The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) was founded in 2008 with a goal of creating ‘plug-and-play interoperability’ among physical security devices, systems and services. Since then, the organisation’s mission has both expanded to include logical security and focused more narrowly on identity, a critical aspect of security today.

In recent years, PSIA has concentrated on its PLAI (Physical Logical Access Interoperability) specification, which provides a means to enable disparate physical access control systems (PACS) to communicate to each other and share employee identity data. This is especially important for companies who have made acquisitions and inherited different incompatible PACS systems. “PLAI can unify a security environment through one trusted source, even if there are multiple PACS systems,” says David Bunzel, Executive Director of the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA).

Bridge between disparate PACS

The PLAI specification provides a bridge between disparate PACS, allowing a single trusted source for identity management. Leading PACS vendors including JCI (Software House), Lenel, and Kastle Systems and biometric vendors including Eyelock, Idemia, and Princeton Identity, have each implemented PLAI adapters, supporting this specification. AMAG will have their adapter in the coming months, and Honeywell and Siemens have it on their road maps.

At ISC West last April, PSIA was able to demonstrate five of these vendors sharing records and the ability to add and terminate an employee and have it updated across each PACS and biometric system.

The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) has evolved from supporting physical security to also integrating logical security
PSIA was able to demonstrate five of these vendors sharing records at ISC West last April

The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) has evolved from supporting physical security to also integrating logical security. Access to facilities and secure areas of buildings is increasingly dependent on software and hardware systems which can validate a person’s identity.

“The PSIA has chosen to focus on interoperability between identity management systems and access control devices,” says Bunzel. “We have successfully demonstrated the technology, and it is now being specified by consultants, integrators and enterprise customers in actual security systems. We expect to see some large companies announcing PLAI implementations in the next quarter.”

Open standards processes

PSIA relies on an open standards process, with collaboration among leaders in the various parts of the security industry. Specifications are architected, discussed, drafted, and reviewed by members of the organisation in technical committees. The process is dynamic, with periodic updates added, which will improve and enhance the specifications as appropriate.

The PSIA has focused on identity management for enterprise customers, says Bunzel. “We have active members who make devices that support access hardware (for example, locks and biometric systems) who by design complement PACS vendors and HR management systems.”

PLAI also enables a variety of services for enterprise customers that may rely on a security credential"

“We continue to add more PACS and biometrics vendors to the PLAI ecosystem, expanding the value of the specification in the market,” says Bunzel. “PLAI also enables a variety of services for enterprise customers that may rely on a security credential, including printing services, parking, and facility management. In the near future, the PSIA expects to extend PLAI into elevators. There are other identity management capabilities, and the PSIA will evaluate opportunities as the market demands them,” says Bunzel.  

In addition to PLAI, PSIA has several ‘legacy’ specs, but they are not actively working on further iterations. PSIA could always consider new development on legacy specs if the market demanded it. Some legacy specs address video, and security cameras often work with access control systems. However, PSIA currently is leaving video to ONVIF. The near-term direction and plan for the PSIA is to focus on PLAI and its commercialisation.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

Author profile

Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SourceSecurity.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SourceSecurity.com's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

In case you missed it

Panasonic AI-driven cameras empower an expanding vision of new uses
Panasonic AI-driven cameras empower an expanding vision of new uses

Imagine a world where video cameras are not just watching and reporting for security, but have an even wider positive impact on our lives. Imagine that cameras control street and building lights, as people come and go, that traffic jams are predicted and vehicles are automatically rerouted, and more tills are opened, just before a queue starts to form. Cameras with AI capabilities Cameras in stores can show us how we might look in the latest outfit as we browse. That’s the vision from Panasonic about current and future uses for their cameras that provide artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities at the edge. Panasonic feels that these types of intelligent camera applications are also the basis for automation and introduction of Industry 4.0, in which processes are automated, monitored and controlled by AI-driven systems. 4K network security cameras The company’s i-PRO AI-capable camera line can install and run up to three AI-driven video analytic applications Panasonic’s 4K network security cameras have built-in AI capabilities suitable for this next generation of intelligent applications in business and society. The company’s i-PRO AI-capable camera line can install and run up to three AI-driven video analytic applications. The AI engine is directly embedded into the camera, thus reducing costs and Panasonic’s image quality ensures the accuracy of the analytics outcome. FacePRO facial recognition technology Panasonic began advancing AI technology on the server side with FacePRO, the in-house facial recognition application, which uses AI deep learning capabilities. Moving ahead, they transitioned their knowledge of AI from the server side to the edge, introducing i-PRO security cameras with built-in AI capabilities last summer, alongside their own in-house analytics. Moreover, in line with the Panasonic approach to focus more on collaboration with specialist AI software developers, a partnership with Italian software company, A.I. Tech followed in September, with a range of intelligent applications, partially based on deep learning. Additional collaborations are already in place with more than 10 other developers, across the European Union, working on more future applications. i-PRO AI-capable security cameras Open systems are an important part of Panasonic’s current approach. The company’s i-PRO AI-capable cameras are an open platform and designed for third-party application development, therefore, applications can be built or tailored to the needs of an individual customer. Panasonic use to be a company that developed everything in-house, including all the analytics and applications. “However, now we have turned around our strategy by making our i-PRO security cameras open to integrate applications and analytics from third-party companies,” says Gerard Figols, Head of Security Solutions at Panasonic Business Europe. Flexible and adapting to specific customer needs This new approach allows the company to be more flexible and adaptable to customers’ needs. “At the same time, we can be quicker and much more tailored to the market trend,” said Gerard Figols. He adds, “For example, in the retail space, enabling retailers to enhance the customer experience, in smart cities for traffic monitoring and smart parking, and by event organisers and transport hubs to monitor and ensure safety.” Edge-based analytics offer multiple benefits over server-based systems Edge-based analytics Edge-based analytics offer multiple benefits over server-based systems. On one hand, there are monetary benefits - a cost reduction results from the decreased amount of more powerful hardware required on the server side to process the data, on top of reduction in the infrastructure costs, as not all the full video stream needs to be sent for analysis, we can work solely with the metadata. On the other hand, there are also advantages of flexibility, as well as reliability. Each camera can have its own individual analytic setup and in case of any issue on the communication or server side, the camera can keep running the analysis at the edge, thereby making sure the CCTV system is still fully operational. Most importantly, systems can keep the same high level of accuracy. Explosion of AI camera applications We can compare the explosion of AI camera applications to the way we experienced it for smartphone applications" “We can compare the explosion of AI camera applications to the way we experienced it for smartphone applications,” said Gerard Figols, adding “However, it doesn’t mean the hardware is not important anymore, as I believe it’s more important than ever. Working with poor picture quality or if the hardware is not reliable, and works 24/7, software cannot run or deliver the outcome it has been designed for.” As hardware specialists, Figols believes that Panasonic seeks to focus on what they do best - Building long-lasting, open network cameras, which are capable of capturing the highest quality images that are required for the latest AI applications, while software developers can concentrate on bringing specialist applications to the market. Same as for smartphones, AI applications will proliferate based on market demand and succeed or fail, based on the value that they deliver. Facial recognition, privacy protection and cross line technologies Panasonic has been in the forefront in developing essential AI applications for CCTV, such as facial recognition, privacy protection and cross line. However, with the market developing so rapidly and the potential applications of AI-driven camera systems being so varied and widespread, Panasonic quickly realised that the future of their network cameras was going to be in open systems, which allow specialist developers and their customers to use their sector expertise to develop their own applications for specific vertical market applications, while using i-PRO hardware. Metadata for detection and recognition Regarding privacy, consider that the use of AI in cameras is about generating metadata for the detection and recognition of patterns, rather than identifying individual identities. “However, there are legitimate privacy concerns, but I firmly believe that attitudes will change quickly when people see the incredible benefits that this technology can deliver,” said Gerard Figols, adding “I hope that we will be able to redefine our view of cameras and AI, not just as insurance, but as life advancing and enhancing.” i-PRO AI Privacy Guard One of the AI applications that Panasonic developed was i-PRO AI Privacy Guard Seeking to understand and appreciate privacy concerns, one of the AI applications that Panasonic developed was i-PRO AI Privacy Guard that generates data without capturing individual identities, following European privacy regulations that are among the strictest in the world. Gerard Fogils said, “The combination of artificial intelligence and the latest generation open camera technology will change the world’s perceptions from Big Brother to Big Benefits. New applications will emerge as the existing generation of cameras is updated to the new open and intelligent next generation devices, and the existing role of the security camera will also continue.” Future scope of AI and cameras He adds, “Not just relying on the security cameras for evidence when things have gone wrong, end users will increasingly be able to use AI and the cameras with much higher accuracy to prevent false alarms and in a proactive way to prevent incidents." Gerard Fogils concludes, “That could be monitoring and alerting when health and safety guidelines are being breached or spotting and flagging patterns of suspicious behaviour before incidents occur.”

What is the best lesson you ever learned from an end user?
What is the best lesson you ever learned from an end user?

Serving customer needs is the goal of most commerce in the physical security market. Understanding those needs requires communication and nuance, and there are sometimes surprises along the way. But in every surprising revelation – and in every customer interaction – there is opportunity to learn something valuable that can help to serve the next customer’s needs more effectively. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: what was the best lesson you ever learned from a security end user customer?

What is the impact of remote working on security?
What is the impact of remote working on security?

During the coronavirus lockdown, employees worked from home in record numbers. But the growing trend came with a new set of security challenges. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the impact of the transition to remote working/home offices on the security market?