ONVIF was founded in 2008 by Axis, Sony and Bosch to create a global standard for the interface of IP-based physical security products. The organization was developed to provide increased flexibility and greater freedom of choice so installers and end users can select interoperable products from a variety of different vendors. In its early stages, ONVIF members were from the manufacturing industry only. In recent years, membership is open to consultants and systems designers, systems integrators, end users and media, as well.
Why Standards Matter
One of the most common needs of IP video developers and end users is a common interface that allows them to easily connect technologies from a diverse set of manufacturers, both for today’s purchases and tomorrow’s upgrades. This prevents end users from being locked into using solutions from a single manufacturer and being tied to that manufacturer for the life cycle of the system.
The use of ONVIF conformant products can dramatically reduce the time spent on the design and installation process, since the devices and clients communicate using standard ONVIF interfaces instead of relying on unique software integrations between particular devices, such as cameras or door controllers, and clients such as video or access control management software.
ONVIF’s Current Profiles (Standards)
ONVIF’s current profiles include Profile S for IP-based video and audio Streaming, covering video and audio streaming, pan-tilt-zoom control and relay output, and video configuration and multicast. Profile G for edge storage and retrieval includes the configuration request and control of recording from conformant devices, as well as the reception of audio and metadata streams. Profile C for IP-based Access Control covers site information and configuration, event and alarm management and door access control. Profile Q is the newest ONVIF profile and was created to provide easy configuration for ONVIF devices and advanced security, including out of box functionality, secure configuration, and secure client/device communications using TLS protocol. Profile A for access control configuration, scheduled for final release in the summer of 2017, streamlines everyday access control activities and configuration for security officers, receptionists, human resource professionals and other end users.
How Do I Know What’s ONVIF Conformant and What’s Not?
When a product is ONVIF-conformant, it indicates that the client or device works with other products that are conformant. For example, a Profile G device is made to work with a Profile G client. Manufacturers with products listed on the ONVIF website as conformant have completed the formal conformance process and have submitted official documentation and product test results to ONVIF.
The sure-fire way to determine if a product is officially conformant with an ONVIF Profile is to check the ONVIF website: http://www.onvif.org/FindaProduct/ProfileProducts.aspx