Three heavyweights in the Inter-net Protocol (IP)-based surveillance industry—Axis Communications, Bosch Security Systems, and Sony—have announced plans to cooperate in the creation of an open forum to develop a standard for the interface of network video products, including cameras, video encoders, and video management systems. The companies plan to create a framework by the fourth quarter of this year, when they will open the forum to all interested companies and groups.
This announcement is a bellwether event in the security industry. From this writer’s perspective, the effort to standardize an IP surveillance interface is a harbinger of opportunity for information transports systems (ITS) professionals. The custom nature of digital surveillance installations or, more specifically, the specialized knowledge required to successfully carry out those custom installations, has been a barrier to entry for many ITS designers and installers.
A standardized interface is very likely to lower, but not remove, that barrier. It still will be incumbent upon those who want to gain business designing and installing IP surveillance systems to get educated on the technology and the marketplace.
Owners and operators of IP-based surveillance systems, meanwhile, appear to be among the biggest eventual beneficiaries. Quotes from executives of the three companies involved certainly point that way. “An open standard will make it even easier for integrators and end users to benefit from the many possibilities offered by IP-based video surveillance technology,” said Axis’ president Ray Mauritsson. Sony senior vice president Yoshinori Onoue commented, “We entered this discussion based on our common belief that an open standard will provide great benefits for users and everyone involved in the security industry.”
Just as the forthcoming standard will lower a barrier to entry into the security market for a great many ITS professionals, it very likely will remove the barrier altogether for end users who will warm to the “plug-and-play”-type capabilities that come with interoperability.
Cabling systems research organization BSRIA recently estimated growth rates of IP cameras in the U.S. at around 40%. So, if you’re a designer or installer of structured cabling systems and have not yet branched into the IP surveillance market, there may not be a better time to do so.
Chances are good you’ll have the opportunity to succeed by following the formula that has brought you success in the ITS market: Learn, work hard, rinse, repeat.