Home > Event Management, Intelligent Video, Manufacturers, PSIM > Out with PSIM, in with IM – so says NICE

Out with PSIM, in with IM – so says NICE

I feel like a proud Papa.  NICE acquired Orsus, one of the hot new players in the PSIM (physical security information management) space.  Why do I feel so happy?  Because a major vendor in the security business demonstrates a savvy far beyond its competitors – the savvy that I've been talking about since I first introduced PSIM on this blog back in 2006.  PSIM is simply the physical security version of the larger, more important business issue: IM – Information Management.  By acquiring Orsus and creating a new strategy around its entire portfolio, Nice is the first major security vendor to become a full fledged Information Management vendor. 

Nice is now a business solutions provider, while its competitors remain security solutions providers.

So what?  The implications are huge.  Now, discussions that begin with security, segue easily into discussions about business information – business intelligence.  After all, the stuff of security (video streams, alarms, intrusion events, etc) are all simply data.  When that data is organized, analyzed and correlated with other data, it becomes information – information, which may be used to inform business decisions.

The PSIM vendors (Orsus, Proximex, VidSys, CNL, Vialogy and others) have done a great job making this point and educating us on the business value of security data.  Nice now can put this intelligence engine at the center of its portfolio and turn every security conversation into one that deeply concerns the senior executives.  Nevertheless, the independent PSIM vendors I just mentioned will also benefit from the Nice move.  They will become acquisition targets of Nice's fast-follower competitors, and they will enjoy the greater buzz and legitimacy Nice's investment causes around PSIM.

The deep pockets and global reach of Nice are the differentiators, though.  Nice can afford to bid on and support Information Management projects worldwide, while the smaller, independent PSIM software companies rely on a variety of partners to get implemented.

Nice is doing the right thing, but it won't be a cake walk.  The company still has to execute on this transformation and train its sales channel and its customers that security is not the point. This will be tough, since so many people think of security and surveillance when they think of Nice. 

I have faith in Nice, though.  Any company visionary enough to build a portfolio of business intelligence solutions within the security milieu is clever enough to reinvent itself from a marketing view, too.

  1. December 3, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Hi Steve,
    What do you think of the price? Higher or lower than what you expected?
    Does $22M say PSIM is a large or small market?

  2. steve hunt
    December 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    NICE got a bargain, that’s for sure. I suspect Orsus was strapped for cash and had no way to grow without additional VC or angel investment – both hard to come by in this economy.
    the market for PSIM-specific software solutions is modest. The market for Information Management based on security data is fantastically greater. NICE got a bargain.

  3. December 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Bah humbug. I put PSIM and IM in the same category as the Y2K problem and the “convergence” phenomenon that was supposed to have Cisco and IT directors ruling the physical security world by now. I predict that PSIM/IM will always have a place in the market (particularly on the higher-end systems) but will never see widespread use in the commercial marketplace.
    (Keep in mind that I was the guy in 1895 that said the video rental business would never amount to anything – tell that to Blockbuster and NetFlix…) 🙂

  4. December 4, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Point well made regarding the need to look at physical security applications in context whether it be locks or information. IDmachines often represents physical access as an application of an enterprise or federation identity infrastructure. In much the same way PSIM fits under enterprise analytics. The challenge is for organizations to develop enterprise architectures that look at application categories holistically, e.g. identity and access refer to people and devices, key management is for brass as well as digital certificates, analytics is about images and event data (just look at how image search is following down the same indexing path as other data), and so on. (So in fact convergence is a mapping exercise that reveals opportunities to simplify, a valid exercise and hardly a phenomenon). This acquisition is really part of the evolution toward the intelligent enterprise and a key piece of that is better business intelligence built on better information.
    Again, good point well made.
    Enjoy the holidays,

  5. December 8, 2009 at 7:39 am

    So a speaker at ISSA once commented that CFO’s question why they have to pay two P&L’s to decommission somebody out of the system. That was several years ago and obviously this feature would be a key differentiator so I don’t know why more companies are making strides towards this. Will be interesting how they move this acquisition forward.

  6. December 8, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Hi Steve,
    Great point, when I first met them in 2008 at TechSec, they seemed well funded but they just another VMS provider going after public/Gov business. I am excited about seeing the details of the technology.
    Everyone have a great holiday season!
    -Jamie McDonald

  7. Ed Vergara
    December 23, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I think PSIM is a misnomer; the value of Orsus is that it provides an excellent platform for integrating disparate security components. Orsus (Proximex, etc) correlate alarms of various sensors, determines the type and extent of the event, and provides the operator with a list of responses based on business rules (it is similar to pulling out the OPs manual when some unusual event occurs). A more appropriate moniker would be Command and Control System.
    It would be interesting to see how Nice markets Orsus. I’ve worked with Orsus in the past to integrate their system with various security components including a competing (to Nice) VMS. Big integrators such as SAIC, Adesta, etc have been pushing Orsus; I wonder how they will handle integrators like them or the smaller integrators for that matter.

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