I also recall control centers filled with a multitude of disparate burglar alarm panels, fire alarm panels, two or three different access control systems, and multiple types of video systems. Many installations such as this exist today – some better, some worse. The method for PSIM here rests in our control center operators/monitors. The need for increasing situational awareness and subsequently reducing operator confusion and information overload has always been with us.
If you’re already managing multiple systems and if you believe that you are a long way from PSIM, don’t despair. Work with your integrator; continue to add those extra conduits and cables with each installation and continue to replace legacy components when you can. Solicit feedback from your control center front line staff. Make it clear to all that PSIM is your long term goal, but there may be many steps to take prior to usage.
Looking for PSIM Readiness
A state-of-the-art PSIM system designed for your organization is the goal and modern integrated electronic access control systems have an important role. Keep this long term goal in mind when selecting future components. Perhaps start a folder, paper or virtual, on PSIM goals. Keep your integrator involved in the process. Ask your integrator how they are positioned to assist you in reaching your goals of improving and drilling down situational awareness – will they need to bring in a partner?
A Few Considerations
Does your organization have a continuity of operations plan? How about an all hazards plan? Do you practice incident command such as standards in a national incident management system? If those plans fall under your purview, take those plans and stuff them into your PSIM folder. If they fall outside of your purview, get those plan owners involved with your PSIM goals. Your access control and ID system that is already a hybrid physical and electronic security staple in securing, detecting, and reporting may become the management system that also encompasses mitigation, recovery and continuity of operations of your entire organization.
Read all of the features and columns in this issue about PSIM. If you don’t think your infrastructure is ready for it just yet, come back to this column. I believe you will find abilities in your current system that you can build on to increase situational awareness. You can take steps to improve situational awareness and increased response times, perhaps by just re-arranging the location of the information sources. But, don’t settle for that.