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Scope Extension FAQ

As a physical access control company, why should I join ONVIF?

As physical access control is a new scope for ONVIF, joining ONVIF right now allows you to actively get involved in the development of the global open standard for the interface of IP-based physical security products. Being an ONVIF member gives access to specification proposals and the test tool, and also allows the use of the ONVIF logo to market conformant products. Full and contributing members can also actively influence the development of the standard as part of committees and working groups.

Why has ONVIF extended the scope to include physical access control systems?

ONVIF is a global and open industry forum that is committed to standardize communication between network devices and ensure interoperability between network products for the security market. In March 2010, ONVIF decided to extend the scope to include physical access control systems. The goal of the extension is to standardize communication between access control devices as well as to ensure interoperability between network video products and access control systems.

Many companies, including several ONVIF members, see a great need for such a standard as it would bring benefits to system integrators, manufacturers and end users alike:

  • Increased flexibility for system integrators: integrated solutions can be built using products from different vendors
  • Better market penetration for manufacturers by providing devices with standard IP interfaces
  • Reduced integration costs and cost of ownership for end users

What are the objectives of the scope extension?

The objectives of the scope extension include:

  • Provide an open communication standard for physical access control systems
  • Ease direct integration of network video and network physical access control systems using the same open standard
  • Simplify installation of combined video and physical access control systems
  • IP door controller of different companies will become compatible to each other, as there is no established open standard today
  • Ease integration of physical access control functionalities in network video devices. Video companies may extend the function of their products with basic physical access control functionalities by using the same open standard as for network video

What are the benefits of the scope extension?

The benefits of an open standard for physical access control systems include:

  • For system integrators:
    • Use of the same open standard defined for network attached devices
    • Easy and seamless integration of common functionalities (e.g. door controller is an additional device that can be found while doing a discovery on the network), through ease of installation. Integrated solutions can be built using products of different suppliers
  • For manufacturers:
    • Extended market opportunities as access control products with standard IP interfaces can be used as a part of IP-based physical security solutions globally
  • For end users:
    • The set of interoperable products will be extended. Open standards will reduce integration costs and cost of ownership
    • Freedom to mix different devices from different suppliers because of the guaranteed interoperability

How will this scope extension influence the current structure of ONVIF?

To facilitate the integration of network video devices and access control systems by using a global open standard, ONVIF Rules of Membership has been amended, and ONVIF's goal is now officially "Driving IP-based physical security through global standardization".

Each ONVIF member will have the flexibility to select the membership scope depending on the technical area(s) they would like to participate in. In other words, current ONVIF member can choose to remain a network video member, or to extend its membership to include access control areas. New ONVIF member can choose to be in either one of the areas, or in both network video and access control areas.

Other than that, new working groups in ONVIF Technical Committee - including Scope Extension Working Group and Physical Access Control System (PACS) Working Group, have been set up to define the extension to the ONVIF specification for PACS. The main goal is to cover the basic access control functionalities that will enable interoperable solutions for physical access control systems provided by different vendors under the ONVIF specification.

The ONVIF Network Interface Specification Set contains multiple documents describing the basic ONVIF services for device discovery, device management and events. For each service, there will be a Service document that contains an introduction as well as a functional service description.