It’s a mishmash of letters – PSIM – but what it stands for isn’t mishmash at all. PSIM, or Physical Security Information Management, is a category of software that provides a platform and applications created by middleware developers, designed to integrate multiple unconnected security applications and devices and control them through one comprehensive user interface.
A wide range of enterprises use PSIM today; they operate across both public and private organizations and vary in size. One point unites all of these organizations – they understand security is not an option and must deliver for them. Some of the key verticals include ports and airports, utilities, mining, banking and finance, pharmaceutical, border security and more.
According to PSIM provider CNL Software and The Ultimate Guide to PSIM, “The one thing the security industry agrees on is that there is and will be greater use of intelligence within the control room. This is being driven by costs and advances in technology. If security is to do more and have less people, it needs to get smart about how it uses technology.”
That was the situation with providing IBM with a method of ensuring consistent levels of security across its 26 locations in the UK. IBM needed to ensure better visibility of threats to all of their sites, assets and people. The solution was required to rationalize the number of control rooms, which would generate a rapid return on investment, provide improved efficiency and reduce on-going costs.
IBM wanted to proactively identify trends and irregularities across all the locations, allowing actions to be taken to reduce business risks. It had a number of unconnected systems from a variety of manufacturers over these sites totaling more than 700 security devices. IBM wanted to reduce redundancy in these security systems, maximizing the investment they had already made. Finally, the solution needed to be easy to use, ensuring that even during a major incident, operators were still able to easily navigate and utilize all of its features.
IBM is using IPSecurityCenter from CNL Software as a platform for their security solution. The solution helped IBM to create a centralized command and control center, which integrated its entire physical security infrastructure including access control, security video, intruder detection and fire alarm inputs across all locations. All of the information from the sub-system is collected in this centralized management system and presented on individual operator workstations and a strategically placed video wall. As increasing efficiency was part of the brief, routine tasks were automatically scheduled whether hourly, daily, weekly or monthly, which also eliminated human error. Additionally the system enabled the transfer of all paper-based policies into automated operator guidance, which improved efficiency and ensured consistent responses to incidents and events.
The workflows within the system have helped the IBM security staff to provide faster and more effective responses to incident and events, which has resulted in a reduced level of interruptions to business. The trend analysis has helped the security team identify frequently occurring incidents, allowing management to add resources to reduce these.
PSIM has helped the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to not only integrate legacy security systems, have a centralized command and control strategy for its security operations, but also to save money by leveraging price points from different security vendors.
Three years ago the MBTA transitioned from approximately 700 analog cameras to upwards of 10,000 cameras using VidSys to control and manage video, access control and monitoring, along with emergency phone and intercom systems. “We have we have spent tens of millions of dollars on security improvements and upgrades, including installing thousands of new security cameras,” says Randy Clarke, Senior Director of Security and Emergency Management for MassDOT/MBTA. “So this PSIM gives us one platform for all users with one interface for real time and recorded video. The system also helps us with training: we can train once.”
Because the PSIM that Clarke uses includes security technology from several vendors, Clarke says he can use the system to leverage price points. “Realistically now we have several vendors competing on different projects, so we get the best possible price. That’s been valuable as we’ve saved millions on competing
In particular, the PSIM system helped Clarke and his team with video surveillance during this year’s Boston Marathon. Following the 2013 Boston Marathon attack, enhanced inter-agency video coverage and integration became a top priority for the 2014 event. MassDOT/MBTA and key local/state partners embarked on a challenging project to deploy and integrate cameras using a single video platform and identify and map relevant camera coverage along the marathon route. Stakeholders worked with MassDOT/MBTA to integrate cameras from many vendors/networks. MBTA’s VidSys platform was used as a video user interface and was accessible from 10+ command and control centers. Cameras and fields of views were mapped and labelled in Google Earth. A comprehensive video surveillance map was developed and distributed to key agencies and command centers.
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Check out the PSIM manufacturers included in this article: