VidSys-Northrop Grumman Partnership Highlights PSIM Value to Emergency Dispatch

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Physical security information management systems (PSIMs) are becoming a critical component as municipal and county governments consolidate emergency dispatch systems. Not only does PSIM permit police, fire and ambulance calls to be handled from a central point, it can provide information from other sources, particularly various networks of video cameras, in order to add to the amount of data first responders have before they arrive at the scene.

VidSys last week announced that has integrated its open PSIM platform with Northrop Grumman's CommandPoint computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. Cities such as Los Angeles and New York that use the CommandPoint and VidSys systems, are now able to collate data from video systems, GPS systems and other geographic databases to literally give responders better view of a situation.

"Location ID is passed to the PSIM, which immediately locates cameras and access to supply additional information to dispatchers or responders by pumping it out to a car or vehicle," said Dave Fowler, senior vice president, product development, at VidSys.

When incident data is brought together, added Gary Wilkerson, manager, program delivery, Northrop Grumman, means "everyone is using the same information from multiple sources. Decisions can be made quickly and accurately."

Northrop Grumman's is one of three CAD systems that connects with VidSys. Fowler declined to disclosed the other two.

Unlike a video management system, which can also record and transfer live video, PSIM systems allow dispatchers to manage feeds from otherwise independent video networks, such as traffic departments, school districts, and private security networks if owners choose to make them available. Use of PSIM is picking up steam as cities and counties begin to pool once-separate police, fire and emergency medical dispatch systems into single 911 answering and response points. Further, many smaller cities, towns and villages are further consolidating answering and dispatch points into areawide centers. Ultimately, both Fowler and Wilkerson see PSIM as central to the emerging "fusion centers" focused on large-scale local emergency communications and response, ranging from highway accidents to weather emergency to terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security thus far has designated 72 fusion centers through the U.S.

Davenport, Iowa, integrates PSIM

The City of Davenport, Iowa, sees value in the way PSIM can coordinate communications. Davenport is in the midst of consolidating police, fire and EMS dispatch onto one system. The project, which uses VidSys' PSIM platform (but a different CAD system), is scheduled to be completed in March 2011, when a new center housing the centralized operations for all of Scott County will open, said Rob Henry, CIO, City of Davenport, Iowa.

"We can view and see what's going on at the scene, potentially before call is placed to a 911 center. This gives us more information beyond what the caller is saying," Henry said. That video can be pushed to responder vehicles and handsets, he added.

"The cameras we've experimented with are all video surveillance cameras," Henry said. "We've had three or four types of cameras, each on a different platform, and been able to take all of them in."

The introduction of live and recorded video feeds into dispatching centers is just the start, Henry said. Ultimately, Davenport hopes to integrate sensor alarms and video analytics so CAD centers can be alerted to a situation, such as a fire or break-in, before a voice call comes in.

"This will become more important as we add cameras to the network," Henry said.

Analytics can identify intruders, objects left behind, or as the technology develops, flag a potentially violent situation, such as groups of individuals suddenly gathering in the confines of a small area. While the gathering might be innocuous, the analytic alert gives a dispatcher an chance look at the video to determine if the crowd poses a genuine threat. If a brewing street disturbance is caught early, Henry said, a couple of police cars simply driving past can often diffuse a heated argument before it escalates from shouting to actual violence.

Physical security information management systems (PSIMs) are becoming a critical component as municipal and county governments consolidate emergency dispatch systems. Not only does PSIM permit police, fire and ambulance calls to be handled from a central point, it can provide information from other sources, particularly various networks of video cameras, in order to add to the amount of data first responders have before they arrive at the scene.

VidSys last week announced that has integrated its open PSIM platform with Northrop Grumman's CommandPoint computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. Cities such as Los Angeles and New York that use the CommandPoint and VidSys systems, are now able to collate data from video systems, GPS systems and other geographic databases to literally give responders better view of a situation.

"Location ID is passed to the PSIM, which immediately locates cameras and access to supply additional information to dispatchers or responders by pumping it out to a car or vehicle," said Dave Fowler, senior vice president, product development, at VidSys.

When incident data is brought together, added Gary Wilkerson, manager, program delivery, Northrop Grumman, means "everyone is using the same information from multiple sources. Decisions can be made quickly and accurately."

Northrop Grumman's is one of three CAD systems that connects with VidSys. Fowler declined to disclosed the other two.

Unlike a video management system, which can also record and transfer live video, PSIM systems allow dispatchers to manage feeds from otherwise independent video networks, such as traffic departments, school districts, and private security networks if owners choose to make them available. Use of PSIM is picking up steam as cities and counties begin to pool once-separate police, fire and emergency medical dispatch systems into single 911 answering and response points. Further, many smaller cities, towns and villages are further consolidating answering and dispatch points into areawide centers. Ultimately, both Fowler and Wilkerson see PSIM as central to the emerging "fusion centers" focused on large-scale local emergency communications and response, ranging from highway accidents to weather emergency to terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security thus far has designated 72 fusion centers through the U.S.

Davenport, Iowa, integrates PSIM

The City of Davenport, Iowa, sees value in the way PSIM can coordinate communications. Davenport is in the midst of consolidating police, fire and EMS dispatch onto one system. The project, which uses VidSys' PSIM platform (but a different CAD system), is scheduled to be completed in March 2011, when a new center housing the centralized operations for all of Scott County will open, said Rob Henry, CIO, City of Davenport, Iowa.

"We can view and see what's going on at the scene, potentially before call is placed to a 911 center. This gives us more information beyond what the caller is saying," Henry said. That video can be pushed to responder vehicles and handsets, he added.

"The cameras we've experimented with are all video surveillance cameras," Henry said. "We've had three or four types of cameras, each on a different platform, and been able to take all of them in."

The introduction of live and recorded video feeds into dispatching centers is just the start, Henry said. Ultimately, Davenport hopes to integrate sensor alarms and video analytics so CAD centers can be alerted to a situation, such as a fire or break-in, before a voice call comes in.

"This will become more important as we add cameras to the network," Henry said.

Analytics can identify intruders, objects left behind, or as the technology develops, flag a potentially violent situation, such as groups of individuals suddenly gathering in the confines of a small area. While the gathering might be innocuous, the analytic alert gives a dispatcher an chance look at the video to determine if the crowd poses a genuine threat. If a brewing street disturbance is caught early, Henry said, a couple of police cars simply driving past can often diffuse a heated argument before it escalates from shouting to actual violence.

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