As always, ISC West offered great sessions, plenty of attendees and an exhibit hall chock-full of the latest technologies and awe-inspiring analytics. But one thing that grabbed our attention at the show was an understated topic, nearly a whisper that emerged from conversations in a handful of exhibit booths or over cocktails at dinner. While not fully defined or even clearly understood, this initiative certainly speaks to a need in the security space and could significantly impact video, one of the most essential tools of security, in the months and years to come.
Over the last two decades, video technology providers have been in a race to release the latest cameras with advanced capabilities and accompanying video management systems (VMS) whose unique features and functionality delighted customers. The result has been a patchwork of vendors and solutions that are largely proprietary and difficult to comingle.
ONVIF took the first stab at establishing some basic compliance standards to ensure that devices and software would offer a basic, guaranteed level of functionality: base camera functionality including the ability to view live video, access recorded video, etc. regardless of device, platform, or VMS.
Mobile apps, cloud-based systems and edge computing are driving the need for more interoperability. The Open Security and Safety Alliance (OSSA) is taking steps to establish some level of standardization around video platforms and apps. The concept is as follows: a baseline of security and interoperability is needed for the swath of video apps. If the movement proceeds to gain traction, Andriod-based mobile solutions that are OSSA compliant will offer a baseline of security measures and interoperability measures. For example, if security updates are due or vulnerabilities are detected, the mobile solution will be automatically updated. These products will also offer a certain degree of standard functionality and interoperability.
Some of the key players, including Bosch, are pushing for the advancement of OSSA and its standards. At ISC West, Bosch introduced Security and Safety Things (SAST), an open platform video app store, signaling a desire for collaboration among major providers.
While proprietary features and differentiators are important to technology providers, there is also recognition that customers need to be able to achieve security and compatibility to some reasonable standard. That specific line of compatibility has yet to be defined, as does the buy-in of stakeholders across the board. However, these rumblings and the initiation of SAST point to the fact that operational compatibility that is needed in the marketplace.
It will be interesting to see the speed with which advancements are made and adoption occurs. As customers adopt and deploy new technologies at an unprecedented pace, their desire to maximize their investments and ensure value will grow. Vendors must find that thin line between capitalizing on proprietary features vs. offering the benefits of compatibility. Telaid will continue to monitor how this buzz behind the scenes advances into a major theme in the industry.