PSIM manufacturers misleading the market?

PSIM manufacturers misleading the market?

Stephen Smith, managing director of ISM, says some PSIM manufacturers are misleading the market, both in regard to what their technology is capable of and how much they should pay for the pleasure of installing it.

“In the September/October issue of Security Middle East, an article explained how PSIM developers are planning to offer integrated security systems aimed at the growing needs of large-scale enterprises, while offering advanced functionality for more stakeholders with greater control from one central location.

Understanding and resolving problems associated with the increasing geographical scope of clients, corporations, governments and institutions while adhering to a multi-tiered hierarchy (or ‘federated’ system) where total control is centralised but allows individual sites to maintain local control, is central for the development of our industry.

Equally, it is not only the ability to provide more powerful systems that is important, but also the scalability of the solution that is key, from single PC solutions through to federated solutions that give end users the power to match risk with budgets. Put more simply, whereas some are talking about ‘big is beautiful’, what is more ‘beautiful’ is the ability to scale a solution to need, and to allow more businesses to therefore realise the advantages that PSIM can deliver.

The article highlights the issue of connectivity, assigned to it. To that end it is a genuine ‘hot reserve’, as opposed to a ‘fail over’ control room that has to be switched on and booted up!

Similarly, data bottlenecks should never be used as an excuse for a system going down, nor for creating a lack of ‘control’. The continuous nature of Genesys PSIM technology, and an efficient alarm escalation functionality, means that if there is a problem, the operator still knows exactly what to do should a critical event occur. Operators have access to all of the data, information and systems at their fingertips.

But let us be clear: whilst our competitors are seeking to develop more powerful solutions for Federated level security across larger organisations and smart cities, ISM’s Genesys Enterprise solution is already being deployed throughout the world, including at sites in the United Arab Emirates. Local police stations currently operate Genesys, our PSIM platform for example. Utilising its patented migrating + technology the solution becomes even more effective with no need for mirrored servers or clustering software.

The article makes much of the ‘technology of the future’ where we would argue it is already the technology of today. The utopian world they describe is already a reality.

There is no doubt that one of the biggest challenges facing the future development of PSIM is improving its reputation. Some PSIM manufacturers are undoubtedly misleading the market, both in regard to what their technology is capable of and how much they should pay for the pleasure of installing it. Indeed, this is the other great challenge, and the other great myth: lifecycle costs.

My fear is that these hidden costs, with particular regard to software licenses, combined with the lack of an adequate support service (or one that is ludicrously expensive), are problems that continue to be unexplained and do our industry a tremendous disservice.

Depending on the specific PSIM system and its manufacturer, these costs can be highly fragmented and split into many different ‘parts’ or stages that those looking to install PSIM may struggle to understand: the physical equipment cost; installation; initial software licenses (and whether that’s a flat cost or a percentage of the capital outlay); training packages; project management services etc. Alarmingly, these are only the ‘initial’ costs and do not take into account annual licence fees, future upgrades and renewals – which when you think of the initial capital expenditure to implementing a system and the number of years you expect it to be functioning, could run into the many thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of pounds!

We decided within the early months of founding ISM that we would not put clients in the unenviable position of budgeting for a capital expenditure only to find a raft of renewal and licensing costs later down the line. Cost, of course, cannot be the only driver, but the danger is that the cost that a client is quoted is not the ‘true’ cost that they end up paying, when the ongoing costs are taken into consideration.

Evaluating systems on the initial capital cost alone is dangerous, so do your due diligence and consider the technical implications of the risks that are to be overcome and the lifetime cost of a system rather than rushing unexpectedly into a brick wall of hidden fees or false promises.

PSIM is not simple technology and needs care and attention; it’s the initial decision in choosing the right supplier that plays their cards with an open hand that, as an end user, will win out in the end.