Industry adoption of ONVIF standards is changing the landscape of future tech

March 18, 2018 by Stuart Rawling

For many security professionals, video security needs could historically be met by one video manufacturer for cameras and accessories to video management systems. But as businesses grow, new technologies get released and decision makers are faced with new challenges, there is an increased reliance on their systems to access relevant data to make informed business decisions. This often requires implementation of new products and technologies that may not be areas of expertise for their existing manufacturer of choice.

As a result, decision makers are acquiring and implementing new products and technologies, from multiple manufacturers, with the expectation of seamless installation and connectivity. Unfortunately, system interoperability has not been the reality for many users. Whether it’s retrofitting an existing installation or a new project, disparate platforms have not always worked well together.

The Challenge

Businesses are often challenged with limited budgets and must be strategic in the products and services in which they choose to invest. Many are required to deliver a return on investment that extends beyond purely financial factors. Decision makers are often required to demonstrate improved business efficiencies, long term savings in resources such as required headcount or training hours per staff member, and flexibility to scale their business security needs if and when their business operations expand.

This becomes exceedingly more challenging when new technologies, products and services are released to the market on a frequent basis. Manufacturers have historically designed their products with closed architectures, limiting video security users to one vendor for their video management or camera needs. Decision makers are not only required to plan for these constantly changing factors, but must also be able to leverage their systems to access disparate data for more informed business decisions.

With an increasing demand from users for enhanced flexibility and accessibility to data across multiple and disparate systems, manufacturers have shifted their approach to deliver products and technologies designed with open architectures. Over the last 10 years, manufacturers, including ONVIF member company Pelco by Schneider Electric, have prioritized interoperability as a primary development criteria.

The Solution

The focus on interoperability across the video security and technology industry as a whole has propelled ONVIF into the spotlight, resulting in significant impact to the industry. With overwhelming support from manufacturers, ONVIF has driven the development and implementation of several profiles that are making it possible for disparate systems to work more harmoniously with one another.

Independently, each profile is designed to address particular challenges faced by users. For example, Profile G addresses storage and content management issues on disparate devices while Profile S is designed to make it easy to stream video. Combined, these two profiles provide powerful interoperability for a video management system.  For users seeking interoperability for an access control system, leveraging Profile A enables more access control and authentication, while leveraging Profile C delivers simple device control. The combination of both Profile A and C ensures the user can get the most out of their access control systems without having to make a costly financial investment in new hardware. Profile Q is designed to provide ease during out of box setup on any ONVIF device, reducing the frustration associated with installation of products right out-of-the-box.

The development and adoption of these profiles has transformed the security user experience. The combined benefits of these profiles make it possible for a security professional to select and install a complete security system that addresses their video management, camera, access control and other analytics platform needs with ease.

Selecting and utilizing devices that have adopted ONVIF profiles can make it possible to perform the tasks necessary to support a growing business, including a new site installation, retrofitting an existing site and even planning for future expansion.

The Future

Manufacturers continue to collaborate and combine their expertise to not only identify the common interoperability challenges facing users, but to define and develop profiles that make these and new challenges a thing of the past. The impact of ONVIF extends beyond traditional security applications. As new profiles are established, industry manufacturers are paving the way to get ahead of the technology curve, enabling the future to be agnostic and greatly influencing future communication technologies.

From airports to educational campuses to high security buildings, ONVIF will continue to play a critical role in the development of technology standards that make interoperability between disparate systems in these and other applications, a reality.


Are there other vertical market applications for which you employ ONVIF for interoperability? Let us know in the comments sections below.

Author bio:

Stuart Rawling is Director, Segment Marketing, Pelco by Schneider Electric, where he is responsible for leading Pelco’s development and growth of segment specific needs with a focus on Safe Cities and Traffic Operations. Stuart has been active within ONVIF since 2010, having served as Chairman of the Communication Committee and, since 2016, as a member of the ONVIF Steering Committee.

With an educational background focusing on technology and cryptography, Stuart has a passion for all aspects of physical security and regularly speaks on cybersecurity issues and the challenges facing todays physical security market.


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