The business case for standards

 - 
Saturday, March 1, 2008

In the January Security Systems News article, "SIA releases IP standard, encourages compatibility" a quote was included implying the ANSI/SIA DC-09 standard took an inordinate amount of time to be published. Reading this made me realize again the importance of regularly communicating SIA's standards story to the industry at large. As chair of The Security Industry Association Standards Committee, I'd like to take a moment to clear-up this misperception and layout the bottom-line impact participation these activities can yield for your company.
What is the business case for standards? SIA is leading the way to create a family of standards that enable the integration of disparate security products within the security enterprise. Our goal is to fulfill demand for product standards that ease the construction of large systems and enable interoperability. SIA's Open, Systems Integration and Performance Standards (OSIPS) will meet these objectives.
Security solution providers participate in OSIPS activities for a variety of reasons. They may be considering new business opportunities relative to the size and growth of the security market, increasing government demand for security systems standards, or a range of other industry drivers for logical and physical convergence. All of these point to a need for standard interfaces for security systems and a standard way to communicate on the network.
In addition, end users continuously seek new ways to coordinate network applications to improve business value. Adopting standards enables manufacturers' products to be more extensible. There is also the potential for decreased costs in product development as well as faster time to market. Participating in OSIPS activities can help manufacturers in their own product strategy development efforts and provide them with a competitive edge.
The length of time it takes to develop a standard is impacted by a variety of factors, including scope of work, number of interested parties, and if the project will result in an American National Standard. There is no pre-determined time period from start to finish.
Regarding the IP standard in question in the article, the activity from project proposal approval to final publication took 18 months (less than two years)--a time well within standards developing organizations' averages. As an ANSI-accredited standards-developing organization, we take great pride in the products we deliver and want to ensure our record is accurately represented.
To learn more about standards and the strong business case inherent in their development, I encourage you to join me at ISC West for "OSIPS and the Future of the Security Industry," a 90-minute panel session on April 3, 2008. Featuring representatives from Cisco, Lehman Brothers and CH2M Hill, the session will examine the use of standards to compete in emerging security markets, how end users utilize standards and why OSIPS is the industry's path to standards success.
For details on OSIPS or to learn more about SIA's standards activities, visit www.siaonline.org/standards.

Gary Klinefelter is vice president of strategic innovation at HID Global and the chair of the SIA Standards Committee. He can be reached at gary.klinefelter@fargo.com.