TDSi: Access Control Platform and Onvif Profile A
A Like Access - A User Experience
John Davies, Managing Director of TDSi, a UK-based access control manufacturer and Onvif member company, discusses the value of Onvif and how the company is using Onvif profiles in its new access control platform.
GIT SECURITY: How long have you been an Onvif member and what was the reason TDSi joined?
John Davies: TDSi has been an Onvif member for close to two years. The impetus for us to become a member was the development of our new access control platform, Gardis, which uses Onvif’s Profile C specification and the Release Candidate of Onvif Profile A. Becoming an Onvif member allowed us to implement the specification and to access Onvif’s test tools.
When we started work on Gardis, we knew we wanted to move to using an open standard rather than a closed, proprietary one. Open standards are really the future of access control because of the integrative possibilities they provide. We did consider several other standards before choosing Onvif. Our product development team was familiar with Onvif as a standard for video and as we further researched, it became clear that Onvif was the right choice for this product and for us as a company.
What value does Onvif provide you as a manufacturer? Are there any benefits beyond the profiles themselves?
John Davies: Onvif provides an IP-based standard that makes Gardis interoperable with other manufacturers’ access control devices, which is extremely important as the industry trends toward IoT-like deployments and the best-of-breed approach to security remains popular. Because we are a smaller company, interoperability and multiple integrative capabilities are a core part of our business, which is why we chose Onvif.
Another deciding factor was the added marketing and exposure value of Onvif. As an international standard recognized by both the ISO and IEEE, the Onvif name is well known throughout the world and used by many. It also gives us an edge in collaborating with other Onvif members who specialize in video.
The British Security Standards (BSI) and British Security Industry Association (BSIA) are adopting Onvif as part of their access control standards, which made it even more important in our product integrations with access control manufacturers in the UK.
Tell us about the Gardis platform.
John Davies: TDSi has been in the access control business since 1982, so we’ve seen access control systems evolve over the years and have a good understanding of the industry and what’s required to stay competitive.
We began developing a whole new hardware line and software platform (Gardis) simultaneously in response to what’s going on in the market – interoperability everywhere. We wanted to increase our power to cater for more users, to offer them more flexibility. We feel we’ve done a good job with Gardis in that it supports up to 250,000 users and includes PoE and PIE capabilities. It also supports a number of integrations, which is really where the industry is at this point, made possible by Onvif and its open platform.
What role did Onvif’s access control profiles play in Gardis’ development?
John Davies: The obvious answer is that we didn’t have to develop our own protocol for Gardis from scratch because it already existed with Onvif Profile C and now with the Release Candidate of Profile A, Onvif’s newest access control profile. That allowed us to redirect those internal resources we would have used on developing our own protocol and use them to make a better product.
We call Gardis our ‘next gen’ access control platform because it is designed using open standards and because of its enormous scalability and flexibility. We really do believe that open standards and flexibility are the keys to access control’s evolution as an industry, which is another part of why we chose Onvif.
TDSi is not a huge company, but we are flexible and able to change quickly as the industry evolves. We put a lot of work into developing integrations with other companies’ products in all security disciplines – from fire to intrusion to video. We designed Gardis to integrate with almost everything, from building management software and video management software to intrusion panels and intercom systems.
Gardis is designed to meet the needs of cloud-based solutions and integrated security solutions for the next century. Onvif gives it the broad interoperability capabilities needed to stay competitive and flexible, which is what the future is all about.