The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA), established in 2008, recently held an educational session near Chicago, one of a series of free educational seminars to be held throughout 2010. PSIA members offered presentations aimed at educating attendees about the work that PSIA does — developing technology interoperability standards for the security industry.


David Bunzel, executive director, PSIA, explained a structure centered on a core working group that ensures collaboration and integration of five focused working groups in IP video, video analytics, recording and content management, area control, and systems.


Thomas Hines, president, SecureMatrix, and industry consulting firm, gave his perspective on the necessity of standards, saying that having each manufacturer establish its own criteria is not conducive to a stable industry and that the architect, engineering, consultant, and end user communities must be involved in establishing standards. Hines cited the fire industry as an example of successful implementation of standards, where these guidelines have become code — and although there is variation at the state and city levels, a certain cohesion is maintained.


Presentations from PSIA members explained the process of developing standards from inception, through various researching and problem-solving steps to the point where they are ready for public review and then implementation. Bob Cutting, vice president, product management at Object Video and chairman of the video analytics working group, stressed that “the days of the video analytic company that has its own independent software systems are over,” a concept that applies to other areas of the security industry, as well.


There was a lot of interaction between the presenters and audience, and the concensus seemed to be that analog systems are often no longer the most cost-effective option and energy efficiency requirements point to integrated IP systems as the unavoidable evolution of the security system. Interoperability of security components is becoming an important concern for the industry as demand rises for products that can be simply “plugged in.” PSIA’s mission is to facilitate these kinds of systems through license-free standards and specifications.