PSIA releases conformance test tools

Market should now see 'a bunch of products released'
Thursday, June 17, 2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance, a group promoting specifications that make IP-enabled security devices interoperable, has now released its first set of conformance tools, which will allow manufacturers to prove they adhere to PSIA’s IP Media Device specification. Essentially, VMS and camera makers will now be able to prove their products will work with one another, right out of the box.

This is important, said Ian Johnston, CTO at IQinVision, because “we see the specification as being useless without the testing tool. If everyone’s writing to slightly different versions of the spec, then the spec is worthless. Without this tool, it’s been very difficult to prove we’re PSIA compliant.”

Developed by third-party firm Omeon Solutions, the conformance test is self-performed. The manufacturers request a piece of software that behaves like video management software, requesting to start a stream, and then evaluates what is returned by the camera. Then “you get a score card that shows your compliance,” said Johnston, who helped develop the PSIA specification and said he was pushing hard for the test. “If you’re compliant, then you submit your report that is generated automatically to the PSIA and then the PSIA will publish the vendor and camera names on its web site.”

A check of should assure integrators whether manufacturers are compliant with the spec. Johnston predicted this would initiate a flood of PSIA-compliant products being released into the marketplace. “I think you’ll see a bunch of products released in the next little while,” he said. “We’ll certify our products with the release tools. I can’t speak for other vendors, but I know the same is true for them. I would imagine that you’ll see partners start populating that list pretty quickly.”

This confidence of compliance, he said, would also increase the pace at which cameras are released, simply because companies who comply won’t have to wait for PSIA-compliant VMS makers like Milestone, Genetec, OnSSI, Exacq, etc., to integrate the cameras before they are released. “Now, as long as we’re PSIA-compliant,” said Johnston, “we can release any time and it’s instantly usable by the end user.”

According to the PSIA’s provided information, board, associate and venture members have access to the conformance tools as part of their membership. “User level” members, the newest entry-level membership, have access to one set of tools as part of their membership. Any others they need would be available at a cost of $1,000 per tool, when those are released for other specifications. Companies that are not current PSIA members will have access to the tools at a cost of $1,000 each.

Johnston said these fees were not out of the ordinary for showing compliance with a specification. “If you want to be complaint to the MP4 media spec,” he said, by way of example, “you have to pay just to get what the standard is, then for the conformance tools. It’s certainly out of the norm, and usually the fee is much, much higher than $1000. And what it boils down to is that we had this done by a third party, and that’s something the PSIA had to pay for.”