Group publishes specification for improving interoperability of IP video surveillance

The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance has released the initial specification for an IP video application programming interface intended to make video surveillance systems more interoperable.

Version 1.0 of the IP Media Device API specification can be used at no cost and is available for download from the organization here.

“This is important because with what has been published people can build it into products,” PSIA Executive Director David Bunzel said. That could allow IP video equipment from multiple vendors to be plugged into a security system and work together. If the specification is widely adopted by the industry it could become a de facto standard, although Bunzel said PSIA hopes to get it before a formal standards-making body.

The specification is the first product of the alliance, which was formed in February 2008 to identify existing technology standards and help adapt them to the needs of the physical security industry. Increasingly, physical security is relying on IP networking for communication and control, and is being integrated into logical security for IT systems. But making equipment from different vendors operate together in the same system often requires writing custom programming interfaces for each product, a cumbersome process that PSIA hopes to pare down.

“We didn’t want to reinvent a lot of this work,” Bunzel said. “A lot of this existed already.”

However, early on the group discovered opportunities to deal with several issues with its own specifications, primarily in IP video. A member company submitted its own work on an IP video standard to the group for review. It was released for public comment in September, and in February the first service model was released. The Physical Security Interoperability Model establishes a top-level hierarchy for describing standards and protocols. It provides a registry and glossary of common protocols and terms that can be referenced by individual use cases. Version one of the API specification was released March 18.

Bunzel said the group’s next product, expected in the not-too-distant future, probably would be a video analytics specification. Working groups also are addressing the areas of IP video recording, content management and physical access control and intrusion prevention.

The member companies include Adesta, Arecont Vision, Cisco Systems, GE Security, Genetec, IBM, IQinVision, Johnson Controls, March Networks NICE Systems, ObjectVideo, OnSSI, Pelco, SCCG, Stanley Security and Texas Instruments.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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