As a consultant, what value have you seen ONVIF bring to the market?
As a consultant, ONVIF allows me to be truly independent of brands and recommend a way forward for clients that is not going to tie them in to a single, specific manufacturer.
Why do you spec projects to use ONVIF? What specific benefits has it brought to your business or to your customers?
Anyone can sign up to join ONVIF. Many projects I work on at WSP are for government-funded clients that have long approval cycles and need to be able to have longer term plans. ONVIF allows this, as it has a stable roadmap and retains backwards compatibility in most things, so I am able to set a roadmap and a vision for a client that they can plan around whilst having access to a large range of vendors and innovative new products.
Which market sector do you see as the one where the use of ONVIF-conformant products is gaining popularity quickly or is poised to do so?
Government-funded long term projects will benefit the most from using ONVIF-conformant componentry. In the U.K., the government’s Cabinet Office oversees the procurement of goods and services purchased by the government. This drives people to use open standards to allow them to benefit from innovation and better procurement options. Whether it is rail, roads, national or local projects, ONVIF has to be a key consideration in government-funded projects.
How would you describe end user awareness of ONVIF or, more broadly, their appreciation of standards-based approaches?
End purchasers have probably all heard of ONVIF, but in my experience, the high level of competition in the CCTV market drives many manufacturers to attempt to differentiate themselves to understandably stay ahead of the pack. Unfortunately, I have seen many cases where the manufacturer tells the customer they make ONVIF-conformant products, but they then upsell additional features for their product and in many cases will say how that method is better than ONVIF. This doesn’t help many buyers of CCTV products today as they are not always experts in the field of CCTV or in the business of security, so they don’t see the strategic benefits of employing an ONVIF approach. We also see that the end users do not yet see the wider benefits of using an open standard and what that can offer them in the longer term. They are instead more focused on the short term project, so there are many strategic influencers who are not yet aware of ONVIF.
How do you see the industry in five years from now, as the industry continues to embrace more of an open standards approach?
More systems will be ONVIF conformant and people buying products will be able to choose new and innovative solutions – like thermal cameras – as they become available, based purely on quality and cost instead of the manufacturer. That is a much simpler decision for them to make and the best products will rise to the top and remain in the market. There will also be more opportunities for systems to interoperate so that systems can be shared.
Jason has a background in the leadership, design and project management of world class systems in market leading companies. These include Transport, ITS, CCTV and Telecommunications markets. He has worked on the successful delivery of projects in the UK, USA, Italy, Germany and the UAE.
Jason began his career at Marconi in Liverpool, developing hardware and software for high availability telecommunications systems. Following that, he was head of the camera development team at Baxall, the UK’s largest producer of CCTV cameras. Since 2007, he has worked at WSP as a Technical Director, technology leader and project manager with major clients in England, Scotland and the Middle East. His broad engineering knowledge and experience of gathering complex client requirements ensures that customer solutions utilize the most appropriate standards and technologies and offer the best value for money.