With so many new features to add to their products, where does the time come from to sit in industry meetings? Some manufacturers see the importance and invest their valuable time in standards efforts; others realize that saying no to committee meetings means being able to say yes to other things. When the pressure for just one more feature in the next release gets high enough, the standards efforts are often forgotten.
What Can We Do?
In all the years I served as the head of engineering and marketing for major manufacturers, I never once had a customer ask if we served on or supported any standards committees. Not once.
There are many standards organizations in the industry today trying to make progress. The Security Industry Association (SIA), in particular, has been very active in the development and promotion of real industry standards. The Open Security Exchange (OSE) has teamed with ASIS Intl., to champion convergence, while the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) and Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) were both recently formed to further the standardization of networked security products.
All of these efforts, however, will wither on the vine unless the market participates in the process. Ultimately, the industry is driven by the needs of the end-users. If they participate in standards organizations, and request participation of their vendors and consultants, it will happen. These groups need the participation of end-users because only they know exactly how these systems get used and how they need to work to make them really effective. With end-user help and interest, we can move the industry forward towards what is already technically possible. Without that interest, do not expect truly open solutions between access and video.
Rich Anderson is the president of Phare Consulting, a firm providing technology and growth strategies for the security industry. A 25-year veteran of high tech electronics, Mr. Anderson previously served as the VP of Marketing for GE Security and the VP of Engineering for CASI-RUSCO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.