Beyond PSIM - 'Physical Security Information Management'

 What is PSIM?

Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) is a type of software and or software driver that is used to integrate multiple unconnected security applications and devices and control them through one comprehensive user interface – Intruder, Fire, Access, CCTV, BMS etc. in fact any system that has registered API’s that third parties can write to.

Is there a worldwide or UK standard for all PSIM?

The short answer is No.


Third party software houses or hardware manufactures have developed their own software to incorporate physical devices and communicate with them this can be at very basic level i.e. responce to alarms and putting procedures in place for security staff to document their actions for this case. There are various ways to incorporate PCIM’s and interfacing them to front end such as a Video Management System VMS, Access Control System ACS or proprietary Middleware software which in some cases can be very expensive and potentially locks a end user in.

When integration to an existing system like a VMS and or ACS is required the question that should be asked is.

Is it one way or two-way integration? Can both systems see the data and alarms or only one way!

Some manufactures like to hold control and make everything come to their system and everyone is forced to use its user interface which in most cases is licenced some on a yearly basis.

If you look at most devices incorporated in PSIM besides having their own internal systems, they send out alarm/Alerts which in turn get picked up by third party software like the VMS / ACS or other proprietary Incident management software. This in turn gets highlighted on a master workstation or monitor walls in the control room sometimes with an action plan of what steps to follow.

Going any particular way has a tendency to lock you into a specific VMS /ACS or into a very expensive and bespoke front-end system making changes could be costly increasing costs to upgrades or charging specialist rates for each integration.

There must be an easier way!  When you are looking at an integrated system and want to monitor CCTV, Access Control, Fire, Intruder and BMS all of which have either their own systems, or some have common Application Programable Interfaces API which could be utilised, others just give an simple alarm.

A different approach is a product called Studio from Commend linking Intercom PA and incorporated into most if not all access control and CCTV systems. Commend are leaders in IP intercom and this approach for monitoring and control of other security devices is part of their standard product set.

If you think about it, it’s obvious getting an alarm or viewing an incident on CCTV is one thing being able to give verbal commands and or instructions site wide is a totally different and something which is a basic need should a crisis occur Commend do this well with their very scalable IP based system.