Standard #2

Next step is Recording and Content Management (RaCM) specification
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance, having demonstrated the effectiveness of its IP Media Device Specification at the ASIS International show in September, is now releasing its second IP video specification, the Recording and Content Management, or RaCM, specification for public comment.

“The first standard,” said Dave Fowler, senior VP of marketing and product development for PSIM maker VidSys, and co-chair of the RaCM working group, “was all about how to receive data and communicate with a camera for live video.” This standard, he said, answers the questions, “Now that you’ve got the video, what are you going to do with it? How do you make a request to get that video and replay it?”

The working group has developed an initial specification for answering those questions, and interested parties can now, without having to join the PSIA, download the initial specification (go here) and make comments back to the working group for incorporation into the version 1.0 specification the organization hopes to release by mid November. If all goes well, the group expects to have a similar kind of plugfest to demonstrate complying products by the ISC West show in late March.

“This standard is critical,” Fowler said, “because if you don’t have the standard, you’ve got a bunch of hardware and the only way to play the video back is to have a specific software for playback that goes with every piece of hardware.” Or, a third-party software maker, like Fowler’s VidSys, has to spend time and energy in developing a specific interface for each piece of recording hardware. For example, he said, just integrating at the basic level, “just saying, ‘give me the video and play it back,’” can take “a few man weeks,” but most customers want more than that and all of the specific requests for integration require a more sophisticated implementation.

“We have a city right now that has 600 cameras, nine agencies, using 12 different vendors’ video systems,” Fowler said, “so you can imagine the problem of trying to share video across all those systems. It’s an impossible task without a standard.”

Interested parties can comment on the proposed specification through Oct. 31.

PSIA executive director David Bunzel said the PSIA is now at roughly 50 member companies, with a board of directors that is by invitation only, “so as to be representative of many different areas of the industry.” In order to round out the board, the PSIA recently invited Tyco and Assa Abloy to join, which is indicative of the PSIA’s interested in establishing specifications beyond video. There is a working group right now looking at access control interoperability, for example.