The fourth and most integral pillar to achieving PSIM can also be the most challenging. Acquiring APIs and SDKs required for system integration to facilitate PSIM adds to the installation complexity and cost. Since the end user is the licensee, ask them to get involved in establishing partnerships with the third-party entities behind the systems you are converging. Some PSIM and VMS/AC applications already have developed specific integrations so determine if these match up with your system requirements. Considering the vast number of third-party systems and varied versions of those systems, it is easy to get caught up in the red tape of integration development. Expect to invest time and money to achieve your goal.
With the four pillars in mind, get started by isolating a singular piece of the puzzle to focus on. Keep it simple and identify one core problem to solve to avoid eroding the will of those involved. Because system integration will be at the heart of the solution you want to implement, it will help to identify an open-minded department head within the business who can liaison with one or two cooperative third-party system providers. Make sure you've chosen a problem you understand and preferably make it one that will deliver a measurable return on investment if solved. Find the least disruptive and costly technology to solve the problem and don't forget you can always do it manually first to test the waters. This creates a basis for the ROI and will streamline the process once you automate.
Look at the system in place and determine what situational management and data analysis capabilities are available before committing to new systems. Perhaps some of what you're looking to do may be accomplished with the current system or a more modest upgrade prior to launching a large-scale PSIM implementation. There are some VMS and access control systems on the market offering advanced situational management tools and often these can integrate to your existing platform.
Whatever type of solution you choose on the path to implementing PSIM, following some or all of these guidelines can greatly reduce the potential for unmet expectations on behalf of your customers. Remember, a little planning at the beginning goes a long way to manifesting a successful ending.
John Katnic is the vice president and chief operating officer for Synectics Systems Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Quadnetics Group Plc. The company is an engineering, integration and manufacturing firm with expertise in IT and networked systems, CCTV control systems, enterprise storage and video management and integration software applications.