Two Standards are better than Hundreds

The PSIA explains why open standards will change the security industry

As previously mentioned, PSIA develops specifications that enable the interoperability of various IP devices. This enables video management, video analytics, access control and intrusion devices to communicate without customized software development or integration. This combination provides end-users with increased awareness and ability to respond. When video management is tied to an access control system, users can immediately access video footage of an access control event, such as a door forced open. For example, an employee can badge in and hold the door open for others to enter, and this triggers an alarm through the access control system. The security operator then recalls the event with the associated video and visually validates that the badge holder is the person who forced the door open. If video analytics are enabled on the camera, the face captures of the tailgaters is presented and compared with the access control database for possible non-employee entry. This example is possible through the use of various PSIA specifications.

Once APIs and specifications are developed through the respective PSIA working groups, the PSIA Systems Working Group oversees the process of confirming individual specifications work in concert to enable system-wide interoperability. Furthermore, the group provides architecture and design leadership in areas that span multiple working groups to ensure cohesive system designs that ensure interoperability.

Another benefit of a broad range of specifications is that it ensures IP-enabled security devices work seamlessly with other systems such as building management, and fire and life safety. Overall, the PSIA systems approach brings networked-enabled security and operational solutions to the market that allow for flexibility and freedom of choice.

The Future is IP

Until all IP products are able to communicate, IP will be second to analog in terms of market share. For IP to reach mainstream adoption, we, as an industry, need to promote and develop standards for these devices. It is not just industry incumbents that need to be involved - companies from diverse and emerging markets are critical as well. Input from a variety of vendors, providers and end-users are critical. The more who contribute to this process, the stronger we are as an industry.

Therefore, it is beneficial that there are multiple organizations working to push this initiative forward. Although some industry insiders have positioned it as a "standards war" - rather, it is a preference of which standard works best in a particular application or device. Not only does it give the industry freedom of choice, but it drives competition, and therefore, open standards are brought to market more quickly and are more feature-rich.

The industry needs to remember that two standards are far better than hundreds of proprietary standards.

Danny Petkevich is Vice Chairman of the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance and Vice President of Engineering for Next Level Security Systems in Carlsbad, Calif. To view PSIA specifications and a list of PSIA compliant products, visit