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PSIA Panel Promotes Urgency of Open Industry Standards

As physical security becomes more emeshed in the logical world on networks it becomes ever more imperative for the establishment of device, system and installation standards. This is an area that has been sorely lacking in the electronic security realm, and so it has justifiably been receiving more attention.…

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As physical security becomes more emeshed in the logical world on networks it becomes ever more imperative for the establishment of device, system and installation standards. This is an area that has been sorely lacking in the electronic security realm, and so it has justifiably been receiving more attention. Still, there remains much work to be done.

There are three organizations that have been spearheading this movement: the Security Industry Association (SIA); Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF); and Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA). We have written fairly extensively about all of them in the print and Web pages of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. In this column, I am going to focus on PSIA since I recently attended a roundtable discussion the group help during the ASIS show in Orlando, Fla.

Founded in 2008, PSIA is a global consortium of more than 65 physical security manufacturers and systems integrators focused on promoting interoperability of IP-enabled security devices across all segments of the security industry. The organization promotes a systems-based approach to all security and facility management interoperability needs. More than 1,500 companies have registered for the PSIA-approved specification.   


Moderated by James Connor, principal/CEO of N2N Secure, the standing-room-only ASIS session featured Mike Faddis, group manager for Microsoft Global Security; Bill Minear, senior consultant with TRUSYS; ; and Carlos Pinel, security systems program manager for Cisco Systems.

They provided perspective and how they have begun to think about standards, how they are important to their organizations, and how to drive their management and manufacturers to begin to adopt standards. Key points included: the real cost of a physical security system; integrating various security components; how to eliminate the rip-and-replace cycle; critical needs from the industry; and whether standards are going to resonate with manufacturers, integrators and end users alike.

Faddis cited the cloud computing phenomenon, a.k.a. security as a service (SaaS), as making standards a higher priority than ever, especially from his vantage point since this trend is happening faster than most anticipate. “That’s why standards like PSIA are so critical to provide roapmaps that enable interoperability,” he said. “Standards are mandatory to achieve cloud ubiquity.”

Minear, a security veteran of more than 30 years, expressed frustration with established industry suppliers moving too slowly or ignoring altogether the need to abandon proprietary offerings and thinking. “Manufacturers must standardize and go with open platforms or they will no succeed,” he promised. “It will be required of manufacturers, and end users are demanding it.”

The panel was in consensus on the concept of investing in openness today to realize higher profits down the line. “Physical security needs to follow Microsoft, Cisco and other IT world leaders,” said Connor. “Now is the time to be proactive rather than kicking and screaming. The security industry needs to push toward middle ground so as not to leave it up to those IT companies to do it without that input or involvement.”

The ultimate objective, according to Minear, is to be able “to interface any device or system without restriction.” Ironically, while PSIA promotes unification where standards are concerned the group apparently remains somewhat at odds with ONVIF despite both seeking similar results. When the question of unifying PSIA and ONVIF, which appears to have more traction overall in the marketplace, was raised the sentiment was it was unlikely to happen anytime soon.

For now, I urge you to become members of or at least closely follow these groups and participate where appropriate. Because standardization is a matter of when and not if.

Scott Goldfine      

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About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott joined SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in October 1998 and has distinguished himself by producing award-winning, exemplary work. His editorial achievements have included blockbuster articles featuring major industry executives, such as Tyco Electronic Products Group Managing Director Gerry Head; Protection One President/CEO Richard Ginsburg; former Brink’s Home Security President/CEO Peter Michel; GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda; Bosch Security Systems President/CEO Peter Ribinski; and former SecurityLink President/CEO Jim Covert. Scott, who is an NTS Certified alarm technician, has become a respected and in-demand speaker at security industry events, including presentations at the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting; California Alarm Association (CAA) Summer and Winter Conferences; PSA Security Network Conference; International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC); and Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum. Scott often acts as an ambassador to mainstream media and is a participant in several industry associations. His previous experience as a cable-TV technician/installer and running his own audio company -- along with a lifelong fascination with electronics and computers -- prepared Scott well for his current position. Since graduating in 1986 with honors from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio-Television- Film, his professional endeavors have encompassed magazines, radio, TV, film, records, teletext, books, the Internet and more. In 2005, Scott captured the prestigious Western Publisher Maggie Award for Best Interview/Profile Trade for "9/11 Hero Tells Tale of Loses, Lessons," his October 2004 interview with former FDNY Commander Richard Picciotto, the last man to escape the Ground Zero destruction alive.
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