Do you remember your first few weeks in the security industry, especially in its administration? What were the most confusing terms and acronyms for you to master? Well, we’ve been asking around for industry leaders to contribute their top acronyms for our alphabet soup so you can come back and reference what we mean by ASTM, HDIS and PIAM.


ASTM: ASTM, a standard test method, refers to the crash rating of a vehicle access perimeter barrier. 

1.       Small Passenger Car:  Car manufactured in the last 10 years weighing 2430 +/- 50 pounds.

2.       Pickup Truck:  A ¾-ton model manufactured within the last 10 years weighing 5070 +/- 100 pounds.

3.       Medium Duty Truck:  Truck with diesel engine having vehicle mass of 15,000 +/- 300 pounds.

4.       Heavy Goods Vehicle:  Tandem axle dump truck or tandem axle with drop axle truck, tested at 65,000 +/- 1300 pounds.

A car designation starts with “C,” the pick-up is a “P,” the medium duty truck gets “M,” and the heavy goods vehicle is “H.”  The number following the letter is the speed.  Thus, a “40” means the vehicle was tested at 38.0 to 46.9 mph.  An H30 designation defines a heavy-goods vehicle traveling at approximately 30 mph.  A C50 is a car travelling at 50 mph. Contributed by David Dickinson, Senior Vice President, Delta Scientific.


BOLO: “Be On the Lookout” is an abbreviation used in law enforcement, often referring to a broadcast bulletin or other communication about a possible suspect. These are also known as “all-points bulletins” (APB) or “attempts to locate” (ATL).  Contributed by Gadi Piran, President, OnSSI.


HDIS: High Definition Interactive Streaming involves supplying video to a Web-based device at high-definition (HD) resolution and including multiple streams, each of which may be displayed and controlled individually by the user with no compromise to resolution or video frame rate. Contributed by Gadi Piran, President, OnSSI.


IAM:  Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems let enterprises manage access physical and logical resources. Digital identities are assigned to individuals, and privileges and policies are assigned to those identities. So, for example, Ralph would get access to the building and his computer but not to the server room. Janet could access all computers in the building but needs different levels of authentication for the server room than for her computer.Contributed by Phil Scarfo, Lumidigm Vice President, Worldwide Sales & Marketing


IOC: Interactive Overlay Controls are video software system controls that are accessed by “mousing over” an icon of a device or other element being controlled. The control interface is only displayed if and when it is needed. Contributed by Gadi Piran, President, OnSSI.


NFC: Near Field Communication provides simplified transactions, data exchange and wireless connections between two devices that are in close proximity to each other.  NFC is expected to become widely used for making payments by smartphone. Many smartphones currently on the market already contain embedded NFC chips that can send encrypted data a short distance ("near field") to a reader located next to a retail cash register.  Shoppers who have their credit card information stored in their NFC smartphones can pay for purchases by tapping their smartphones on the reader. 

A smartphone or tabletwith an NFC chip also serves as keycardor ID card.  A smartphone can be used just like a smart card (or proximity card) – placed next to the reader and open a locked door. Contributed by Jeremy Earles, Portfolio Manager, Credentials and Readers, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.


PIAM:Physical Identity and Access Management is software used to centrally manage identities, creating a single identity for physical access control system cardholders across the entire enterprise. Integrated with logical ID systems, the software ensures timely, synchronized and policy-based enrollment and termination of physical access privileges across multiple security systems. Contributed by Quantum Secure.


Do you have an acronym you want defined? Or would you like to contribute a definition that you found especially confusing when you started out?

Add to the encyclopedia! Send us your definitions or requests in the comments section below, or email me directly at