Expanding PSIM beyond security operations

Oct. 3, 2014
Experts discuss how the technology has evolved and the potential it holds for the industry at ASIS 2014

While the ever-increasing connectedness of security devices and building management systems has provided end users with more information at their fingertips than they could have dreamed of just a few years ago, one of the problems that many public and private organizations run into is how to make sense of all of this data and turn it into actionable intelligence. The advent of physical security information management (PSIM) software has provided end users with a tool to take this flood of data and make it more meaningful.

However, for a long time, many people within the industry saw PSIM as simply an integration platform for their various systems. That is now slowly beginning to change as people now realizes the return-on-investment PSIM can deliver when it is leveraged to its full potential.

“What situation management did was add another layer of logic which now can help you. For example, if you have common (operating) procedures that you want followed, you can set (the PSIM software up) to send emails to specific people and do other various tasks in the event of an incident,” said Doron Girmonsky, director, head of technology and innovation, NICE Systems Security Group. “It’s not just about presenting what is happening… but trying to predict whether or not something is going to happen to your enterprise.”

Girmonsky believes that the security market is changing and that end users are now aware of what they can do with this wealth of information they’ve been collecting through their various sensors.

“Customers want more information. If you ask customers, they say, ‘I want more (information), I want to understand more,’” added Girmonsky. “Situation management is going into operations, it’s not just about security anymore.”

According to James Chong, founder, CTO and senior vice president of strategic innovation at VidSys, although the technology was initially seen as a way to integrate disparate systems when it first hit the market around 2006, PSIM can deliver far more functionality than what people initially thought.

“Where I would say PSIM is going and what I’ve been talking about for the last year and a half is PSIM is starting to look like PS+IM, that it is physical security plus information management. That plus information management is all of the non-security related benefits and use cases - building automation, fire and life safety, social media, data analytics – things that are not security-related but still part of the benefit of where PSIM is evolving to,” explained Chong. “Physical security is still an important element of PSIM, but it is not the main element.”

For example, Chong said that people have started to ask for “non-traditional” information to be incorporated into their systems, such as flight, satellite and weather data.

“We are seeing a lot of those data feeds being requested, even mobile and tracking technologies,” said Chong. “But again, in general, the concept of PSIM, the definition of PSIM is broadening but also still contributing to giving you data and converting that into information. That’s really the key; giving that information to the right people, at the right time and, if you can even use some predictive analysis, it’s starts really to become pretty powerful.”  

Courtney Mamuscia, global communications director for video and situation intelligence solutions at Verint, said she sees big data and technologies like PSIM helping organizations better streamline their operations.

“In the past, people have had all of these systems and they say, ‘I have to log into my access control panel, now I have to log in and see what’s going on in my VMS,’ so I think the trends around PSIM are really about consolidation and helping mine all of that data and providing the immediate intelligence to help you make decisions,” she said.

Mamuscia said that PSIM, in general, is still a concept-driven technology. For instance, she said that Verint is working with a municipality in South America that is not only using their PSIM platform to tie surveillance cameras together, but to also measure rainfall and even whether or not trash is being picked up on time.

“It has evolved in the respect that people are starting to understand that you can actually integrate so many different systems, but it takes that time to do that,” Mamuscia added. It’s not an off-the-shelf-type of thing… but I think peoples’ eyes are becoming wider as to what’s available out there.” 

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief, SecurityInfoWatch.com

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of SecurityInfoWatch.com, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.