In November 2016, the symposium “Requirements for modern Physical Security Information Management Systems” took place in the Vodafone Campus Skylounge in Düsseldorf, Germany. Watch the interview by Holger Berens with Lars Waldow, COO at Advancis Software & Services GmbH, with regard to PSIM Systems – which advantages do they offer, how secure are they and what are the future trends.
Holger Berens: Digitalization, Industry 4.0, Internet of Things. Today, Physical Security Information Management Systems (PSIM Systems) also have to be linked with each other. Mr. Waldow, what can PSIM systems do for us today?
Lars Waldow: PSIM Systems offer a vendor-neutral integration of most diverse security technology systems, i.e. a uniform linkage of security and communication technology as well as building automation. They can be visualized via a central user interface and it is possible to display the system status there and to enable their retroactive control.
Holger Berens: I can hardly imagine how this is done, in an existing building: Different manufacturers, different interfaces and different software, how can a management system realize that all linked security systems really run in a uniform way on one user interface?
Lars Waldow: If you look at today’s control centers in many buildings, you will find let’s say 17 keyboards and mice next to each other via which various systems are controlled, behind these, there are many different interfaces to the actual devices, and this is exactly the point. We have to start from these interfaces in order to integrate them uniformly into one system. There are different approaches. Open standards can be used that can be implemented as generic interfaces or the proprietary, that means the manufacturer-specific protocols. Actually, this is our strongest approach: To directly speak the language of the systems, without requiring any further converters in-between that have to be purchased and configured and represent another error source, but rather to implement the system’s language directly in our platform and to integrate it in a uniform management system.
Holger Berens: This results in a control center where everything is accumulated. How vulnerable and attackable are such systems?
Lars Waldow: Not more or less attackable as they have been before the implementation of a PSIM system, since the systems themselves already communicated via IT networks before. However, we usually recommend a closed security network, linking all these security technology devices with each other, separated from the actual office or productive networks.
Holger Berens: Such PSIM systems, are they learning systems, I mean, if there is an incident that maybe was not planned during prevention, can the system find the suitable solutions in retrospect?
Lars Waldow: This is a current trend which we are concentrating on: How can these systems really support the user by learning something new, by aggregating events so that the user can focus on what is important. How can the collected information be evaluated at a later stage in order to suggest alternative procedures for the future? The whole subject Artificial Intelligence will become an even more important topic in the future. At the moment, we are, in my opinion, at the very start of this development.
Holger Berens: That gives me the keyword for my last question, how will PSIM systems develop in the future?
Lars Waldow: I already just mentioned one of these big IT trends (Artifical Intelligence), but maybe we have to go one step back again, as recently we focus more and more also on the networking of the systems that work together on the management level, keyword here is operational command systems. We see that a PSIM system displays the hazard arising from the physical world, but that the management of emergency forces or resources is realized by a separate system. Information exchange is important here too. This is where PSIM manufacturers offer the possibility to directly communicate with operational command systems or to integrate parts of them in their own system so that, in case of an emergency event, the corresponding actions can be predefined for the task forces and coordinated. With regard to the future trends, the big IT trends Internet of Things, Big Data, Augmented Reality, these are also very exciting fields for us as a PSIM manufacturer. In particular Augmented Reality as an interface for human beings. Information flood increases and Augmented Reality offers the possibility to reduce informaiton to the perspective of the user by, for example, displaying related information on my smartphone. That is a possibility to filter information at the man-machine interface and to provide such information to the user in an appropriate way.
Holger Berens: Many thanks, Mr. Waldow, see you at the next security interview of the week.