Roundtable: Surveillance experts weigh in on standards

What standards can mean for end-users, integrators and product manufacturers

Honovich: End users would benefit the most as standards lower costs by eliminating the power of market leaders to control markets.

Damjanovski: I think there is no doubt – everybody benefits.

Galvin: Initially, end users will derive the most benefit. When end-users benefit, the entire industry will benefit: integrators, software developers, manufacturers. Interoperability will allow the overall market for IP-based solutions to grow and benefit the entire supply chain. Video management software developers will face the most profound impact. Much of the development and value in VMS software goes into integrating network cameras, video encoders and NVR’s. With the wide adoption of standards, camera integration will become significantly easier. This will be a double-edge sword for the software developers and manufacturers. On one hand, it will free up significant development resources that are currently tied up to repeatedly perform basic video device integrations. With a standard for interoperability, camera integration will no longer differentiate software products; developers will have an opportunity to divert more resources toward value-added features in order to compete.

Why would network video standards matter for corporate security directors/end-users?

Honovich: Because it would lower prices on cameras and provide greater options on what cameras to use.

Damjanovski: Everything in the end comes down to lower cost of implementing a solution. Security directors will have a better functioning system; end users will pay less.

Galvin: Again, interoperability will allow end-users to select the best of breed products for the overall system. Corporate IT directors will appreciate that both the PSIA and ONVIF proposals are based on accepted IT and networking standards.

Do standards for network video devices help or hinder the manufacturers?

Galvin: It depends on how specific manufacturers respond. There is a lot of historical evidence to suggest that standards for interoperability are generally good for an industry as a whole. Think of consumer electronics (DVD, VHS) telecommunications (SIP protocol for enterprise IP phones) and IT (IEEE standards for Wifi, IETF standards for the Internet). If the video surveillance industry is successful in widely adopting a standard, it will force vendors to provide value in different ways. Camera integrations with a specific NVR or software package will no longer be a differentiating feature. More vendor resources will be spent on building end-user value from new features, productivity enhancements, analytics and new service models. The overall market will grow as end-users derive more value from network video.

Honovich: Standards help manufacturers with low market share including those looking to enter the industry. Standards can undermine the power of market leaders.

Damjanovski: Standards in general can never hinder a manufacturer. The fact that a device is compliant to a recognized standard makes it more attractive for the wider market. Certainly, different manufacturers may have their own way of doing things, which could be better than the others in some way, but a wisely written standard will not exclude innovation in technology, but only put a framework for common language between various products. The same is with the video compression standards. For example, MPEG2 does not define exactly how you do your compression, but defines how you put together the data so that a decoder can read it. There are variety of MPEG2 compression implementations that may have some difference in quality.

Do you think the manufacturing community would actually adopt standards on IP video devices, especially considering this industry's proprietary history?

Honovich: Yes, manufacturers will adopt standards. The industry has always used standards for camera interoperability. In analog, it was NTSC/PAL. The industry's proprietary history reflects a general poor business case for interoperability for other systems. Interoperability between cameras and video management systems has very high value and I expect vendors to be very motivated to adopt such standards.