PSIM: Navigating the Great Unknown

Here's the information you need to plot a course to success in this evolving product category

PSIM is situational awareness, Banerjee said. "It gives me the 360-degree-view on alarms from here and there. It doesn't help just having multiple things create multiple alarms. You have to know what to do in alarm and create your work flows. PSIM is not about the product, it's about the whole business and your experience."

John Katnic, vice president and chief operating officer for Synectics Systems Inc. noted that not all VMS systems are that limited and the differences between command and control, VMS and PSIM applications are often a matter of degree, preference and budget. Depending on the third-party integrations, command and control functionality and the situational management features you need, there may be VMS or even access control applications that deliver comparable PSIM features for less money and with far less complexity. Said Katnic, "As the security market becomes overcrowded with 'me-too,' commoditized products, manufacturers devise ways to distinguish themselves from competitors and drive up prices. It's often done by staking claim to new product categories that are supposedly unique to their offering."

In fact, security applications are converging rapidly so there is significant overlap between traditional categories like access control, video management, analytics, alarm processing and PSIM, he said. "While there are true standalone products in each category, most leading vendors are pulling from and pushing into other categories with software enhancements to broaden their offering. It's the battle for the desktop.

Whoever owns the user interface eventually owns the customer. So, leading access control companies now offer integrated video recording solutions. Leading VMS companies offer integrated alarm and situational management to their customers. The combination products rarely include every bell and whistle of the single category products, but they accomplish most of what a typical user needs without introducing a new application layer to buy, install, integrate, learn and maintain. You can purchase a separate flip phone, MP3 player, camera and computer for e-mail, or an iPhone will do."