Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA) celebrates one-year anniversary

Q&A reveals alliance’s progress, achievements and plans for 2020
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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

This month, the Open Security and Safety Alliance (OSSA) celebrates its one-year anniversary, and SSN is so excited to congratulate this alliance and celebrate alongside each and every member. Working with Heather Chesterman, PR director, OSSA, SSN received some enlightening feedback from Johan Jubbega, president, OSSA, regarding the alliance’s first year as well as gained insight as to what’s to come from OSSA in the near future.

Can you comment on how the Alliance has progressed within its first 12 months?

We’re truly pleased at the progress achieved in just our first year, and as an Alliance we’ve proven to be extremely efficient. We’ve on-boarded more than 30 interesting new members with backgrounds that range from device manufacturers, software developers and system integrators to distributors and system on a chip (SoC) companies. This is a group effort that has attracted interest from critical facets within the surveillance space – and even beyond our category as visionaries see the potential of this collaborative, open digital marketplace.

Again, the mission of OSSA is to work with organizations to all start from the same ‘foundation’ when it comes to the development, deployment, operation and maintenance of products, software and services. We’re level-setting the security and safety playing field by defining a common approach to collective challenges including product performance, data security, privacy, easy consumption of data, the development of a common operating system and shared IoT infrastructure. Our goal is to create an open security and safety ecosystem that uses a shared platform. It will reduce market fragmentation, decrease market friction, allow for innovation beyond the limits of single companies and brand independent software development.  This platform revolution will benefit everyone involved. Already in year one, we have dozens of competing and complementary institutions that are literally reaching across the aisles and stepping outside their brands to work together for the betterment of the entire industry.

How do OSSA’s achievements during year one tie into the Alliance’s overall vision? 

The Alliance’s vision is that the majority of the security and safety industry works with a common, vendor-agnostic operating system (OS) and IoT infrastructure, and agrees to implement or adhere to common approaches defined for common challenges like data security, privacy, product performance and easy consumption of data across multiple solutions. This will substantially fuel usability and trust when it comes to security and safety solutions that are built on the foundations set forth by OSSA. If we, for example, all start from the same OS, we remove the colossal burden of creating, maintaining and safeguarding individual, proprietary operating systems. It also improves the baseline for data security and frees up resources of individual device manufactures that can be allocated to aspects that really add value for their customers.

We’re all familiar with the concept of downloading apps and content to our phone and devices. OSSA member companies are working on defining a common IoT infrastructure including a digital marketplace specifically (in the first instance) for the video surveillance setting – and it’s not just planned, it’s being primed to open in early 2020. So, our vision is quickly coming into view. 

Reflecting on the past year, some of the key achievements from Alliance workgroups include:

  • Documentation of a common Technology Stack including the definition of a common vendor-agnostic operating system (OS);
  • First description of a common market approach to data security and privacy;
  • Various OSSA members already realized their first prototype cameras based on the commonly defined Technology Stack and OS and showcased them at ISC West 2019, IFSEC 2019 and GSX 2019; and
  • First prototype versions of the digital marketplace and software development environment including first commercial offerings of various app developers were realized and showcased at ISC West 2019, IFSEC 2019 and GSX 2019.

What does OSSA have planned for 2020 to steer the industry forward?

As mentioned, in early 2020, the common IoT infrastructure – including a digital marketplace – will be launched by one of the Alliance members. At the same time, first software applications will be available in the digital marketplace for purchase and download onto video security devices based on the common Technology Stack and capable of connecting to the virtual digital marketplace. Simultaneously, multiple device manufacturers that are OSSA members will launch their first video security cameras based on the common Technology Stack set forth by the Alliance. These commercially available cameras can connect to the digital marketplace and system integrators can easily download available brand-independent apps onto the various cameras, increasing their functionality to cater to specific customer needs.

Another component on the Alliance’s roadmap is the creation of a certification program for hardware and software solutions. This will ensure security and safety offerings meet the agreed-upon standards and specifications envisioned by OSSA to further enhance quality and trust within our market. 

Looking out a couple of years, OSSA’s goals include continuing to grow our ecosystem of member companies, and producing and driving the adoption of new standards and specifications for products and solutions within the security and safety space. The Alliance intends to provide guidance on interpretation of these standards and specifications to promote more intelligent, useful solutions for users. 

This is an exciting, revolutionary period in our market’s history as the IoT spurs new directions to work within. An open ecosystem approach based on common values, definitions and specifications requires certain levels of cooperation between industry influencers to achieve better living, safety and security outcomes. 

Our Alliance is young and nimble, and behind it stands some of the most powerful names in the business along with market-changers that are breaking new ground and offering novel contributions. This pairing of expertise is an inspiring combination, and 2020 will mark a turning point for us all.