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Maturing technologies for a maturing industry

Edmonton might seem to be a funny place to find new interest in the future of this industry but it happened while I sat listening to presentations from Paul Freer from Anixter and Bob Moore from Axis Communications at the Anixter Edmonton Showcase at the end of September.


October 18, 2010
By Jennifer Brown

Yes, to some degree I had heard much of what they were talking about before — hot trends will include analytics which was initially oversold; mass notification is going to be hot in the next few years and thermal imaging is about to be the new hot camera talk on the block (see front page story).

But what I found really interesting is that while we have primarily been writing about mass notification in the education market at the post-secondary level, it is considered third in terms of spending in this area.
Government is No. 1 and corporations No. 2 for this kind of system that includes fire alarm, access control, audio and video surveillance. (If anyone knows of a corporation that has successfully implemented mass notification in Canada, I’d like to learn more about how it rolled it out in a corporate environment.)
Analytics is another technology that came out of the gate touted as the magic tool for video, but the hype was beyond what it could deliver at the time. That hype has cooled and what has come out of that is a more measured approach to what and where analytics can best be applied.
But when I started to hear about the promises of Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) and what it can potentially do for security in an enterprise setting, it became even more intriguing.
PSIM software systems are designed to integrate and analyze information from traditional physical security devices and systems, and present the necessary data to automatically or manually resolve the situation in real time.
The idea is to save time and money and produce a better security program because it produces better intelligence, theoretically.
There are no doubt detractors when it comes to PSIM — those who are concerned about the scope of such an implementation and just how “smart” it can really be.
It reminds me somewhat of enterprise resource planning software implementations (ERP) I used to write about in the earlier part of the decade that were sometimes plagued by complicated and expensive rollouts. Often complications occurred when the software wasn’t compatible with other enterprise-level systems.  
PSIM requires interoperability between the products used in the overall security system and that leads back to our feature story from last month about the need for standards.
We used to write about convergence of IT and physical security in a way that tried to address the combining of those two departments on one platform. This feels a little different and makes a lot more sense than previous conversations about convergence. And compared to a few years ago, it certainly feels like the industry is on a positive path towards the integration of physical security with IT-based tools — technology that can produce better data for the enterprise on how to improve an organization’s overall security posture.