Vacationing with my family last month in northern Wisconsin, we stopped in Chippewa Falls to tour the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. These amazing brewery buildings and barns (the beer used to be delivered by horse-drawn carriages), erected in 1876, are a sight to see and contrast sharply with the computerized mixers and brew kettles contained inside. In an alley between two, three-story red brick buildings there is a spot where, on a windy day, it sometimes “rains beer.” This is caused by the moisture that is exhausted from brew kettles located on an upper floor.

Does an alley in Wisconsin where it rains beer have anything to do with this month’s issue of SDM? Absolutely not, but I thought you would find it as intriguing as I did!

This month I’d like you to turn to page 125 and glance at SDM’s Technology Solutions & Skills. This department is a transformation of our long-standing Kinks & Hints, which was phased out in the beginning of the year. Back in the day when alarm panels were more popular than video cameras, installers prided themselves on devising customized security systems using wire and relays to make equipment perform in a way it wasn’t originally engineered to do – to cause an alarm signal to trigger a microphone or a buzzer or a light, perhaps. These self-professed security system architects would reveal their ideas to their peers through the pages of Kinks & Hints.

Today’s security equipment seems to allow less room for “tinkering.” In fact, getting systems to interoperate often requires sophisticated partnerships among equipment manufacturers and software developers. There are more and more of these partnerships being melded, as well as training programs to support the complex solutions that sometimes result; hence, Technology Solutions & Skills was born to keep you better apprised of the ways in which you can still create those “customized security systems.”

Although security products today are more likely to be interoperable than they were only two years ago, the way to open architecture has been improved from a dirt road to a paved avenue. At press time, the Security Industry Association (SIA) made an important announcement: On August 20, SIA released an American National Standard, ANSI/SIA OSIPS-01. SIA calls it the “foundation for all of SIA’s Open Systems Integration and Performance Standards (OSIPS) family of standards,” a framework for the future.

Chair of the Standards Pan Industry Data Model Subcommittee, Hunter Knight, said, “The framework is the parent of the OSIPS family of standards. All OSIPS Standards derive from it, ensuring the opportunity for broad interoperability and integrability of OSIPS-compliant products in diverse markets.” Knight also is president of Integrated Command Software Inc.

As they get involved making OSIPS-compliant products, manufacturers will benefit because they “will likely see expanding markets as their products are adopted to fit new purposes,” Knight described. Participants in the standard-making activities have already expressed the additional benefit that comes from helping shape the industry’s future.

According to SIA, “OSIPS enables the open integration of different types of components within the enterprise systems. It is essential to establish precise definitions of shared system elements and common means to communicate. The OSIPS Framework provides requisite definitions, including interface infrastructure requirements and special interfaces for shared activities, such as event reporting, schedules exchange, and other common elements.”

As the framework for open systems standards evolves and is manifested in the security solutions that you buy, the benefits will become apparent – from easing your ability to integrate products from multiple manufacturers into a single solution for customers, to improving the efficiency of your internal operations, to creating new opportunities for your company’s services in new markets. Greater than raining beer? Absolutely!

For information about the new OSIPS-01 visit