PSIA and ONVIF go head-to-head

Both standards bodies make progress, provide status updates during ASIS 2011 show

Why did these firms get involved in a group that formerly had been focused solely on video standards? Rob Zivney, co-chair of SIA and the vice president for government and standards with Identive Group, said his firm had to consider global business drivers.

“It [ONVIF] is the most global standard I have come across. As a manufacturer, you can't build products for one market, you have to build it for a global market, and ONVIF's global nature helps.”

Going further, ONVIF Chairman Jonas Andersson from Axis Communications said it is natural for the group to pursue intrusion systems interoperability in addition to access and video. That follows the same line of thinking from PSIA, which already has specifications for video, storage, analytics, access control and intrusion.

But winning the race to having a widely adopted specification isn't everything. For specifiers, end-users and architects, it doesn't matter who won the race if no one adopts the specification.

Now, says ONVIF's chairman, the organization is out to find adoption. It announced its ONVIF OutReach group led by Steve Surfaro from Axis Communications. The group will seek to network with specifiers and architects to help provide training on the ONVIF specifications, but is also designed to acquire feedback from the same community so it can continue to improve specifications.

So while it's probably more enjoyable to think about this search for interoperability standards as a prize fight, that vision -- at least according to PSIA -- is clearly off-base. But one thing is certain: Whether one standardization body is left standing, or if two different interoperability standards rise to the top, the security industry -- its end-users, installers, consultants, integrators and vendors -- will wind up the winners. It’s the one opinion shared between both PSIA and ONVIF -- both of which proclaimed the high value of standards for the end-user and the integrator. “We just want to create a better end-user solution and experience,” Lien said.

In the meantime, the reality is that both organizations compete for the technical R&D efforts of the industry’s member companies, and until our industry is willing to fully fund two standards efforts, it’s likely the race will continue.