OSSA creates harmony now and into the future

Alliance’s growth spurt, accomplishments highlight importance of diversity and the organization’s take on COVID
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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

SAN RAMON, Calif.—Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA) members have been quite productive since the Alliance publicly opened its door in 2018, with the goal of shaping a more simplified, collaborative space for the IoT and security space. Comprised of diverse industry leaders, influencers and innovative organizations from all facets of the security, safety and building automation space, over the past 20 months, the Alliance has achieved a series of accomplishments that encompass the organization’s overall vision: “one global approach to fuel the creation of new value within the security and safety space.”

“From its public launch in September 2018, the Open Security & Safety Alliance has undergone a true growth spurt,” Gijs van den HeuvelCo-Marketing Committee chair for the Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA) and Alliance Marketing expert for Bosch Security Systems, told Security Systems News. “Starting off as a group of like-minded companies with a shared vision to better and more easily initiate and capture the benefits of IoT into the industry, OSSA has become a professional organization consisting of close to 40 leading tech companies that create quality specifications and guidelines.”

Milestones and goals

The first of the three major milestones achieved by OSSA thus far this year is the OSSA common Technology Stack for video security devices and the supporting IoT infrastructure needed to establish an open security and safety ecosystem. This ecosystem is designed enhance trust while enabling innovation and opportunities.

“OSSA’s first Technology Stack describes the fundamental thoughts on how to create a precise level of harmony — just enough to start technical collaboration but with plenty of room left for companies to keep differentiating — across video security devices,” van den Heuvel explained. 

Under the umbrella of this guiding document, OSSA has recently launched the first two in a series of technical specifications.

The OSSA Application Interface Specification, which is available only to OSSA members, “defines a set of four interfaces that collectively enable third-party software applications to run on video security cameras following the Technology Stack,” said van den Heuvel. 

Diving a bit deeper, the four interfaces include: 

  1. Input stream: describes the video frames and messages the applications can subscribe to.
  2. Web API: describes how applications can make use of the camera’s webserver to support configuration and data upload, for example. 
  3. System APIs: provide information regarding OS version, capabilities and information about the camera to understand what features and APIs are available on the cameras to make use of device-specific functionality.
  4. Streaming application model: allows applications to interact with each other.

He continued on with the OSSA Compliant Device Definition Specification that is publicly available and “sets the core system requirements for video security cameras following the OSSA Technology Stack to provide a basis of trust for app interoperability across vendors.”

Adding to the series of these technical specifications, van den Heuvel named two more that are expected in 2020: one involving cybersecurity and another focused-on certification and testing.

“It’s beautiful to see that these guiding documents are having a direct market impact,” said van den Heuvel, announcing that the first camera manufacturers launching actual cameras to the market this year classified as “Driven by OSSA” include Topview/Qisda, Ability/AndroVideo, Bosch (through their INTEOX camera line), VIVOTEK and Hanwha Techwin. 

To support these manufacturers, the Alliance is revealing a signage mark for the cameras. Companies that use this “Driven by OSSA” mark are full OSSA members; follow the OSSA Technology Stack; offer the ability to install and execute third-party apps on their cameras; and ensure seamless connectivity within One Centralized Digital Marketplace, OSSA’s centralized marketplace to unite demand and supply in the market. 

“To reduce market friction by facilitating easy development, management and exchange of third-party software applications, OSSA has been driving the creation of a common operating system (OS) and a centralized app marketplace,” explained van den Heuvel, applauding member company Security & Safety Things for taking the initiative to build this marketplace for the industry. “This ensures camera devices that are “Driven by OSSA” can benefit from a development environment; an application store; and a device management portal.” 

Member diversity

Diversity is one of the hot topics in the security industry as companies seek new, innovative ways to embrace diversification as a way to propel themselves into the future. OSSA has embraced its diversity, resulting in fast-paced growth as an organization in less than two years. 

“Member diversity forces us to approach things from different perspectives, and as a result, this leads to solutions that are designed for the betterment of the industry and its end customers, instead of solutions that benefit one particular industry player,” van den Heuvel expressed, adding that this collectivism greatly enriches OSSA’s ecosystem. 

Founding members of OSSA include Bosch Building Technologies, Hanwha Techwin, Milestone SystemsPelco and VIVOTEK Inc; however, many other companies have joined since founding including companies specializing in computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) such as U.S.-based Paravision and Kneron. 

“Our membership also collaborates with leaders offering vast experience in other industry such as Taiwan-based HTC and Qisda and U.S.-based Qualcomm as well as system integrators, such as Convergint and Stanley Security,” he added. “It makes us proud to have such diversity in our member portfolio.Tight collaboration and looking at the market from different angles are driving this unique, nonprofit collaboration initiative.” 

Changes, challenges, interference due to COVID

As COVID reared its ugly head and continues to be a huge factor in daily existence, security industry professionals learned and are learning how to pivot to continue serving the safety and security of others. For OSSA, COVID brought about a sense of “sudden.” 

“COVID-19 makes people have different priorities, suddenly,” said van den Heuvel. “Business were focusing on, for example, optimizing store lay-out to generate more sales by using video analytics, and suddenly, they find themselves worrying about the amount of people that are present in a shop and whether these people are wearing face masks and keeping safe distances between each other.” 

However, sudden changes can often be facilitated from the software side of security solutions. 

“Cameras that are ‘Driven by OSSA’ can easily be adapted by installing additional software applications or by quickly exchanging existing ones,” he said. “If there is a very location-specific need, new tailored software can be developed by app developers or in-house with system integrators, making these cameras extremely versatile and future-ready.”

To sum up OSSA’s to-date accomplishments, milestones and future goals, OSSA’s most recent press release feature the Alliance’s President, Johan Jubbega, who said: “This is an exciting time for security and safety professionals as the main industry players pivot together in a new direction based on digital connections afforded by the IoT. In these current times of global change and uncertainty, it’s of vital importance that we persist in our quest for new market opportunities and current market efficiencies, and we’re proud to be facilitating this movement that is shaping the future of the security and safety systems environment.”