Tech Talk: PSIM Is Tying It All Together

As we start closing out 2009, one of the hot areas on the horizon is the planning, design and implementation of open systems. Of particular note is the understanding of management concepts such as physical systems information management (PSIM).

The following dramatic scenario provides a vivid example of what can be accomplished through collaborative efforts and the deployment of PSIM. Afterwards, we will take a closer look at some specific products and organizations at the forefront of this movement.

Promise of Interoperability

It is a hot afternoon in an urban neighborhood in Southern California. Kids are playing in the streets. No one notices a car driving by, that is until shots are fired. This normally quiet neighborhood has become a retaliation victim by the notorious MS-13 gang. But even before anyone in the neighborhood can call 9-1-1, a police dispatch center has already received automated notification of the gunfire. Shots were detected by ShotSpotter, which operates over a Cisco outdoor wireless mesh network.

A witness of the shooting calls 9-1-1 and sends a photograph of the suspects. The photo is transmitted to the Cisco Emergency Communications and Collaboration Center (EC3), which is built on a collaboration platform called Positron Public Safety by Viper. All of this data is integrated in a CAD system by Intergraph.

A detective at the scene reviews the photo using a device called the CN3 Mobile Computer from Intermec. A company called IP Blue and the VTGO softphone turns the CN3 into a wireless phone. The CN3 is also running an application from VidSys that allows the handheld device to remotely access all available video for the area in question. This allows the detective to identify additional crime scene witnesses.

One of the witnesses provides the name of the gang member who owns the car. Using the CN3 the detectives access a mug shot of the suspect and compare it to the cell phone photo sent by the other witness. Detectives then confirm the license number of the suspect’s car and feed it into a system called Car Detector, a license plate recognition system (LPRS) from Vigilant Video. This optical character recognition system is incorporated throughout the area to read suspicious license plates.

Meanwhile, a police officer patrols the areas equipped with an integrated service router called the Cisco 3200 ISR. This gives the officer wireless mobility and in-car video on the mesh system. The officer gets an alert from the LPRS and begins pursuing the shooting suspect in a high-speed chase. Despite being on different communication systems, several agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, join in thanks to the Cisco collaboration system. During the pursuit, in-car video from Insight VideoNet is sent over the collaboration system as well to other vehicles and command posts.

The chased car bangs into a parked car and three heavily armed gang members get out and barricade themselves in a house next to an elementary school. School officials activate a safety communications system to transmit emergency alerts via IP phones in the classroom. Video from the school’s exterior surveillance system is streamed into the wireless mesh collaboration system. School officials also send critical information to the cell phones of parents.

A command post is set up at the crime scene and establishes a wireless incident area network for voice/video/data. With nightfall imminent, mobile video of the crime scene perimeter is established with IR-capable cameras from SightLogix. A SWAT team conducts a stealth entry and the suspects are apprehended.

All of these systems where brought together by EdgeFrontier from a company called Augusta Systems. The system was planned and coordinated by BearingPoint management and technology consultants, and includes the National Institute of Management Systems (NIMS).

New Products Making It Possible
The preceding real-world scenario of PSIM was presented by Cisco Systems at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) 2008 conference. It gives a good example of how the collaboration of technology and communications can provide major increases in security and law enforcement productivity.

One of the things I have noticed more this past year is the mention of new products that are addressing the technology challenges of PSIM. This critical technological direction was noticeable with some new products at the recent ASIS 2009 conference in Anaheim, Calif.

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