The Internet of Things (IoT) is finding its intake into the security and safety industry. Developments around the IoT, if observed from a distance, carry along products and solutions with a closer fit for its eventual users. Connectivity makes life easier for users, leading to opportunities such as remote and predictive maintenance.  

If one observes the security and safety market in parallel from the inside out, it becomes subject to another, impactful transformation: Traditional ‘pipeline’ business models where one supplier develops and produces an entire solution under one brand name is starting to shift toward an ecosystem economy where multiple stakeholders offer all the elements required to meet varying customer needs. 

Finding ways to collaborate in an ecosystem economy requires manufacturers to consider new topics, such as: Which open standards can I use when developing hardware and software solutions? How are these standards developed and can they be influenced? Who manages and owns these standards and the underlying ecosystem?  

The Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA) created an open ecosystem for the security and safety industry where everyone can join and participate. Its mission is to enhance trust and create new business opportunities by fueling innovation and agreeing on standards and common approaches. As a first step, OSSA published its Technology Stack for video security devices. It anchors OSSA’s philosophy and describes how to create a precise level of harmony across video security cameras. In more detail, OSSA envisions that the majority of the video security devices from different brands work by using common application programming interfaces (APIs); a common and vendor-agnostic operating system (OS); and by supporting one common IoT infrastructure to match supply and demand in the market. Video security manufacturers, software vendors and other relevant stakeholders also agree to implement OSSA standards and approaches defined for industry challenges such as data security, product performance and easy consumption of data across multiple devices. 

This OSSA-approach is already being adopted and leads to the first “driven by OSSA” video security cameras from different brands. These cameras will enable security integrators to shop online for an array of vendor agnostic software apps, and select and upload to the camera those that best meet their client’s expectations.  

The open ecosystem economy will fuel innovation by facilitating the industry to tap into the enormous data potential offered by the IoT. It is this data together with the OSSA-enabled connectivity that form ‘the new oil’ for our industry to empower new services. These transformations will allow for service-models like remote configuration, commissioning and maintenance. This will bring peace of mind for end users, while providing recurring revenue opportunities for security integrators. Further business potential for systems integrators and other stakeholders like application developers would be to develop their own software applications that can convert data into valuable and customer-specific insights, for example. Afterwards, all that remains is adding these apps to the cameras. — Contributed by Gijs van den Heuvel, Alliance Marketing Expert for Bosch Security Systems and Co-Marketing Committee Chair for the Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA) 

This article is a companion article to SDM’s Security Services feature. Read the full feature on Opportunities in Security as a Service here!