SIA releases IP standard, encourages industry compatibility

Thursday, November 29, 2007

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--The Security Industry Association on Nov. 14 released a digital communication standard for Internet Protocol Event Reporting, ANSI/SIA DC-09-2007. This standard is intended to ensure equipment compatibility for IP-based reporting from a panel back to a receiver at a central station.
"What this standard does, is it establishes a preferred protocol for manufacturer independent implementation of Internet reporting," said Ted Nesse, DC-09 technical editor for SIA and vice president of technology for Sequel Technologies. "Now any manufacturer that implements this protocol can expect its panel to be able to report into a receiver at a central station that has a receiver which implements this protocol," he said.
This standard is intended to alleviate the need for central stations to own manufacturer-specific receivers to receive signals over IP. Morgan Hertel, vice president of The Command Center, a California contract central station, said that this incompatibility causes a lot of confusion and cost for central stations. "For every manufacturer, we have to invest a significant amount of cash into equipment" to receive their specific signals, he said. Ted Nesse of SIA said "the manufacturers I've talked to have been waiting for this day when the standard is officially released for sale."
"Manufacturers realize that open design standards are the way to go," Nesse said, "and that [central stations] resent it when they have to be manipulated into buying additional hardware just because they need it to be compatible."
And although it will "take time for manufacturers to choose to implement this" he expects this standard to have "solid commercial solutions in 2008."
While the standard seems to be welcomed by the industry, Hertel of The Command Center thinks SIA took too much time to release this standard.
"Five years is too long to crank out a standard," he said. "I realize some of the timeline is mandated within the ANSI process and the intent is to protect the process so there's plenty of time for public comment, but none of that causes a five-year timeline."
However, while Hertel thinks the standard took too long to address IP standards, he doesn't think it arrived too late to be effective.
"It's not that IP deployment has been so huge that we're too late [with this standard]," he said. "Central stations may have one or two percent [of their accounts over IP] and I'd be surprised if IP is even that high. Most central stations are not near a rapid deployment of IP, so we need to start with this standard and move forward."