PSIA’s IP specification efforts

With the help of manufacturers and end-users, a new standard may be on the horizon

It would be an understatement to say it has been a busy year for the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance. Since March, we have ratified and released our 1.0 API Media Device specification; our working groups — IP Video, Video Analytics, Area Control, Recording and Content Management, and Systems — have worked diligently in their efforts to develop specifications for all IP-based security products; we released our Recording and Content Management specification for public comment; and held a successful interoperability demonstration at the ASIS seminar in Anaheim, Calif. We’ve also added a number of new members, including Tyco Intl., and Assa Abloy to our board.

In addition to that, and probably most importantly, a number of our members have implemented our video specification. IQinVision, Milestone Systems, Arecont Vision, HikVision, Everfocus, Synectics and Texas Instruments have led the way and there are many more implementations to come. To say the least, it’s been a very busy year.

There are a number of technology standard initiatives building momentum today. As an end-user, you should be aware of these movements and how they will affect you and your technology deployments.

What is PSIA?

PSIA is a global consortium of nearly 50 physical security manufacturers and systems integrators focused on promoting interoperability of IP-enabled security devices across all segments of the industry and developing specifications dedicated to making all IP products interoperable. PSIA is a true open standards organization, as it supports license-free standards and specifications, which are vetted in an open and collaborative manner to the industry as a whole. Since releasing its first open interface, the 1.0 IP Media Device specification in March 2008, more than 700 companies have registered for access to this initial release.

PSIA is doing important work that promises to guide the direction of the security industry. Standards for IP-enabled devices will make the security industry stronger, and ultimately, enable integrators to do their jobs faster, more efficiently, and thus more cost-effectively, and enable end-users to best protect their businesses, people and assets.

How will standards accomplish this? Let’s use IP video as an example. As more camera manufacturers develop IP-ready products, it is imperative they incorporate interoperable standards like the PSIA’s into their product line so their products can communicate with today’s video management solutions like the Milestone platform without the need for a special driver or SDK. But IP video is only one piece of the puzzle. To create a true interoperable security solution — one that includes video, access control, analytics, software, et al. — all products need to support and incorporate standards.

The lack of standards in today’s marketplace has led to difficulty with the integration of IP security solutions. For a particular brand’s camera to work with a another brand’s video management system, manufacturers must build drivers, or APIs, to be able to communicate. The development of these interfaces can take months and can be very costly for manufacturers.

But why and how does that affect end-users? The following are major reasons why standards are a topic you should keep an eye on.

Best-In-Class Solutions

Standards for IP-enabled devices enable end-users to build best-in-class security solutions because proprietary barriers will be a thing if the past. When manufacturers incorporate standards to their product lines, end-users will be able to choose the products, regardless-of-brand, that are best suited for their organization’s specific security needs. Without the barriers of proprietary protocols, security practitioners will be able to build a multi-faceted security solution.

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