The magic of PSIM

Gathering managed and integrated data adds intelligence to response

-Clifford V. Dice, CEO, DICE Corp. Bay City, Michigan

DIEBOLD Intuitive Software: Managing information is a challenge at the central station. The most important factors for effectively managing incoming information include the following: ensuring a robust and redundant communication pathway that can handle multiple data formats; the ability to "serve up" critical information in a manner that allows for action to be taken quickly, either by operators or systems; logging and recording data enabling the ability to search for and recreate any event; and the ability to apply metrics to subtasks and critical actions. Because technology changes constantly, these factors require integration skills and flexible systems that can change to meet new demands, along with developer tool kits that enable expansion into new service offerings. Meeting the Need: Software developers are focused on making integration of disparate systems easier. Moving forward, software needs to be designed for cost-effective deployment and with the next-generation central station in mind. Most software is being designed to meet the needs of an untrained or minimally trained operator-requiring GUI interfaces. In the past, this was a requirement for the alarm handling business. However, as information can be made available to the operator from many different sources-a different kind of interface is required. Data Management: Fire is a life safety issue. Each incident needs to be acted upon quickly, immediately auditable and be able to be recreated. Systems that generate and record fire data should streamline this data so that it is available faster. Intrusion data is typically needed at a later date as investigators look for patterns and connections from other physical activities. New and Into the Future: What is new is the ability to integrate disparate systems. Today, however, most PSIM systems are one-way. In the future, it will be critical to ensure that PSIM systems enable two-way interaction, streamlining information management and essentially optimizing operations.

-Jacqueline Grimm, director, Security Solutions and Strategic Channel Management, Diebold, North Canton, Ohio

HONEYWELL Intuitive Software: We are seeing central stations looking at new ways to offer their services as the software becomes more intuitive. The central station is being asked to do a lot more than they have before. In the past alarms would come in, get managed and then be acted upon. More services are being offered by the central station than a few years ago: two-way audio, IP video, remote monitoring, managed access control, mobile services-all finding their way into the mind share of the end user. Meeting the Need: The software is demanding more of these resources to be available, to be delivered to various devices. Pushing the need is the desire of customers to have instant access to information. If a central station is not offering services, the end-user is going to go elsewhere. The software is getting there to manage all these services. There are thousands of companies looking to have their products integrated into the automation platform. Automation companies have to choose who they are going to partner with. Data Management: Dealers are using every product under the sun, whatever the customer demands. Others have standardized on a few core applications, which is smart. New and Into the Future: The central station is using specialty products for managed control that is not tied to normal operations and this is a growing trend. The central station is also finding itself in a position of justifying all these service offerings. Going forward there will be a lot more integration into the automation platform.

-John Smith, senior marketing manager, Honeywell, Morristown, N.J.

INTERGRAPH Intuitive Software: Intergraph's application blends PSIM principles with incident management to enable our users to manage the detect-assess-respond workflow. We worked closely with one of our customers to support the development of a CS to Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) interface for alarms. This interface is an ANSI standard and provides a means to send a standard data packet of information electronically from a CS to a PSAP to convey relevant and timely information about alarms. Meeting the Need: The software has been driven primarily by users like transit agencies, airports, seaports and, to some extent, commercial and industrial organizations. The design goal is to seamlessly integrate alarms, sensors and video in a cohesive and coherent user environment; operators will have a better situational awareness of what is happening in the area of responsibility. Data Management: Essentially all fire alarms are responded to while intrusion alarms have high false positive rates. Therefore, part of what PSIM applications are working to provide is an integrated assessment capability, using queued video. The goal is to provide a video feed, potentially with pre-alarm video, associated with the intrusion alarm such that the operator can determine whether a breach has occurred or not. New and Into the Future: There is an increasing drive towards getting standards in place to better enable integration of the various component systems supplied by the physical security and video vendors. Currently the challenge is integrating legacy and proprietary hardware into a meaningful and useful system. As the industry evolves to IP-based systems with standards-based XML data protocols against industry accepted operational concepts, the PSIM tools will become increasingly important for security organizations to handle higher volumes of disparate and complex data in a manner that can be presented more clearly for better and quicker decision making.

-Bob Scott, executive director, Security Solutions Strategy, Intergraph, Madison, Ala.