The significance of standards and ecosystems
The security industry is undergoing a profound change as security technology evolves in the digital age. That is a given, an obvious truth. But a concurrent evolution — the continuing development of a business ecosystem that links competing companies, their suppliers and their customers in the security industry — is inextricably linked to how that profound change will result in a healthy marketplace, according to security industry consultant David Bunzel.
“There are challenges,” says Bunzel, executive director of the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA), which negotiates standards for the worldwide development of security technology. Bunzel is also founder and managing director of Santa Clara Consulting Group, which tracks market information on technology markets.
A standards-based market
Bunzel says that a foundation of standards in the security industry is essential, despite the challenges of negotiating the specifics in open forums involving industry leaders from around the world. “Money is involved, business is involved, proprietary technology is involved. But I think we have been able to convince people that there is a certain amount of heavy lifting that everybody has to do that is redundant. We are not trying to replace the proprietary features that companies use to differentiate their products.”
What is needed, and what is happening slowly, is the introduction of security systems with components that can ‘talk’ to one another, regardless of which manufacturer makes them. “Right now in the security industry,” Bunzel says, “there is this concept of ‘Rip and Replace’. Basically, if you want to upgrade, many times you have to rip out the old system and totally put in a new one because the two systems are incompatible. We now have the ways and means to future-proof your system.” These ways and means involve technology standards that seamlessly integrate different security systems and their components, among them locking devices, access cards and video monitoring devices.
“If customers can upgrade any one part of the system, in a standards-based market, those customers can make incremental changes more often”
“So you have a reason to go back to your customers more often and potentially have sales that happen on an on-going basis.”
Ecosystems for home automation
Integrated systems will also provide more value to the customers. “If you are talking security,” Bunzel says, “it means having all these different systems ‘talking’ to each other in the same ‘language’ and actually doing a much better job of securing facilities and operations and minimizing risk and protecting employees. It can also transcend into people’s homes.”
Individuals can now monitor their homes remotely through new technology that is attracting more companies into the home control market. “Home automation is definitely an area all these companies are looking into,” Bunzel says.
Google is delving in through its acquisition of Nest Labs and the Dropcam security camera it now owns. Apple is more arms-length, says Bunzel, and may be approaching the home market through apps which will make it easier for individuals to manage and monitor devices. “I haven’t heard specifically about initiatives, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple had some in the works. They’re trying to figure out how to make people’s lives easier with technology.”
In a standards-based industry, you find out that the market grows better and faster and bigger.
More competition means a Business Ecosystem in security is even more essential. “I think now there is a greater acceptance of collaboration between companies in a common industry,” Bunzel says. “And, when I say collaboration, I mean public collaboration. In a standards-based industry, you find out that the market grows better and faster and bigger. So that is one of the things that has changed in the last 20 years — this understanding. But we’re still dealing with some old-line industries that do not embrace that concept at all.”
Also read: Creating ecosystems in security
By Bruce Kirkland
David Bunzel is executive director of the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA), which negotiates standards for the worldwide development of security technology. Bunzel is also founder and managing director of Santa Clara Consulting Group, which tracks market information on technology markets. Bunzel began exploring surveillance video storage requirements in 2007. Bunzel convened a meeting of security industry leaders to discuss creating open standards in the physical security industry.