Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the PSIA

Q.  When and why was the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) formed?
A.   The PSIA was founded in February 2008 and officially incorporated in March 2009. Our objective is to develop specifications for physical security technology that enables plug-and-play interoperability across an beyond the security ecosystem.

Q.  What is a standard and how does that differ from a specification?
A.   A standard is a specification that has been formally vetted and accredited as a standard by one of several internationally recognized standards-setting bodies, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

PSIA specifications may someday go through a standards accreditation process if its members decide that is necessary. In the meantime, its specifications can become de-facto industry standards, as leading industry manufacturers adopt them. Our specifications are detailed, robust, and rigorously tested by our working groups and members.

Q.  Why should the industry adopt PSIA specifications vs. other security specifications?
A.   The PSIA follows accepted technology industry practices for developing specifications. That is, instead of one or two market-dominating vendors dictating specification content, our specs are developed with input from a wide range of vendors working in a variety of security industry spaces. Each PSIA working group is made of members from a variety of companies who collaborate on the specifications that will best serve the industry as a whole.

Also, the PSIA is taking a systems-level approach to specifications. That is, rather than focus on getting one device to work with another, we are looking at how security systems can best exchange data and intelligence.

This focus means manufacturers are still free to build unique features and functions into their products, with the PSIA specifications ensuring that the data generated from them can be shared with other components of a security solution.

Q.   How is a PSIA specification developed?
A.   There are a variety of ways a specification can be developed, including a submission of a core document by a member company or a working group submission based on input from the committee members.  In either case the document is expanded and reviewed by its members, with consensus determining the features and characteristics of the specification.

Q.   What specifications does the PSIA offer?
A. The PSIA has seven specifications. Three of these are considered system specifications: The Service Model, PSIA Common Metadata & Event Model; and the PSIA Common Security Model. They form the “bookshelves” on which the functional specifications rest. The functional specifications currently are the IP Media Device; Recording and Content Management (RaCM); Video Analytics; and Area Control.  PLAI, while currently a profile which is part of the Area Control specification, will become a separate functional specification.

Q.   What if a PSIA specification changes? Will specifications be backwards-compatible?
A.   Yes, our goal is that our specifications will be backwards-compatible, meaning that a system or device compliant with an earlier version of a specification will still interoperate with systems complying with more recent versions of the specification.

Q.   What products are PSIA compliant today?
A.   More than 1500 companies have registered for the 1.0 IP Media Device specification since its initial release in March 2008.  This is now considered a legacy specification and no longer has active development.  There continue to be some commercially available products and systems that are PSIA-compliant to this spec, including physical information management (PSIM) systems; video management systems; surveillance cameras; video analytics; access control systems; and sensors and intrusion detection devices. Lists of conformant products to the IP Media Device specification are available here.  Current PSIA activity is focused on Access Control and the PLAI specification.  Conforming products are listed here.

Q.   Who are PSIA’s members?
A.   Our members including leading manufacturers, systems integrators, consultants and end users. A sampling of our participating companies includes Allegion, AMAG Technology, Assa Abloy, Convergint, Eyelock, Honeywell, JCI/Tyco , Kastle Systems, Microsoft, Nokia, Princeton Identity, RightCrowd, Siemens, TechSystems, and UTCFS/Lenel.

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