PSIA’s IP specification efforts

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

The adoption of standards also provides a higher return on investment, as companies will be able to leverage existing technologies. As additional technologies are added, a security solution will not reach end-of-life. End-users can leverage existing investments over a longer period of time, enabling businesses to migrate to newer technology at their own pace. And as future technology is developed, it can be immediately deployed in real-world applications rather than waiting for manufacturers to develop custom interfaces.

Reducing Upfront and Long-Term Costs

Interoperability between IP-enabled products decreases initial integration costs, because integrators no longer have to spend time integrating disparate technologies. Long-term costs can be minimized as well because existing IP solutions will have the capability to be expanded or modified without the need for costly and time-consuming custom software development.

End-users will also be able to add new and innovative technologies without the need for custom applications and gateways, which often do not support each and every feature that a product might have on its own.

Advanced Products and Features

The growing acceptance of the PSIA standard is expected to increase the rate of product innovation that will enable manufacturers to introduce more advanced models in more market segments. This will be accomplished in a timely and efficient manner as these product providers will be able to avoid delays and effort associated with integration of their products with the wide variety of platforms offered today.

Proactive vs. Reactive

Systems are inherently more intelligent — as they share information seamlessly and offer a higher level of protection because they can provide operators with enhanced situational awareness. This gives end-users access to more critical data, which will enable security departments to operate in a proactive manner. Additional access to critical data will also make security staff more efficient as they are able to respond to potential breaches in a planned manner.

‘This is History in the Making’

The PSIA plugfest at ASIS this year was a key landmark in the progression of standards. Prior to this event, the PSIA specifications had been approved and available, but not tested in a public forum. The interoperability demonstration marked the groundswell of implementations that are becoming available from key security manufacturers, and many more implementations are on their way in 2010. Standards don’t become standards until they are implemented and they interoperate. For PSIA, this is happening now. This is what ‘IP convergence’ is all about.

But the initiative does not end here. We need input from the end-user community in the development process so that we can build specifications that will be most effective to the businesses they are charged with protecting. If you are interested in joining our end-user focus group, please visit

David Bunzel is executive director of the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance, a global consortium of more than 50 physical security providers focused on promoting interoperability of IP-enabled devices in the security industry. For more information, visit