Convergence Q&A: Putting Interoperability Standards into Perspective

I have been surprised several times before, during and after the ISC West conference to hear remarks about ONVIF and PSIA standards development work as if the two groups are running a horse race and one or the other will be (or has been) declared the...

There are many camera manufacturers in several countries that are adopting the ONVIF camera specifications. For many of them, an open interoperability standard is the fastest route to compatibility with the leading VMS systems, which could easily mean more immediate revenue. So it is to be expected that many camera makers have jumped on board already.

PSIA is tackling tougher specifications, from the perspective of systems-level interoperability. This is a more complex undertaking than device-to-system interfaces. Both legacy and new systems are targeted for the leading manufacturers. Each of the PSIA specifications relies on a Common Metadata and Event Model (CMEM), providing a common way to share information between systems. In addition, a Common Security Model (CSEC) will allow a secure and protected infrastructure, a critical requirement with IP-based systems. The list of participating companies is impressive.

This is why I believe that skepticism about the two groups’ efforts — especially published criticisms — is unwarranted. Instead let’s applaud the progress to date, and push for more of it.


Ray Bernard, PSP, CHS-III is the principal consultant for Ray Bernard Consulting Services (RBCS). For more information about Ray Bernard and RBCS go to or call 949-831-6788. Write to Ray about this column at: