Expert: Understanding of PSIM at an 'inflection point'

VidSys' James Chong discusses current state, future of PSIM technology


When Physical Security Information Management software first arrived in the security industry, there was a great deal of confusion about what exactly constituted a true PSIM solution. Many thought the technology was simply a robust integration platform to help tie together a number of disparate security and life safety systems. While PSIM is obviously up to this task, the true capability of the technology lies in its ability to provide organizations with actionable intelligence to help them mitigate risk.      

Despite the benefits that can be realized through the implementation of a PSIM solution, however, there are still a number of stumbling blocks that have prevented widespread adoption of the technology. SIW recently caught up with James Chong, founder, CTO and senior vice president of strategic innovation at VidSys, to get his thoughts on where the market for PSIM is today, where it is going and the hurdles that still need to be cleared.    

SIW: Do you believe the industry now has a greater knowledge and grasp about the capabilities of PSIM?

Chong: I think, for sure, the market has matured and started to get more adoption from not just the integrators, but also the end users and I’m finding that more and more people know or have heard about PSIM. I recently led a seminar for public safety officials and critical infrastructure stakeholders in Houston and I took a quick survey before starting the presentation and I would say about 75 percent of the audience were fairly familiar with PSIM, which was definitely not the case a couple of years ago. The definition and understanding is starting to gel together. It’s similar to how the SIM (security information management) started in the IT space back in 2004-2005. In the IT security space, there has always been SIM, as well as what they call “SEM” (security event management) solutions, which today people have combined into what’s called “SIEM” (security information and event management) solutions. The trending is very similar with PSIM in that we took the SIM part of IT security and added the letter “p” in front of it to create the category of PSIM.

SIW: In your opinion, what is the biggest thing holding back PSIM adoption?

Chong: I think in the not too distant past, it really was education and knowledge of PSIM in comparison to other, more popular and well-understood categories within physical security. I think that was one of the largest barriers for adoption and growth. I think right now we’re at that inflection point where people do understand that PSIM is not the same as video management systems with some integration and it’s not the same as access control systems with some video capabilities.  And it is also not the traditional custom development software C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance). As people have started to understand the differences and value proposition of PSIM, I think that’s changing the growth projection for this category. PSIM is more accurately represented as PS+IM, where it is physical security plus information management, rather than one single capability. We are now also witnessing the PSIM software not only being used for physical security, but also for information technology, network management and building management, fire and life safety systems, and other non-security  devices.   

SIW: What potential will PSIM unleash for end users as we continue to make this push in the security industry towards the use of big data?

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