8 Mar 2017

SourceSecurity Asks: What is an open system?

Open systems are great at providing freedom for end user customers. But does the term “open system” mean the same thing throughout the industry? In the bad old days before the introduction and broad acceptance of open systems, security vendors produced proprietary systems that used only their own hardware and software. This locked in a customer to a specific vendor’s product line, and if another vendor offered a better product, the only way to get it was to switch to that vendor’s total solution. Open systems changed all that, in theory allowing the selection of best-in-class hardware, software and other components to meet customer requirements. But is the term “open” understood consistently in the market? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is an open system? Is there a consensus in the marketplace of the definition of “open?” Although there is mostly a consensus in the panel’s answers, we did notice some variables.

Vanderbilt President Mitchell Kane answers:

An open system allows end users to extend system flexibility and client options to build best-in-class security solutions that maximize existing investments, reduce costs and extend product lifecycle. Being truly "open" means going above and beyond when designing your product line, keeping in mind the ability for end-users to easily interface your product with other open-platform solutions. That's why offering an open-platform design must be coupled with the ability to provide exceptional support through training, follow-up and innovation as they are brought to market. We have seen a significant shift to more and more manufacturers offering open-platform solutions in an effort to satisfy clients and their need for increased ROI interoperability and flexibility. With groups such as PSIA and ONVIF working to standardize these platforms, the industry is taking steps to shift their way of thinking, but as with any change, it's slow and still in progress.