ONVIF Blog

ONVIF Streamlines Work with Open Source Development

July 16, 2020 by ONVIF

ONVIF is excited to announce that it plans to open source one aspect of its work—the development of its network interface specifications. These specifications are publicly available and widely used as common communication interfaces between devices and software clients such as IP surveillance cameras, video management software and physical access control systems, enabling best of breed solutions for a wide range of applications.

What does open sourcing mean? It means that a wider community of developers—not only from the security industry, but also from other fields, such as IoT, cloud services–will be able to contribute to future specifications that enable greater interoperability of IP-based physical security products. ONVIF will oversee the proposals or change requests, conduct IPR reviews for new features and finalize specifications for publication on the ONVIF website.

In addition to increased participation, the move is also motivated by efficiency. Moving the development process and specification documents to GitHub, an online open source development platform, will allow ONVIF to streamline many of the administrative tasks inherent in specification engineering, such as handling numerous technical documents to ensure their accuracy and completeness. This very detailed work has fallen solely on the volunteers from member companies. GitHub, which is designed specifically to handle this work, will help make specification development more accessible, transparent and efficient, enabling the organization to provide new specifications faster to meet existing and future market demands.

Over its 11-year history, ONVIF has developed several profiles: Profile S for streaming video; Profile G for video recording and storage; Profile C for physical access control; Profile Q for quick installation, Profile A for broader access control configuration and Profile T for advanced video streaming. These profiles, which are groupings of certain functions defined in the ONVIF network interface specifications, enable the performance of set features for common uses. It is against these profiles that products are verified for conformance, so it’s important to note that the development of new profiles is not open sourced. However, ONVIF widely expects that contributions to ONVIF network interface specifications realized via open source will help to support the development of future profiles.

Accordingly, open sourcing the development of network interface specifications will not impact ONVIF product conformance or the profile development or other activities of the ONVIF committees and working groups. ONVIF will continue to decide on new profiles to pursue and shepherd them through the development process. The ONVIF membership and governance structure will also remain unchanged.

With this step, we are excited to realize some additional efficiencies in our processes and welcome external collaborators to our mix, all with the goal of continuing to support the growth and advancement in the standardization of communications between IP physical security products. We anticipate finalizing this move by the end of Q3.

Some additional technical information about the use of GitHub and other aspects of open source development can be found on our website here.

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