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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 Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives. Well versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is a nationally known figure in demand as an industry presenter and subject matter expert to mainstream media. He is responsible for developing many unique products and programs, including the SSI Industry Hall of Fame, Control Panel (industry’s first E-mail newsletter), Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ), Marketing Marvel, Installers of the Year, Integrated Installation of the Year, Security Industry Census, Systems Integration Study, Installation Business Report, Operations & Opportunities Report, Commercial End-User Study and Security’s Fantastic Fleets. Recognized for his relationship building, integrity and lead-by-example ethic, Goldfine is a solutions-oriented team player who advises and collaborates with industry dealer/integrator, consultant, distributor, central station and manufacturer icons, luminaries and executive business leaders on a daily basis. He is also actively involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), PSA-Tec, SAMMY Awards, International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC), Electronic Security Technology Summit (ESTS), Mission 500, Electronic Security Expo (ESX), ASIS Int’l, Honeywell CONNECT and other supplier conventions. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee and PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council. A certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast, Goldfine graduated with honors from Cal State, Northridge with a management degree in Radio-Television-Film. His professional media endeavors have encompassed magazines, Internet, radio, TV, film, records, teletext and books. Goldfine resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, son and three cats.
Contact Scott Goldfine: [email protected]
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