ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: The Roundtable Discussion Continues …
Yunag: I have a generic quick question for everybody regarding the concept of physical security information management, or PSIM. I think that a lot of people have applied it so far to just large enterprise-type customers, but really I think the concept we’re talking about here on the managed services side is that we’re really managing all that physical security information. And my question specifically is, to me for that to fully materialize, standards have to continue to emerge. You know, the things people are talking about like ONVIF, PSIA and all of these things on the video side that kind of facilitates that on a larger scale. Do you thi
nk that happens in the near future? Again, my background is in IT, so I think standards are possible. If it’s possible for the complexity and the scale of the IT world and standards like Ethernet and some of these other things, then why not the metadata attached to security? It just seems like it’s so long overdue, and yet it never seems to materialize. I’m just curious. You’ve gone through the process, Matt, of evaluating these platforms and picking best of breed. Did you have conversations of who potentially has a vision for the standards maturing and being a valuable platform?
Ladd: You know, standards is one of the interesting parts is that there aren’t any. That’s probably one of the most difficult issues. Even in the video world, I would have thought that with IP video, by now, we would have all been running on the same platforms and it wouldn’t matter what the camera was. But you’re still running with those issues of compatibility. The manufacturers are going to find a way to standardize this stuff. Obviously, we as an industry can help drive that, but that is probably the biggest thing that you still have to deal with. Because there are no standards, some little software change by a DVR manufacturer can mess up the analytics software or the video monitoring. That’s was one of the biggest horror stories we heard throughout this whole process of looking is, ‘Oh yeah, this is working fine. We’ve done that. That manufacturer made a change and we don’t have it anymore,’ and it still doesn’t work.
Trapanese: One of our challenges, when you’re talking about software folks and PSIM, is you really need software-savvy people, not IT-savvy people and not network-savvy people. We deployed a PSIM system. It’s been up and running for less than six months. It’s extraordinarily difficult to do, and it’s extremely expensive. Every little upgrade or twitch by somebody else has this ripple effect through the system. The industry is not there yet. I believe PSIM will drive a lot of change in the industry because it will sort out the proprietary perspective of manufacturers and make them a commodity from an access control perspective. They need to provide greater value for an enterprise system.
Yunag: If that were to occur, it would provide tremendous value for end users, but it would completely change the landscape of this business entirely.
Trapanese: At the moment, it’s way too expensive.
Yunag: It’s just unsustainable to rely on proprietary coding between platforms rather than a standard information exchange to propel that forward. It’s just an unsustainable pace, or an unsustainable method of maintaining that system-wide communication and it’s just simply not reliable enough for us to entrust our largest customers to that proprietary code interaction. There needs to be some sort of standards to exchange information between different systems. I would love to be able to sell that to my customers. Many customers would love to see that come into fruition.
Trapanese: All that said; it’s a heck of a lot of fun!
Levine: I’ve been watching the ONVIF approach. I think it’s entertaining; it’s not real. I mean, the idea that a trade show has to have a ‘quick connect party.’ ‘Bring me your camera, plug it in and let’s see if we can see it on our DVR over here because it complies with the standards.’ It’s not real; it’s entertainment. Yes, they are providing the video, but they’re not providing any of the intelligence, they’re not providing any of the tutorial; it’s not providing any of the sophistication that the camera has or the DVR, but yet they can see it. Getting past that point, talking about making them play together, and as you even commented, you make one little change and you create a domino effect. And if you screw something up downstream, it will happen. How long will that take? We’re not going to bet on it. We’re certainly going to try to maintain everything as standardized as possible with what we’ve got because we don’t want to be paying the money. I appreciate that you say, ‘Here it is.’ Fine, but I also strongly appreciate that you say that it’s really expensive. And when you say it’s expensive, I don’t interpret that as a customer’s expense.
Trapanese: I feel it’s really expensive to the customer …
Levine: But it’s expensive to you, too.
Trapanese: And it’s expensive to us as well.
Looking into the crystal ball, when in the relative near future will we almost be like IT in terms of open platforms? How long will it take for this proprietary mentality to fade into the background?
Levine: Matt, you have alarm monitoring and annunciation of alarm conditions. You have managed access and managing door status action. You have video that’s going to connect to the alarm monitoring and then the access control as in-person indexes, and you’re also going to have the video as just raw video data. How long will it take for all of those to be on one standardized platform?
Ladd: I don’t know. It’s going to take consolidation. That’s really going to be your biggest way, I guess. It’s tough. And one of the other problems we’re facing is legacy. There are legacy products out there still that have to be supported in some manner, too. So that’s one of the things in the managed services. It would be all fine and dandy, I guess, if I could build my own thing, but I still have to use whatever existing reader technology is out there, whatever existing IP cameras are out there because one manufacturer doesn’t – probably can’t – do it at all. So, to see that come through, it’s going to take awhile and probably some major software overlay.
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