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The Sum of All Security

The whole being greater than the sum of the parts is the concept behind video management systems (VMS) and physical security information management (PSIM) solutions. These platforms can make better sense of disparate information in the drive to create situational awareness. But which should be deployed when? Find out.




While the application and installation of a VMS or PSIM solution can be complex, determining which one an organization needs is relatively simple. It comes down to size, scope and usage of data that will make up that decision for the integrator and, ultimately, the end user.The Ins and Outs of a VMS

For installers, there are several scenarios where VMSs make the most sense. As mentioned, the VMS user wants to manage their systems, which can include video, access, intrusion and other security functions such as specific video analytics packages. If the end user has two or three different manufacturers’ solutions, or will be installing the system in a new facility and be buying all new equipment, a VMS will most likely meet the end user’s needs.

End users that have a heavy physical security or surveillance focus, such as retail locations or casinos, are model candidates for a VMS solution. Additionally, users that need a clean, intuitive solution to routinely view video after an event or for forensic purposes also would benefit from a VMS.

With the evolution of unified VMS solutions, VMSs are seeing advancement in capabilities and an increase in applicability. One of those advancements is in the element of data visualization. Particularly in the physical security space, end users in enterprises across the board are finding value in aggregating a number of events from different systems and displaying them graphically.

For instance, a retail company can find value using its security equipment to track customers in its store for operational or marketing purposes. A step beyond this is that the unified solution can depict any number of events across the systems visually. The system pairs separate events such as tailgating (two people walking through an area together or swiping an access card once for two people) at particular times of day with other events (e.g. a propped open door or a door held open for more than a few seconds) and it will juxtapose them graphically over a longer period of time.

Such a visual depiction can start to show patterns that the end user might not have been able to see otherwise. The ability to aggregate data, video and time allows VMS users to view their enterprises much differently than they had before.

The overall focus of the VMS is what makes it so different from a PSIM. A VMS makes the most sense for organizations of any size that have high requirements for a security-critical infrastructure. These end users have specific dedicated departments or functions focused on the management of their physical security, so it’s less likely to be aggregated into the rest of the enterprise. It’s this distinct priority that is somewhat isolated in its function that best defines the difference between traditional VMS and PSIM installations.

There are certainly cases in which a PSIM might be used just for security purposes:

  • The end user has many disparate security systems that can’t easily be integrated with a VMS, such as several access control systems, each from a different manufacturer
  • The end user requires a higher level of customization or interoperability with third-party applications than a typical VMS could address
  • There are more complex processes and workflows that need to be followed and automated from multiple systems
  • Operations are incident- vs. video-driven

An example of one of these scenarios would be a central monitoring company that requires a PSIM because of the number of accounts in its region that use different security systems. A PSIM is particularly valuable because, as the company acquires accounts and changes its customer base over time, a solution that can broadly integrate everything together is imperative to continue offering customers monthly monitoring service.

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Article Topics
Video Surveillance · Systems Integration · Features · PSIM · Steve Carney · Tyco Security Products · VMS · All Topics
Features, PSIM, Steve Carney, Tyco Security Products, VMS


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