Update: The State of Integration

During the past couple decades, security technology and the industry as a whole have matured and developed. However, when it comes to information management and systems integration, the security industry remains largely underdeveloped.


Historically, most security hardware, software and technology manufacturers created closed, proprietary products to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace and to prevent competitors from infringing on their market share. This approach to the security market resulted in a fractured and fragmented security management system environment, where individual subsystems and field devices did not interact and critical security information was kept in separate silos.


Fragmented security management, monitoring, command and control environments and architectures have left security operation center personnel and management with many challenges. These challenges, which are largely due to a lack of systems integration, typically include:

  • Disparate security systems cannot be integrated for information sharing and automation of system responses to alarm and event activity.
  • Security system users must maintain operable knowledge of many different systems.
  • A lack of enterprise system functionality forces localized and regionalized system deployments.


As security systems and technology have become more software-driven, moving toward network-based communications, new opportunities for systems integration and information sharing have evolved. Along with this evolution, the old, entrenched distinctions between access control, video surveillance, alarms and reporting have blurred or disappeared and have been replaced with the desire for a more holistic approach to security systems management, where a unified user-interface platform can be established to combine all security system functions and data. The security industry has responded to this need with the development of two new integration solutions.


Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) is a software solution that integrates a large variety of security and other subsystems into a single, common operating platform, applies intelligent analysis of system information and automates system activities through rules-engine-based workflows. Through this solution, disparate security systems and devices can be connected to provide a common operating environment for shared data, enhanced event management and improved situational awareness.


Physical Access Identity Management (PAIM) is a software solution that enables an enterprise to provision and de-provision access to employees, contractors and visitors based on policies and compliance requirements from a common software user interface. A PAIM integration platform is capable of communicating and interoperating with a variety of installed electronic access control systems. Through a PAIM solution, a large enterprise with a multitude of installed access control systems can program and administer access rights and privileges through a single, common, user-accessible application.


As a software-based solution that requires the integration of other hardware and software systems, and the customization of policies, rules and user practices, the full deployment of a PSIM or PAIM integration solution requires a nontraditional, multi-disciplined consulting, engineering and installation approach. The varied skill sets, knowledge and experience required to deliver all of the elements of a PSIM or PAIM project have challenged security integrators to expand and update their typical project delivery methodologies and resources.


Technology integrators have recognized a need for highly specialized services, tailored toward delivering complex technology integration projects. Through focused programs, integrators are now providing highly specialized professional services to deliver security integration projects on a global level. This includes security management consulting, security systems engineering, network design and engineering, software development, database integration, and project management for complex security systems integration projects worldwide.

Mike Webster CPP is with the Global Security Center of Excellence, Johnson Controls Inc., based in Milwaukee, Wis.

“The varied skill sets, knowledge and experience required to deliver a PSIM or PAIM project have challenged security integrators to expand and update their project delivery methodologies and resources.”