Cities, ports, transit systems, airports, and other infrastructure have some of the most complex security challenges today. From maintaining critical commercial services for the private sector to the government requirements that shape their operations, these entities must carefully balance safety with efficiency. Especially as the volume of information from both the physical and digital worlds continues to expand, decision-makers continue to look for new ways to digest that information and respond to incidents.
Increasingly, they’re looking at physical security information management (PSIM) solutions to better detect security incidents as well as enforce policies and formal processes for incident response.
“Government entities, although continuing to struggle with budget constraints, are starting to see the value and power of what PSIM can offer,” says Adam Kiesel, Director, Maritime Port & Cargo Security for Unisys Corporation. “As more organizations begin to recognize the benefits of PSIM in the areas of incident identification, response standardization, and reporting, and utilize iterative approaches such as agile to quickly gain capability, the upward trend in PSIM deployments should continue.”
And it is: PSIM use is expanding across cities, transportation, and more. Here’s how it’s being used and why it’ll likely continue to grow.
How PSIM keeps cities secure
Cities around the world are implementing PSIM as a way to leverage all their security assets toward safer streets and a better understanding of incidents. Glasgow, Scotland, for example, employs PSIM to combine CCTV with traffic control. Officials can then filter information into pre-defined response plans to better manage situations in real time.
Nanded, India too is pooling resources. The Nanded Safe City project has formed the aptly named C-Cube, the police’s command, control, and communication center. Using PSIM, C-Cube enables 24/7 monitoring, intelligent IP video surveillance, and crowd control video analytics to identify potential threats, especially those caused by overcrowding, an ongoing concern due to the city’s influx of visitors.
PSIM enters port
Within cities, ports pose potential security risks given the higher stakes they often carry. The Houston Ship Channel Security District (HSCSD), the public-private partnership responsible for improving security and safety for the facilities, employees, and community, has pulled together multiple assets through PSIM for a complete overview of its facilities. Video cameras, infrared cameras, radar, sonar, a shipboard vessel tracking system, GIS mapping software, and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather tracking system provide a holistic view of every event. Already, the system has helped detect a warehouse break-in and a fire before either incident could escalate.
Similarly, the Naftoport Ltd major oil transshipment port in Poland plays a vital role in the supply of petroleum to refineries in Poland and Germany, as well as the transit of crude oil from Russia and Kazakhstan to Western Europe, the United States, and the Far East. Through PSIM, the port has integrated nine existing gateway security systems to optimize day-to-day security operations and minimize downtime while protecting critical resources.
Helping transit run smoothly
On-track malfunctions, fire incidents, and other crises require quick responses from transit agencies. ProRail in the Netherlands has a single, centralized control room for managing tens of thousands of these incidents a year across the Netherland’s rail systems. PSIM has substantially decreased operational downtime by using automated tools to respond to incidents as they unfold.
Another major transit system is also in the process of deploying PSIM. The entity will use PSIM to alert security operators to incidents in its transit system, maintenance facilities, and office buildings. Operators will be able to see where incidents are happening, and immediately view video of the event along with standard operating procedures so they know exactly how to respond. As part of a longer term plan, the transit agency will also use PSIM to share information and video feeds with other local government entities. Improving communication among these government agencies will help authorities coordinate better situation response, especially if an incident extends from one jurisdiction to another.
How PSIM keeps an eye on airports
Airports are also realizing the value of PSIM in addressing unique challenges. For example, Miami International Airport uses a PSIM solution to tie together tower radar, video management and video cameras, along with ground radar, vehicle GPS tracking, and various other tracking cameras to help detect runway incursions. With the systems connected through PSIM, the airport can better identify people, vehicles, and aircraft that might post safety issues on runways or taxiways.
LAX takes this a step further, focusing not just on security, but operations too, by using PSIM to extend situational awareness from the control room to the field. Through a specialized EGIS web application, field personnel can view open incidents on a geospatial map, log new incidents, collaborate on response plans, and manage regulatory requirements such as FAA-mandated Part 139 airfield inspections.
Locking down critical infrastructure
Beyond transportation, certain infrastructure presents vulnerabilities that must be carefully monitored. Federal government data centers are one example of critical infrastructure benefitting from PSIM. Consolidation in this sector is leading to more expansive facilities that often house hundreds of rows of server racks that are monitored by security cameras and protected by various systems and sensors. In such facilities, video cameras and access control alone are insufficient. The high stakes of securing such facilities requires a PSIM solution intelligent enough to filter real threats from false alarms, based on different environment characteristics, behaviors, and conditions while also supporting efficient operations at the sites by authorized personnel.
In the government sector where security carries higher stakes and greater complexity, and requires more oversight, PSIM can cultivate situational awareness, collaboration, and response by bringing people, processes, and technology together as part of a single, well-oiled machine. Cities, transportation hubs, and critical infrastructure will continue to invest in PSIM in growing numbers to secure themselves from threats and usher in more efficient day-to-day operations.