always keep in mind the main purpose of the emergence dispatch center

  • Is there anything working against team collaboration in the dispatch call center? For example, the position of the furniture and the design of the alleys.

  • Can a supervisor see all operators in the PSAP?

  • Can they walk to them in a realistic and direct path?

How Much Do 911 Dispatch Consoles & Workstations Cost?

Built exclusively for mission-critical work environments operated 24/7, 365 days a year, consoles require high-quality materials that can withstand intensive usage. Typically, depending on the level of customization, built quality, and service, dispatch consoles in the United States and North America can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000. Consoles also need to be designed to integrate different types of equipment such as computers, cables, and multiple monitors without affecting the workspace of the operators. For instance, height-adjustable consoles minimize stress on the body that comes from working 10+ hour shifts in a sitting position. Standard office furniture, on the other hand, is meant to be used for 7-8 hours a day by one user and handle minimal IT equipment.

When considering upgrading your dispatch furniture, it is important to have a long-term mindset. You will be investing in equipment that will last 10–15 years before your next furniture upgrade. It is also important to keep in mind the needs of the end-users, the IT staff who will be in charge of working with the furniture, and oftentimes others, such as architects if it is a new building project.

911 Dispatch Console Price Ranges

< $4,999: Standard Console

At this level, manufacturers mostly provide one-size-fits-all solutions with limited customization. Dispatch consoles are equipped with fixed or standard height-adjustable surfaces, equipment storage, cable management, and ergonomic monitor arms. However, some suppliers can work within client budgets to provide competitive prices while also offering higher customizability.

$5,000 — $14,999: Premium Console

In this price range, console manufacturers are highly specialized and can provide custom technical furniture to fit their customers’ needs. These services go beyond simply manufacturing dispatch consoles and provide a turnkey solution: integrating specific features, taking care of logistics, and installing the consoles at the facility. 9-1-1 dispatch consoles can be equipped with height-adjustable surfaces, computer and personal storage, and integrated cable management. Consoles also include modular capabilities to allow expansion of the IT systems over time.

  • Personal Environmental System: Provides operators with the ability to control air, heat, height, and lights at the touch of a button on a user-friendly screen display.

  • Alerting & Notification System: For larger centers where communication among crew members and managers is more difficult, the Alerting System enables operators to request assistance from managers directly on their console.

  • Programmable LED Status Light: Visual light displaying the call status of dispatchers.

  • Power outlets & USB ports

  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

$15,000 — $19,999+: Deluxe Console

Dispatch consoles in the upper tier include all of the features mentioned previously under the previous tiers but also offer the highest degree of customization This may require manufacturers to develop new products for clients, such as new software applications, to be integrated within the furniture. Smart technologies are driving this segment and changing the way in which 911 call centers operate.

  • Smart Technologies & IoT Antimicrobial worksurfaces

  • Acrylic cable management covers Personal Environmental

  • System Upgrades

  • LED Systems

  • Custom Features

About Sustema

Function, Design, Synergy, Ergonomy

Founded in 1996 as a systems integrator company, Sustema has over 20+ years of experience designing specialized furniture solutions 24/7 for mission-critical environments and operations. We specialize in manufacturing control rooms & dispatch consoles, video walls, technology meeting tables, and tech benches tailored to our customer needs. Contact us at for any inquiries.

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