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Backgrounder: The PSIA Family of Specifications


  • The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance has created seven complementary specifications that enable systems and devices to interoperate and exchange data and intelligence within and beyond the security ecosystem.                                                                                                                          
  • Three of these specifications are the “reference works” for the family of specifications. These are the Service Model; PSIA Common Metadata & Event Model; and the PSIA Common Security Model.  These “common models” define and describe various security events as well as computer network and software protocols relevant to security devices and systems.                                                                         
  • The other four PSIA specifications correspond to domains in the security ecosystem. These are the IP Media Device specification, Recording and Content Management spec, Video Analytics spec and Area Control spec. These base their communications about security events on the PSIA Common Metadata & Event Model, one of the reference works described above.                                                                   
  • Physical-Logical Access Interoperability Working Group: This group, formed in September 2013, is developing a specification to unify logical and physical identities so that security industry manufacturers, integrators and end users can develop cost effective, easily administered solutions that span the physical and logical security domains.                                                                                               

  • With PSIA-compliant devices and systems all communicating based on the same reference work, it is easy for alarms, events and intelligence captured by one system to be shared with other systems and applications without translations or custom interface programming.                                       


The Benefits


  • The PSIA specifications clearly define how security devices will communicate, so manufacturers can greatly reduce the amount of time and money spent on application programming interfaces (APIs) and other integration helpers. That frees resources manufacturers can reallocate to developing new features and functions for their products.                                                                                                            
  • With plug-and- play integration enabled by the PSIA specifications, consultants, integrators and end users can build solutions based on “best of breed” products and how systems will use the data and intelligence they share. That’s in contrast to allocating substantial portions of budget and time to writing custom code and scripts to integrate systems from different manufacturers.                                            
  • Systems and devices interoperating based on a common event language make it easy to provide security operators with a single, unified view of security data. Similarly, events captured by one device compliant with the PSIA specifications can easily trigger automated responses or alerts in other systems. These capabilities make managing security events easier and more effective.                                 
  • The PSIA specifications are backward-compatible, so even as they are enhanced, devices compliant with older versions will continue to work with those compliant with newer versions of specifications.                    
  • Custom interfaces and scripts connecting security systems often need to be tweaked whenever an operating system or application software is upgraded, even if only in one system. The PSIA specifications are unaffected by these activities and so eliminate the traditional costs associated with maintaining custom interfaces and coding.


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