Moving towards open systems

In March, The Security Industry Association (SIA) released an American National Standard. This voluntary standard specifies interface requirements for the digital video component of a video surveillance solution.

The American National Standard ANSI/SIA OSIPS DVI-01:2008 SIA Open, Systems Integration and Performance Standards – Digital Video Interface Data Model marks an historic step on the path towards greater maturity in the market. It is the first in a series of standards from SIA’s Open Systems Integration and Performance Standards (OSIPS) body being developed to meet demand for compatibility with emerging IT products and services in the security industry.   

OSIPS is the name of a family of standards being developed by SIA. OSIPS stands for Open, System Integration and Performance Standards.  

Optional admission
“All standards are voluntary – meaning you don’t have to comply,” explains Gary Klinefelter, who is Vice President of Strategic Innovation for HID Global, and Chairman of the SIA Standards Committee. “However, you will need to comply if you see that your lack of support is a threat to your market share, or when you see how standards compliance represents a new business opportunity.”  

The security industry is seeing dramatic changes as IT and IP solutions become more prevalent and it has progressed to the point where solution providers are allowing end-users to easily select the best combination of products for their specific needs.  

“This is a real step towards open systems,” Klinefelter says. “It creates a framework for security devices to communicate in a fashion that did not exist before. The IT side of the house may say that we have lots of standards already, but I say that they are not tailored towards the security industry and its needs.”  

For end-users, the lack of standards has presented greater difficulty in integrating solutions together.  Also, for many enterprise and government clients the lack of standards means having to support more than one manufacturer’s head-end and monitoring software. Integration without standards always has problems when upgrading one or another manufacturer’s components. Proprietary systems limit customer choices.  

Broad support
The SIA’s OSIPS body of work is focused on two related areas: security systems integration standards that will lead to more flexible and effective application of security technologies and systems; and security equipment performance standards.

Participants represent a myriad of interested parties. On the side of the product developers, there are business development interests, as well as software engineering interests. End-users ensure that their own needs are met by the interfaces being defined.  

One benefit from participating in the standards development activity is being there at the start, when requirements are defined, and many participants are at the table to gain this knowledge, says Monica Rigano, SIA Director of Standards.  

“The bigger picture is that we are seeing a lot of end-users, government agencies, and corporations who know that they can come here with their requirements and see them implemented in products further down the road,” she points out. “This is a call to action for parts of the industry that have not yet embraced the concept of standards as a strategic component of their business. For some it requires a new mindset. But, there are many different flavors of initiatives. It is a way that participants can leverage their existing assets.”  

Gary Klinefelter adds that the voluntary, consensus-based industry standards will allow manufacturers “to simplify common tasks so they can focus on added-value for customers.”  

Implementing standards requires working with customers like in any product development process, he adds. “Creating standards should be done simultaneously with product development and customer testing. Standards efforts are a continuous cycle and once developed, they need to be maintained to accommodate new customer requirements.” 

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