I returned fromTechSec 2012 in Delray Beach, FL about a week ago. The conference attracted a great audience, evenly balanced between end users, consultants and integrators. Martha Entwistle kick-started our TechSec session on “PSIM, PSIM-Lite and VMS – Solving Problems outside the Acronym Box.”
I presented the essential concepts, but my guest panelists brought those concepts to life with genuine vendor-neutral case studies. For example, Ed Merkle, Director of Port Security & Emergency Operations for the Virginia Port Authority, explained in lucid detail how the Port employs PSIM for situational awareness and situation management. To balance him, Adam Pittaway, Senior Engineer and Project Manager for PM Technologies, presented why VMS was exactly the right solution for Manheim Auto Auctions, and how even if PSIM was free it wouldn’t be of any interest to them.
We cleared the fog of confusion, exposed the hype, and talked about the motivation of some vendors to confuse the market with VMS products that masquerade as PSIM-Lite offerings. I thought the session was going to be controversial and trigger a heated and emotional debate and it sure did. The discussion points really resonated with some people, like Joseph Capretta of JCI who unsolicited, later wrote to me and told me just how “on the money” it was. He said the session did a “great job citing real world examples/relevance with technical/performance aspects of the platform as well as calling out the ‘BS’ that’s out there without pointing fingers.”
I suspect that some people just didn’t get it and many may never be able to think outside of the “acronym box.” There were also some visionaries who clearly ‘got it’ before they even stepped foot in the room. But there were even more in attendance who seemed to have that epiphany moment when they began to realize the true difference between VMS and PSIM, and all the added value that PSIM can bring. Many within this final group didn’t speak up at the end of the session – perhaps because they were overwhelmed or afraid of embarrassing themselves with what others might have perceived as obvious questions. But the good news is – a number of them approached me individually after the panel discussion, wanting to learn more. So it’s clear to me that while the ‘PSIM vs. PSIM-Lite vs. VMS debate’ will probably rage on, people are at least starting to ask the right questions and that’s the first step on the learning curve.