The Boston terror attack is a tragic reminder of just how vulnerable we are, even eleven years after 9/11. In an open society, it's almost impossible to prevent all terror attacks. But we can prepare. One way is to leverage the best security technology. I'm not just talking video surveillance, although that's certainly essential. Many cities are now looking to PSIM to take security to the next level.

PSIM stands for Physical Security Information Management. PSIM is an open, interoperable software solution that integrates various security, communication, alerting, and sensing systems into one command and control interface. This gives surveillance centers a better situational awareness picture.

Consider for a moment the surveillance set up of a typical city. Most cities have video surveillance systems. But DOT, transit, and private enterprises also use cameras. What's missing is the ability to link these surveillance assets.

Why does it matter? Maybe the essential video is exactly the video the operator cannot see. With PSIM, these cameras can all be combined and viewed on one map-based display. Simply put, PSIM extends a city's surveillance effectiveness and reach.

PSIM can also tie in and correlate information from different systems, including gunshot detection, license plate recognition, communication systems, mass notification, access control, geographic information systems, computer-aided design, radiological sensors, etc. Agencies can also leverage PSIM to automate response plans for any situation, even those requiring critical response timelines.

Once alerted to a situation, operators can see what's happening, where, and how to respond. They can easily share information with other stakeholders.

Another big challenge is piecing together forensic evidence. In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, authorities scrutinized surveillance video and asked spectators to send in their photos and video. Today with the aid of technology, it's possible to take these different incident elements and compile them into a comprehensive timeline.

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Karen Krivaa is director of global marketing for NICE Systems. She blogs here. The company is a global provider of software solutions that safeguard people and assets. NICE's international headquarters is in Ra'anana, Israel and its U.S. headquarters is located in Paramus, N.J.

Driven by cross-channel and multi-sensor analytics, NICE solutions aim to help organizations improve business performance, increase operational efficiency, prevent financial crime, ensure compliance, and enhance safety and security. NICE serves more than 25,000 organizations in the enterprise and security sectors.