Security industry standards are in a constant state of transformation and the Security Industry Association (SIA) is at the forefront, producing standards that enable the exchange of information between disparate systems and components. A historic failure to provide a framework for interoperability among security system components has imposed limits on end users and integrators. This includes limits on acceptable equipment and use of the system, making support of evolving requirements costly. Because of lack of a common framework, integrators and end-users who have had to switch systems in order to adapt to changing requirements, face large switching costs.

Creating standards increases competition, leading to reduced costs and rapid product improvements. By adopting a common interoperability framework, dealers, integrators and end-users can adapt to new requirements easier; a common framework also establishes a basis for integrators to obtain predictable performance. Bottom line —with standards, dealers and integrators will have alternatives for more predictable products that can be installed more efficiently.

SIA, a non-profit industry association that also is an accredited standards development organization of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), currently is pursuing standards activities related to core component interfaces including an:
  • access control interface, which is addressing the information that, traditionally, has been handled by the head-end servers in the security enterprise.
  • digital video interface, which is dealing with the exchange of information with the video server, cameras and even encoders.
  • access point controller interface, which impacts the exchange of information from any portal controllers, card readers, as well as other devices such as biometrics.

In addition, new work has begun on application areas such as identity and card management systems to define the methodology and the exchange of information between access control and badging systems. All of these activities rely on a framework for much needed information and is referred to as the “OSIPS Framework.”


While current standards activities focus on the definitions for the exchange of information, SIA’s Standards Committee is also looking at a Standards Roadmap of future standards activities. First and foremost is the development of a new taxonomy and reference model of the enterprise security system.

Standards establish the domain and performance of the components of systems. They establish the relationships between system elements, thereby providing the foundation for a taxonomy that supports the description of systems. Future systems will be described by a new standards-based taxonomy. Most of its founding concepts will be imported from the information technology (IT) world that has enabled the transformation of many other industry elements.

Look for specialized hardware being replaced by software (called applications) running on generic computing platforms, except in specific areas.

In the new taxonomy, field devices implement special technologies and although they will become smarter and more capable, they will exist because of the unique technologies they contain.

Edge devices provide a connection point for field devices to contact the core of the system. While smarter field devices may replace edge devices, edge devices provide a point of integration for the diverse field devices required to implement systems’ functionality at specific locations. An example is a portal or access point controller. Edge devices provide a point of independent operation that a robust system must provide at broadly distributed locations.

The supporting framework activity is well underway as are the above component-specific interfaces and application areas. SIA’s standards efforts will focus on different security application areas. Exciting times are ahead for the security industry and opportunities for dealers and integrators will be just as exciting.