Interoperability Meets Internet of Things at ISC West

SIA presented a showcase and open discussion on interoperability between devices and IoT during 2015 ISC West in Las Vegas.

Mickey McCarter

Integrators, particularly those in the security marketplace, must concern themselves with interoperability when taking on new and existing projects. You must have confidence, for example, that a particular access card reader will work properly as designed when used in conjunction with a particular control panel.

That’s why the Security Industry Association (SIA) has been administering open standards like the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP), which allows devices like card readers, control panels and other security management devices to work together.

OSDP offers sophisticated, valuable features such as bi-directional communication, which paves the way for applications like the handling of smart cards, PKI and mobile device access. It’s also why SIA has taken up Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) for security devices.

SIA has set out to define a set of standardized management information bases (MIBs) for security products over SNMP, which is used to actively monitor device status and alert administrators of the health of their network. To explore these concepts and to demonstrate interoperability in action, SIA hosted an event at ISC West 2015 in Las Vegas on April 15.

More ISC West 2015 Coverage.

The SIA InteropFest & Cocktail Reception featured the devices and systems of manufacturers and integrators incorporating OSDP into their devices and collaborate on SNMP. They also fostered an open dialogue around security’s role with the Internet of Things (IoT), which promises connectivity between an ever-widening array of devices.

“Standards that enable interoperability are of utmost importance to integrators. While many are not directly involved in the process of developing standards, it’s likely an integrator’s dream to see so many manufacturers at the SIA InteropFest dedicated to standards that deliver on their customers’ requirements,” says Joseph Gittens, SIA director of standards.

This year’s SIA InteropFest followed up and expanded upon last year’s SIA Plugfest, also held at ISC West. At the Plugfest, hundreds of security industry attendees witnessed devices working seamlessly together over the OSDP protocol. Perry Levine, Siemens director of business development for security products, said last year’s SIA Plugfest and this year’s SIA InteropFest provide a live demonstration of how important open standards are.

“The SIA InteropFest will really bring to light what the various SIA Standards committees are doing in response to a changing industry context,” Levine said. “The evolving OSDP profiles provide flexibility for the requirements of different markets; SNMP MIBs help security speak the same language as IT in a network-connected world; and clarifying the role of security around the Internet of Things is perhaps one of the most important things we can do for the future of the industry.”

Next: Life Safety Technology Standards for Schools Outlined at ISC West

Speaking at the SIA PlugFest in 2014, Frank Gasztonyi, cofounder and chief technology officer of Mercury Security Corp., highlighted the history of OSDP and next steps in its development.

“OSDP has been in the works for 10 years. That was about the time we were facing implementing about the fourth different proprietary interface to a peripheral device. We decided that pretty much all of those things were trying to accomplish the same thing with slightly different syntax and slightly different methods of communication,” Gasztonyi said. “To save time and energy for everybody, we decided to try to compile what we saw as good and useful in all of those specifications and try to put together something that we could promote for others to implement in use.”

OSDP, a means for connecting devices with low overhead, is designed to easily grow through the addition of new commands, messages and syntax. While the 2014 demonstration involved access control pads and card readers, demonstrations in the lab have included other devices, such as biometric readers, for example, enabling the transmission of pictures and fingerprints.

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our digital newsletters!