If you’ve ever shopped around for an IP camera, you might have come across cameras that are advertised as being ONVIF-compliant or ONVIF conforming. But what does this even mean and how is it beneficial for you?
History & Purpose
ONVIF stands for Open Network Video Interface Forum and it was first created in 2008 by Axis Communications, Bosch Security Systems, and Sony Corporation but they have expanded to over 500 members now. It is an open industry standard that was made to provide interoperability, or compatibility, between IP devices. Before this standard came into existence, every manufacturer had their own protocol that they followed which prevented different branded-products from working with others.
You could think of the ONVIF protocol as a common language that all of the ONVIF-compliant devices are able to understand. If the ONVIF protocol did not exist, then you’d be limited to only using products from the same manufacturer. So for example, if there was one manufacturer with high-quality IP cameras but low-quality NVRs and another with low-quality IP cameras but high-quality NVRs, you’d have to settle for either one of them; you wouldn’t be able to mix the devices.
Advantages of ONVIF Protocol
As mentioned before, the main benefit of the ONVIF protocol is that it gives the customer the flexibility to choose exactly which products and from which manufacturer they would want to use. This means that the consumer would no longer have to use subpar products from the same manufacturer in exchange for their higher-quality products. It also allows them to try out devices with new features from different manufacturers without having to buy a completely new system.
In addition to giving the end-user more freedom, the ONVIF protocol also enables software developers to produce software quicker. Before, the developers would have to check the documentation of every manufacturer in order to understand which protocol they used. Not only did this slow down the developing process, but it also required software updates every time the manufacturer came out with a new feature or changed the protocol. But with the ONVIF protocol, the software developer would already understand which protocol is being used and only have to code one software that will be compatible across all devices.
It’s also beneficial for security integrators and installers. Instead of being locked into using one manufacturer, the installer can look across all manufacturers in order to find the best security solution for the end-user. Not only does this help the integrator earn more profits, but it also makes the world more secure and protected.
Within the ONVIF protocol are things called profiles. These profiles are “a fixed set of features that must be supported by a conformant device and client”. Essentially, profiles deal with extra features that will be compatible with other devices. Here is a quick overview of all of the profiles and what their features are used for:
- Profile A: Access control configuration
- Profile C: Door control and event management
- Profile G: Edge storage and retrieval
- Profile Q: Quick installation
- Profile S: Basic video streaming
- Profile T: Advanced video streaming
The ONVIF protocol is an open standard that was created to allow IP devices from different manufacturers to be compatible. It provides more flexibility when it comes to choosing products, installation, and software development. If you’re looking for an IP system, then purchasing ONVIF-conforming products will save you a lot of time and headache.