PSIM principles may be used to produce better situational awareness, and thereby promote better security and business decisions. One new type of software addressing situational awareness is called situation management. This application of PSIM unifies video, alarm, and sensor data to improve situational awareness and add efficiency to incident response. Situation management vendors do a good job of creating useful information out of large volumes of video, by placing that video in the context of other events.
For example, many access control products or video management products perform the most basic form of situation management: Someone swipes their card and a camera captures them walking thru the door. Access control systems commonly have the ability to associate a video clip with an access control event.
Video management products link video with point of sales (POS) transactions, which is also a simple form of situation management.
Notwithstanding the usefulness of combining video with POS and access control, some vendors produce a sophisticated software solution designed to visually present multiple events grouped together. The “situation” is a view of all relevant information. The “situation” of a break-in is actually the combination of several recorded bits of data: the door-open alert from access control; the lock failure alert from a keycard system; the motion detection alert from hallway motion sensor; the video feeds from two or three nearby cameras. All of this information may be combined in one view of images and information.
Security directors have long desired a way to “know what’s going on.” That’s why surveillance cameras, alarm systems, intrusion detection, and security guards were put in place. The chief questions when running a security operation are: “What’s happening?” “How important is it?” And, “What should I do about it?”
Unfortunately, each of the systems commonly used in security management stand alone, and do not correlate their reported activities with other systems. Therefore, the security personnel watching the cameras may not have enough information to recognize that the person who seemed to swipe his card and walk through the door did not in fact have access. Similarly, the access control system recorded the door opening but did not associate it with the lock failure. The individual systems still think everything is fine.
Excerpt of Hunt Business Intelligence PSIM Market Overview 2010, reprinted with permission.