At 11pm several lights are switched on in an office on the 40th floor of a large tower block. Knowing that the building closed at 8pm, the intelligent building management system, which is being monitored at the front desk, alerts the on duty manager. Should he ignore it, send the on duty maintenance person to switch it off, dispatch a security guard to investigate further, or call the local police? The on duty manager, who is new to his job, isn’t quite sure how to handle the situation. Sending a caretaker along to turn off a light when a potential burglary is taking place could make a bad situation a whole lot worse. So he switches his attention to the video system console to search for the nearest video camera, a process which takes some time given the hundreds of CCTV cameras in the complex.
Of course this is just one example of a situation that could come up daily in managing a large office building. And while building management systems can detect and alert to different conditions, they don’t typically provide situational awareness beyond notifying of the problem in the first place; or provide case by case instructions of what to do next.
This is where layering a PSIM solution on top of a building management system makes perfect sense. Through the PSIM system, the operator not only receives an alert, he is automatically presented with live video feed from near-by surveillance cameras, and based on the situation, instructed on what to do next.
Fortunately for most organizations break-ins are rare but ‘lights left on’ is common. Being able to deal with this kind of everyday incident quickly and efficiently brings incremental benefits. Multiply those incidents over a year and across a large building or numbers of buildings, add in heating, air conditioning being left on and suddenly those incremental savings start to add up significantly.
By overlaying PSIM on top of an existing building management system, building managers can achieve:
- Better awareness – A BMS alert integrated with a PSIM can automatically pull up on screen the nearest video cameras to give a live feed of what is happening, helping the operator make the correct response.
- False alarm reduction – By cross-correlating information from different systems, PSIM helps operators focus only on real incidents and reduce unnecessary resource dispatch costs. Millennium Bank in Portugal cut their false alarms by around 75%, resulting in a 30% reduction in response costs.
- Faster response – Organizations can save time in incident handling and reporting, or even better stop incidents from escalating or prevent them from happening in the first place.
- Consistency and compliance – Organizations can manage incidents in accordance with best practices and regulations.
- Efficient resource utilization – Better situational awareness and automated response plans ensure that the right resources are dispatched, at the right time, every time – so incidents are resolved safely, quickly and effectively.
- Process and training improvement – PSIM records the step by step actions taken during an incident so organizations have a thorough audit trail and can review exactly how a situation was handled. Organizations can use this for investigations or to refine incident response plans for the future.
These are just some of the reasons why I think building management may just well be the next frontier for PSIM.