PSIM may be a relatively new term, but this approach to security awareness has been under development for many years. As with any emerging technology, it has been assisted by network and internet connectivity developments, open software platforms and driven by the demand for better “Situational Awareness”. (Lock that term in your brain.)
Physical Security Information Management, PSIM, is the name given to systems that provide a centralized solution for accessing and managing information from multiple security systems and resources. While the expectation is that Access Control, CCTV, and other physical security systems are included, ultimately this concept goes way beyond the realms of conventional Integrated Security Systems. Integrated systems are simply a means of providing a single User Interface to monitor and control all systems. They typically provide representation of devices on floor plans of the facilities being controlled for more effective interaction. Most readers are likely very familiar with this approach.
PSIM is to the Integrated Security System, what today’s Smart Phone is to the first cell phone. PSIM is only limited by the imagination, and of course money. Remember the term “Situational Awareness”? Think of all the information that could be relevant to a given incident and make that information available to the response personnel. This approach is really the closest thing we have seen in real life, to the television world capabilities of “CSI”.
Of course, the size and scope of the organization being secured affects the level of relevant information to the PSIM. On an enterprise or global scale, where this is most applicable, everything from the local news to current stock trading could be relevant to an incident. In addition, having the ability to share information with law enforcement agencies can also provide enhanced situational management. Having all available, relevant information to an incident, can be the difference of making good or bad response choices.
There are many more aspects of information acquisition, evaluation, storage, retrieval and control, but the intent of this article is only to provide a basic introduction to the PSIM concept. The capabilities of PSIM products that are being developed will be driven by the demand of the market, and input from end users and law enforcement. Determining what relevant information is and how to use it, will be a constantly evolving process.
It will be exciting to see the development of PSIM in the coming years, and to see amazing capabilities come to reality.
Douglas Button, CPP
Advanced Security Consulting