PSIM: Ready for Takeoff

PSIM ensures business continuity by providing situational awareness of incidents and operational issues, and by helping personnel respond with contingency plans to minimize disruptions


Large airports are like miniature cities, with tens of thousands of people passing through them on any given day. Dynamic and expansive, airport environments are anything but simple — and that makes securing them evermore complex. Toward this end, airports collectively spend billions on aviation security annually. While this technology has automated and greatly improved many functions, it has also created some challenges.

For example, with so much information from so many different sensors and systems flowing into the security operations center, it can be difficult to discern false alarms from real threats. Simply put, the overwhelming flood of data can obscure the big picture. This is precisely the problem PSIM addresses.

A Primer On PSIM

In its simplest form, PSIM (Physical Security Information Management) integrates, synthesizes, and analyzes information and alerts from different security and safety systems. PSIM is an open architecture, interoperable software solution with generic gateways that enable any number of security, communication, safety, alerting, and sensing systems to be integrated to form a unified platform.

Examples include video management systems (and accompanying video analytics applications like perimeter protection and counter flow detection), access control, alarm panels, fire and safety sensors, radars, radio and telephony communications systems, video walls, CAD (computer aided dispatch), GIS (geographic information systems), emergency/mass notification, real-time mobile video, Web/RSS feeds, fence sensors, weather systems, and just about any other security, operational, or communications system imaginable.

Using pre-defined rules, PSIM also analyzes and correlates information and alerts across these different subsystems in real time, providing rich situational awareness. Because it correlates data, PSIM connects the dots between seemingly unrelated events to form a Common Operating Picture (COP).

Finally, PSIM guides appropriate responses to situations based on all of the different indicators of what’s happening. Adaptive, pre-defined response plans ensure standard operating procedures are followed. The PSIM solution thoroughly documents the incident as it’s happening so it can be reviewed later on: When did the incident start; what specific actions were taken and by whom; and how and when was it resolved?

PSIM doesn’t just bring data together, it helps operations manage incidents from start to finish.

Three Primary Benefits

“PSIM provides three main benefits,” explains Moti Shabtai, VP security for NICE Americas. “Airports have many islands of information, essentially security systems that are silos. So the first benefit of PSIM is its ability to tie these sub-systems together in a cohesive common operating picture.

“The second benefit relates to visualization. Once the dots are connected between these complex sets of information and incidents are revealed, they’re overlaid on a map-based interface — making it easy to get a real-time visual representation of an event and the associated assets and people involved.

“You can literally view the different ‘plots’ of an incident, whether it involves aircraft on a runway, vehicles on an airfield, or other tracked assets in terminals or on airport roadways. Everyone involved in the incident share a common understanding of what’s going on.

“Finally, PSIM ensures consistent responses, in keeping with the airport’s pre-defined standard operating procedures.”

Since PSIM creates a unified, cohesive platform, multiple control centers are no longer needed. We’ve seen airports consolidate all their control room operations into a single expanded location with internal and external agencies and first responders all sitting side by side with the same view. This significantly improves communication and coordination, as well as saves money and resources.

PSIM at MSY

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