Parsing PSIM’s Advantages and Complexities

Physical security information management (PSIM) promises many client benefits – with proper planning.

The subject of physical security information management systems (PSIMs) has been a challenging one for integrators. The purpose of a PSIM is rooted in bringing in data from multiple standalone systems, including video, access control, intrusion and life safety to be analyzed, organized and presented to an operator with the context and format appropriate for a consistent response. Known as “situational awareness,” this allows the operator to use the PSIM information to make decisions regarding an optimal critical events response. The PSIM can guide the operator through a defined response plan or standard operating procedure (SOP), and track all actions through to a resolution.

Security integrators can outline for existing and prospective customers many benefits of incorporating PSIM. For instance, having a single, user-friendly GUI can drastically decrease the amount of training needed for operators, when compared to the time to adequately train individuals on each subsystem. The enhanced GUI and functionality may also breathe new life into legacy systems, extending their usefulness and reducing costs, compared to a rip-and-replace. Embedding SOPs within the PSIM help to decrease operator response times and ensure that the correct processes are being followed for a given situation. Finally, the audit trail created from the consolidated events and operator responses can aid with compliance and potential future investigations.

RELATED: PSIM Market Tops $160M; Strong Growth Predicted Despite Competition

Explore Options & Set Proper Expectations

The first consideration when contemplating PSIM is whether a traditional, full-fledged system is required or if your customer could be better served through other means. The once traditional access control and video management system (VMS) providers are advancing closer to offering a PSIM-like solution. While access control and video have been a common combination, today’s providers for both applications are adding more integration partners in various areas, including intrusion, notification, building management and others. These systems can consolidate events and provide a single GUI for the operator, but may lack in complex data analysis and interactive response plans.

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About the Author


Bob Stockwell pens Security Sales & Integration’s “IT Intelligence” column, which covers network security. He is Chief Technology Officer for Stanley Security.

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