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.”