Video Supplement: Video Standards’ Impact on Security Integrators

As discussions have increased regarding PSIA and ONVIF, we at PSA Security Network thought it was the right time to discuss video surveillance standards and their impact on the security industry.

Here’s perspective from a series of one-on-one interviews I conducted with security integrators Chris Peckham of Kratos|HBE; Nigel Waterton of ASG, Ron Oetjen of Intelligent Access Systems of North Carolina; and Wayne Smith of Tech Systems Inc.:

What are your thoughts regarding video surveillance standards as they pertain to the physical security industry and its integrators?
Oetjen: “I am very much in favor of video standards. I think that’s one of the challenges with this industry because we have a bunch of people doing things in many different ways. Standards make it easier for the integrator; it also helps the progress of the industry because you have people working along the same standards line.”

Waterton: “We are doing everything possible to advance and encourage standards at the product, process and service level. The role of standards is to provide a framework for innovation by securing the core pillars of the ecosystem: it provides consistency for manufacturers and integrators, creates end user confidence in products, systems, processes and services, and, finally, allows all products to be supplied and used across different markets, enhancing market access opportunities.”

If we were to move to a set of video surveillance standards, what benefits would implementing these standards have on you as an integrator, as well as on your company as a whole?
Peckham: “The integration side would benefit, if the interoperability is there. If somebody has the seal that says it meets those standards, and works as the standards says it’s supposed to work, then you have some understanding that the staff is going to be able to do what they need to do in a shorter amount of time.”

Smith: “The whole industry benefits from these standards, including the integrator, end-user and manufacturer. There are a number of benefits from standardizations, including the interoperability. End-users are not locked into a proprietary format with a particular manufacturer. From an integrator’s standpoint, there’s an argument to be made that it’s less costly to integrate. The industry as a whole benefits, as it gives flexibility to all parties involved.”

What do you perceive as the difference between ONVIF and PSIA, and which standard do you believe is more beneficial in the long run?
Smith: “ONVIF is more focused on video standards, while PSIA is trying to set standards for all security products. The problem is they will eventually have to merge or come up with a common format. Even though they currently don’t compete, the lack of one standard impedes the advancement. If the industry as a whole is going to move forward, they need to take the best of both and come up with one universal standard.”

Peckham: “They are approaching it from a different standpoint. ONVIF is more on the video side, while PSIA is more on the systematic approach to everything. I think that there’s room for both of them, there doesn’t necessarily have to be one per se.”
Why do you think the physical security industry is so slow to implement these standards? What is keeping us from moving forward?

Waterton: “It starts with the customer and those who direct their purchases. Our market’s long-term success depends on business model innovation, which starts with a compelling value proposition to the customer. Integrators have not learned to make the case of how standards reduce cost, accelerate value and create a robust and reliable solution. Standardization is a strategic business issue that costs all of us if it is not supported and integrated into our practices. This is not just a manufacturer issue.”

Oetjen: “The industry is full of proprietary boxes — every manufacturer has its own and the development depends on their availability to do research and development on that box. I think the reason standards have been slow to be adopted is simply because nobody wants to give up their proprietary box or share their information. The proprietary nature of our past has made our manufacturers slow to move to the center and adopt these standards. An additional fear is fear of losing margin, because once a standard comes into play it pushes things more towards a commodity because it’s more widely available.”


Nigel Waterton is vice president, Strategic Development at ASG. His key responsibility is to align the security roadmap for ASG’s clients with the capabilities of ASG’s professional services, engineering and implementation teams. He has been involved in the security industry since 1996.

Wayne Smith, CISSP, CISM, is vice president of sales at Tech Systems Inc. In his role, Smith leads his team in providing network and converged security solutions to end-users and Fortune 500 companies. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the IT and security industry.

Christopher Peckham, Ph.D., P.E., is senior VP and CTO at Kratos Public Safety & Security Solutions Inc. (Kratos|HBE), where he leads the team’s efforts in complex projects and programs. He is the driver of the technology efforts taken on to maintain thought leadership in the company’s industries with regard to the effects of market trends.

Ron Oetjen is president and co-founder of Intelligent Access Systems of North Carolina. He is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP), a Certified Security Project Manager (CSPM) and member of the American Society for Industrial Security. He has more than 17 years of combined experience in the electronics and security industry.

Bill Bozeman, CPP, CHS, is president and CEO of PSA Security Network. He has 28 years of experience in the security systems integration business and has been successful in both corporate and entrepreneurial environments. In 2005, he was inducted into the Security Integration Hall of Fame. Bozeman currently serves as chairman of Virtual Distribution Management and chairman of Integrator Support LLC.