OSE taps neutral management firm, ISTO, to run the group

Friday, August 1, 2003

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - An independent management firm has been hired by the Open Security Exchange to help manage the organization that was formed earlier this year to define best practices and promote vendor neutral specifications for the integration of IT and physical security.

Though a final contract has yet to be signed, the Industry Standards and Technology Organization will help the OSE with day-to-day operations, such as handling finances, member recruitment and providing a single place for people to call for information about the organization.

The OSE, founded by Computer Associates, HID Corp., Tyco’s Software House, Gemplus and Pinkerton, has faced skepticism from critics who questioned the true neutrality of the group since it was formed by the biggest names in the IT and physical security markets.

“This provides assurance to the industry that the OSE is a vendor-neutral environment to develop specifications and best practice guidelines,” said Greg Kohn, director of industry program operations for ISTO, which is part of IEEE, a non-profit professional society for electrical and electronics engineers.

Though an independent group is just now beginning to manage the OSE, that was the organization’s plan all along. OSE organizers said earlier that a separate entity would need to administer the organization to help facilitate its growth and foster a truly neutral organization.

In a few short months since its inception, a new member has already joined OSE’s ranks, with more poised to come onboard shortly, said Tim Whitman, a spokesperson for Computer Associates. Siemens Building Technologies joined at the end of June, becoming the sixth company to participate.

Within the next month, the OSE plans to begin recruiting new members, but membership will come at a price. Kohn said it will cost a company $15,000 a year to join at a contributor membership level, enabling a company to participate in technical groups and carry voting rights. Another level of membership has also been earmarked for non-profit organizations with no fee attached.