Open Security & Safety Alliance showcases at ISC West 2019

April 10, 2019
The newly-formed group brings together like-minded organizations striving for common standardized industry technology systems

If there is any doubt that the physical security industry understands it has an issue related to its lack of commonality, unification and standardization, the evolving standards movement is proof the environment is sensitive to growing frustration among end users and integrators due to the lack of interoperability among systems. With security organizations, SIA, BICSI and ASIS International joining forces with standards initiatives like ONVIF and the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA), the impetus for real change is afoot.

The newest collective to join the standards fray spread its gospel in Las Vegas this past week at the ISC West event, as the Open Security & Safety Alliance brings its message to the industry regarding a common standardized platform for security and safety solutions. The OSSA members will be spread across the conference show floor. They include:

  • Anixter, Inc. (Booth 16039)
  • Bosch Building Technologies (Booth 11053)
  • Hanwha Techwin America (Booth 14079)
  • Milestone Systems (Booth 18053)
  • NetApp Inc. (Booth 24117)
  • Pelco by Schneider Electric (Booth 20031)
  • Security & Safety Things GmbH - SAST (Booth 10073)
  • Socionext Inc. (Booth 32107)
  • United Technologies Corp. (Booth 18019)
  • VIVOTEK Inc. (Booth 12089)

To schedule a meeting at ISC West 2019 with one of the many OSSA spokespeople and/or founding members, please contact OSSA at [email protected]. The group is also sponsoring an after-hours cocktail mixer on Wednesday, April 10 at Madame Tussauds. Attendance is limited and by invitation only. Editorial Director Steve Lasky arranged a Q&A session with several of the OSSA Board members prior to ISC West to learn a little more about the group’s mission and strategic plan.

SIW: What is the purpose of the Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA)?

Johan Jubbega, President of OSSA and Senior Vice President, General Manager at Bosch Building Technologies: The Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA) was formed in reaction to the continued evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the aggregation of data. Currently, security and safety solutions are fragmented and there’s no collaborative approach to the common challenges our industry faces – including cybersecurity, privacy protection and common operating systems.

Gert van Iperen --  Chairman of the OSSA Board of Directors, representative of Bosch Building Technologies: The currently planned framework provides standards and specifications for components including a common operating system, IoT infrastructure (e.g., common digital market place and software development environment), collective approach for data security and privacy, and a drive for higher performance of solutions in the industry. We’re excited to already have 20 forward-thinking organizations steering the OSSA Alliance. Together, we’re laying the groundwork for improved security, safety, building automation and business intelligence solutions.

SIW: How is OSSA different from some of the other more established vendor technology/standards group like ONVIF and PSIA?

Bjørn Skou Eilertsen, CTO at Milestone Systems: OSSA is focused on developing a specification for a common technology stack to cater to innovation and reduce fragmentation within the security and safety market. We have a common market approach to data security and privacy – driving the definition of a common and vendor-agnostic OS that together with the technology stack will fuel the development of value-added solutions for customers and users. Initiatives like ONVIF and PSIA are complementary to our cause and we hope to support one another and expect cross-over between members as we strengthen the category. Each organization’s scope is different, and we’re all promoting interoperability and standardization in our missions – which is key to our collective success.

SIW: Why is a common platform business model important for our industry at this point in the IoT’s evolution?

Jonguk Kim, Director of R&D Center for Hanwha Techwin: To drive innovation forward and add real value for customers using IoT-based security and safety products, the entire market needs to design and develop in the same direction. This can only be achieved by using a truly open platform business model and framework, which will enable the industry to together focus on advancing and developing new applications. Our purpose is to all start from a common business model to spur innovation and add value for users as they manage and monitor the property, people and situations around them.

SIW: With all the talk of IoT, what are the realities of these myriad connected devices talking and interacting with security systems and sensors, and do you regard this growing migration to IoT and AI a positive step for traditional physical security?

Pieter van de Looveren, Director of Marketing Communication at Bosch Security and Safety Systems: Artificial Intelligence is another technology that will be used to tackle challenges that cannot be solved today. A good example is facial recognition at airports or other applications. Without the use of AI, it is difficult to easily recognize persons in so-called “non-cooperative face recognition” situations. Non-cooperative means that the person to be detected is not necessarily aware of it and ideally faces the camera. Facial recognition software solutions based on AI can be used to find and identify missing or wanted persons or objects in more crowded scenes, identify VIPs, or to enhance customer experience with special offers, services and seamless access. These solutions typically overcome challenges such as occlusions, various angles and poor light conditions.

Gert van Iperen: Yes, this is a positive step for traditional physical security. Leveraging transformative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be mind-blowing. These are game-changing evolutions that will have an impact well-beyond our security and safety space. We foresee tying in many of the what’s learned and loved from other areas touched and propelled by IoT back into the security and safety markets. The beauty of cloud-based tech is that it can transcend the physical limitations of the past and innovation can quickly be applied to new areas such as camera hardware and software using a common platform approach.  In fact, the first prototype cameras based on the commonly defined OSSA Technology Stack and OS have been realized and will be showcased at ISC West 2019.

SIW: What type of companies should be interested in joining OSSA, and who has joined to date?

Owen Chen, Chairman for VIVOTEK: To date, we’re extremely pleased to have 20 members. We doubled our membership within the Alliance’s first six months. In addition to our five founding companies (Bosch Building Technologies, Hanwha Techwin, Milestone Systems, Pelco by Schneider Electric and VIVOTEK Inc.) we’re comprised of 15 additional international players from various business segments.

Jean-Marc Theolier, CEO of Pelco by Schneider Electric: We’ve generated a lot of interest in the past month alone, and after we wrap ISC West we expect to welcome another round of members to the fold. Companies that can benefit from and contribute to our collective cause include device manufacturers, software developers, system integrators, device component manufacturers such as system on a chip (SoC) manufacturers, installers and commissioners, service providers, management software providers, distributors, specifiers, consultants and others. Any business that touches the video surveillance, access control, intrusion and building automation markets including adjacent industries should be part of this important movement.

SIW: What do you consider the five key drivers for security and safety solutions in the next 24 months?

Johan Jubbega: I’d say the top drivers for OSSA over the next two years include 1) producing and driving the adoption of new standards and specifications for products and solutions in the security and safety market. We aren’t creating products – we’re creating a level playing field, or framework, from which everyone can start and prosper from. 

Jonguk Kim: The Alliance will also provide guidance on interpretation of these standards and specifications, with the aim here being to promote more intelligent, useful solutions for users. A third output is to establish agreed upon best practices for our industry in areas including data security, personal privacy, standardization of product performance specs (to offer the right levels of performance for the applications required by users and customers) and improved interoperability. These are all key to delivering users with a high-quality, reliable and innovative experience with their security and safety systems.

Jean-Marc Theolier: As the Alliance evolves, we may also introduce a certification program for hardware and software solutions to ensure they meet the agreed upon standards and specifications set forth by the Open Security & Safety Alliance to further enhance the levels of trust within the industry. So that’s another component on our roadmap for the next 24 months.

Owen Chen: In the next months we will further build our ecosystem of like-minded companies to further define our common way of working within the ecosystem. This will help to substantially reduce friction and ensure high levels of trust. Already today we have around 10 additional companies on our waiting list ready to join the Alliance.

SIW: Where can we find OSSA in upcoming months (what events)?

Bjørn Skou Eilertsen: More than half of our members will be at ISC West, of course. OSSA will also have a presence at IFSEC in June. In addition, our board organizations and members will represent the Alliance through their various conferences and channels throughout 2019. You can keep an eye on OSSA Events here.  For more information on OSSA got the website at