2012 has been a great year for the global security industry. This is especially true for many PSIM vendors who have seen their busiest year to date. We catch up with Keith Bloodworth, CEO of CNL Software, one of the world’s leading PSIM developers to discuss some of the trends that helped shape the PSIM market this year and to get some forecasts for the direction it will head in 2013. It provided an opportunity to get some no nonsense, real world answers in light of some exaggerated claims regarding PSIM this year.
Question - As 2012 closes, what would you say were your observations about the PSIM market this year?
Keith - One of the key highlights for me was seeing the maturity of the PSIM market first hand. As I stood on the show floor at ASIS in Philadelphia, the questions from end users and channel had moved on from “what does the technology do?” to “how are you different to other PSIM vendors?” There has been a major shift towards a second generation of PSIM channel partners and end users, those who started their PSIM journey several years ago and are now looking for the next step up. The result is that a number of very IT savvy channel switched over to CNL Software during 2012, largely due to the need for a product capable of real scale, configuration flexibility and the ability to process complex business processes.
2012 saw a significant step forward for our own PSIM technology. For example IPSecurityCenter played a pivotal role in the largest and most complex security aggregation project during the London Olympics plus we launched IPSCDevNet; the first ever PSIM focused development community. We have also seen real growth for PSIM in some key markets such as mass transit, healthcare, homeland defense, safe city and ports, all of which have brought new opportunities and successes for IPSecurityCenter this year.
Question - So outside of CNL Software projects have you seen any other evidence of the maturity of the PSIM market in 2012?
Keith - Yes we certainly have and it relates directly back to the PSIM capable channel. It was good to see this backed up by Jeff Kessler from Imperial Capital in his latest Security Industry Monitor report. He points to IT proficient integrators gaining market share along with highly focused small/medium integrators with what he is calling IT IQ “Information Technology Intelligence Quotient”. PSIM is a major driver in this changing landscape as companies are taking real business and risk related issues to the integrators rather than installation and maintenance issues. The market needs these companies to make a profitable business out of deploying PSIM, and it is reassuring to see that someone like Jeff has recognized that it is now driving their bottom line.
We have also seen the emergence of new PSIM entrants in 2012. Three years ago if you walked the trade-show floor at ASIS or ISC West you would have found a handful of PSIM players, CNL, Proximex, Vidsys, Nice/Orsus. Today there are in excess of 20 PSIM product suppliers and this year saw the largest surge of new PSIM companies enter the market. On top of this, we have also seen investment in PSIM coming from “multibillion dollar” IT centric companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and EMC who, together with the likes of Tyco and BAE, have all placed financial investment in to PSIM companies.
Question - So those were the key highlights of 2012, what about your forecasts for 2013?
Keith - This will be the year that PSIM goes mainstream. What we are seeing is an ever increasing number of RFP’s specifying PSIM as the key solution to major projects. Many of these RFP’s are looking for technology solutions that can only be achieved by Enterprise level PSIM or expensive bespoke solutions. We have seen a marked increase in the ambition, scale and complexity of new integration projects, ones which cannot be achieved by the majority of the entry level PSIM vendors, particularly those based on VMS or ACS sub-systems. These companies are great at integrating devices or alarm management, but many fall short when it comes down to complex operations or dynamic actions based on data inputs received from 3rd party applications or sub-systems.
PSIM Segmentation - My main prediction for 2013 is the separation of PSIM vendors in to classic market segments. At the high end those whose solutions truly scale, like CNL’s, will put major distance from those who rely on 3rd party products for High Availability/Disaster Recovery for example, or those who do not offer load balancing or need to turn off their solutions to do updates. Mission critical systems just have to be “Always On”, which we believe to be a core component of an Enterprise PSIM solution moving forward.
Federation - Another prediction is Federation; the ability to connect multiple systems, at a large site or multiple security control rooms around the globe to create one holistic “Shield”, will be particularly important for large scale global corporate operations. This type of solution will allow multiple sources of alarm handling, remote management and the connection of operations to reduce cost, improve efficiency and bring greater visibility to the entire operation. It is important that federated systems are not just seen as failover solutions, but as systems that are able to hand off operations to another center whenever needed. Using a federated system to create a “follow the sun” solution might mean that a control center in India could monitor UK operations overnight; reducing the need for night staff in attendance on site, unless there was an event that required it. It also allows global management of widespread security risks and disasters.
Collaborative partnerships - We expect the emergence of IT Integrators in to the physical security space, mainly being responsible for the deployment of large scale, complex PSIM projects, but working together with security SI’s who do not currently have the required skills in house. These “collaborative” partnerships have been around in IT for a long time, but they are now winning deals in the PSIM space. Within these partnerships, they are also likely to write their own drivers for sub-systems or data connections, using development tools like our Driver Development Kit. We predict that even manufacturers will start producing drivers in order to connect to PSIM systems, although a number of the larger ones are implementing PSIA interoperability, allowing PSIM to connect using a standard driver.
Greater deployment of PSIM intelligence - 2013 will see end users giving greater focus to what they can do better with the knowledge they already have. We are excited about the way large scale transportation projects are now looking to PSIM vendors to provide the “smarts” in and out of the control room. We are working on tasks like “follow that train”, using core destination data to automate camera views from station to station. This is equally true in ports or airports, where arrival data can trigger standard operating procedure, taking the responsibility away from the operator by pushing the intelligence into the system. Managing multiple analytics solutions will be a de facto standard and rules based workflow will be required.
The market will recognize the ROI of advanced video export; a one click solution to gather all video related to an incident, which removes the need for the operator to reach into each of the native video recording systems. This feature coupled with video analytics enables intelligent searches around defined parameters, further reducing evidence collection times. When clients have 50,000+ cameras in a single connected system, live viewing can only be an option if triggered by an event; in the future most investigations will be run by automated process outside the control room.
In 2013 we see more customers requiring this level of intelligence, which ensures faster processing of evidence, essential for large scale applications as they rely less on live views and more on forensics. In this way, they get the evidential data faster, cheaper, more reliably and from a greater number of sources. PSIM is really coming of age, reducing operating costs, speeding up evidence management, improving emergency preparedness and managing increasingly complex, mission critical security environments.