AIoT, connectivity and the evolution of technologies such as camera platforms are offering new opportunities within our market. However, to take maximum advantage of these new areas, the industry needs a change. We need to move from what we’re currently in – a pipeline business – to instead the more collaborative approach of an ecosystem economy. We need to recognise that to develop future solutions, brands need to break free from the boundaries of a single organisation.
Finding ways to align in an ecosystem economy requires a progressive way of thinking. We must weigh (1) which open standards are best for products to thrive within an IoT setting and (2) how we can create, manage and maintain these new, evolving standards. We’re proud to be addressing these considerations through the Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA) as a global, non-profit industry initiative. This collaborative organisation tackles common challenges, significantly reduces market friction and therewith enables innovation for all stakeholders.
OSSA envisions the majority of the video security devices offered by various brands coming to market to all be based on (1) common application programming interfaces (APIs), (2) a common and vendor-agnostic operating system (OS) and (3) to seamlessly interface with the common IoT infrastructure, including an application store to match supply and demand in the market. Video security manufacturers, software vendors and other relevant stakeholders also (4) agree to implement OSSA standards and approaches defined for industry challenges such as data security and minimum product performance across multiple devices.
As a first step in this newfound open ecosystem economy, OSSA published its Technology Stack for video security devices. This describes how to create a precise level of harmony across video security cameras and the supporting IoT infrastructure needed to establish an open security and safety ecosystem.
With the Technology Stack as a guiding document, the Alliance also recently published the first two in a series of technical specifications. The OSSA Compliant Camera Definition specification is available to the public and sets the core system requirements for video security cameras to bolster trust and software app interoperability across vendors. The OSSA Application Interface specification is for members only and defines a set of four interfaces to enable third-party software apps to run over cameras following the common OSSA Technology Stack. Additional specifications are upcoming.
This ‘Driven by OSSA’ approach is being eagerly adopted by camera manufacturers and already in 2020 we’re seeing the first video security camera models making their way to market from leading manufacturers including Ability/AndroVideo, Bosch, Hanwha Techwin, Topview/Qisda and VIVOTEK. Combined with the application store built by OSSA member company Security & Safety Things, integrators can now shop online for an array of vendor-agnostic software apps that can then simply be downloaded to ‘Driven by OSSA’ client cameras for customised solutions, some of which even reach beyond the field of security and safety alone.
This newfound open ecosystem economy fuels innovation by affording software developers from outside and within the industry the ability to develop one software solution for a multitude of brands.
In these current times of global change and uncertainty, there are many underlying constants. One is the continued necessary collaboration between security and safety industry players as we seek new market opportunities, efficiencies and prosperity for our industry as a whole.
Gijs van den Heuvel
By Gijs van den Heuvel (MSc), Alliance Marketing Expert for Bosch Security Systems and Co-Marketing Committee Chair for the Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA)