4 Bold Predictions for PSIM

It's all the talk, but the focus is shifting

I’ve seen airports and mass transit operators taking it to the next level—starting with security, but then broadening the scope to safety and even operations. If you think about all of the things that PSIM can do—connecting the dots between different systems, creating the common picture, providing a consistent way to manage incidents and documenting their resolution—then you can begin to envision other applications. For example, an airport can use PSIM to coordinate all of the complex processes and resources involved in managing an emergency landing, other operational scenarios involving gate closures or maintenance issues.

Crowding and long lines can create bottlenecks and frustration in airports, train stations or anywhere for that matter. By integrating PSIM with video and analytics, you can identify overcrowding hotspots and alert operators to take actions to send additional staff, open more lines and so on. Russian rail operator Aeroexpress uses PSIM in this fashion. They also use it to track and report on the number, severity and types of incidents at each location and watch how those stats are trending. Tracking these “pain-points” helps them identify root causes of problems and continuously improve their operations.

And speaking of operations, PSIM can create operational savings too. Organizations are discovering that PSIM isn’t just about protecting people, assets and infrastructure—it can substantially reduce operational costs. For example, Millennium bcp, Portugal’s largest bank, was able to reduce false alarms by 75 percent and cut its monitoring and response costs by 30 percent.

These are just a few examples. I predict we will see many more examples of operational uses and ROI for PSIM in 2013 and beyond.


3. PSIM that’s affordable and accessible to all—it’s not a pipedream

Traditionally PSIM has been perceived as the province of massive complex Tier-1 airports, large seaports, major metropolitan transit operators and sprawling campuses and banks that have hundreds or thousands of office locations. I, however, personally know of a medium-sized airport and a shopping mall that handle over 100,000 incidents per year that necessitate some type of response. Like their larger counterparts, they need to know what’s going on around them; they have a desire to handle these incidents more efficiently and effectively; they want to learn from what they do so they can improve their handling of incidents the next time. As long as these organizations operate a command a control center, then at the right price, they are candidates for PSIM.

“PSIM-lite” offerings are beginning to appear in the marketplace that are tailored to smaller less-complex environments and are cost effective and easier to implement. For these organizations, PSIM-lite solutions offer a fast-track to unified security management, by providing a consolidated user interface, automatic adaptive workflows and smart sensor correlation/analytics for core security and safety systems, such as CCTV (multi-vendor VMS), access control, intrusion detection and fire detection. These PSIM-lite offerings will either be simplified and productized PSIM solutions, or they will be video or access control systems that have been enhanced with the ability to see other video and access control systems as well as improved situation management capabilities.

Further addressing the issue of affordability, I am starting to see customers innovate by effectively becoming a kind of co-operative. The primary customer hosts the PSIM system and then offers it to the secondary customers who get to share selective key resources with each other and run their SOPs on that server. Because smaller users do not need to host their own system, the barrier to entry is low, while the benefits are high. Safe city initiatives, mass transit systems and consulting organizations that lead consortiums are prime examples of those taking this innovative approach.


4. PSIM providers who focus on education will lead the pack

The one thing that consistently comes up time and time again is the need for more PSIM education. Frost & Sullivan first identified a PSIM education gap in a June 2012 market report on the global PSIM market. Coincidently, the report came out just a few weeks after my first PSIM workshop. IMS reiterated the need to improve awareness and dispel confusion about PSIM in its market report, released shortly thereafter.

While there’s no direct connection between either of these reports and the NICE workshops, the conclusions in the two studies probably explain why the workshops are in such high demand. They foster much needed PSIM awareness and education.