What is the importance of interoperability, for both you and your customers?

August 25, 2020 by ONVIF

By Ryan Chamberlain, Sales Engineer USA West, IndigoVision

The Internet was created using a set of protocols used at every end-point to connect to the network and exchange data between endpoints. This suite of protocols was called the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/ Internet Protocol (IP) Suite. 

Today, we still use this suite of protocols, upgraded and modified as it may be, as the base of all network connectivity, including Wi-Fi, wired home networks, and the “Internet”. The idea here is that shared protocols have made the Internet what it is today. 

You can have any number of devices of any number of different types, connected to the same network without any confusion regarding how to do so. Using the same logic, ONVIF standards go a step further and define the standard use of the TCP/IP Suite for security and surveillance connectivity. The ONVIF standards allow devices from any manufacturer to work with software and other devices from any third party manufacturer. 

As a Solution Engineer in some of the highest-level security, high availability and highly regulated projects in the industry, I have experience in the design of complex solutions. One of the main reasons this type of work is so rewarding is because of the sense of fulfillment after taking complex, technological components and designing a solution that allows them to all play together in the same field. By maximizing the synergies between systems all working for the same cause, we are successful in ensuring the safety and security of the employees and guests of our clients. With more and more manufacturers adopting ONVIF standards, this task becomes much less difficult and allows for a more symbiotic relationship between multiple systems developed by multiple manufacturers. 

The impact that this type of standard has on the market speaks for itself. With almost all manufacturers of surveillance and security products adopting ONVIF as a requirement, at least at some level, we know the market desires interoperability of systems. 

The reason for this seems to be that, like most consumers of products, people like choices. What’s good for one solution may not fit another similar solution; there are many variables to consider on any project. That is when ONVIF comes to the party and allows customers to choose from any number of devices from different manufacturers to work together seamlessly to build the perfect solution for their specific project with minimum hassle.

For manufacturers, ONVIF allows them to offer their products in more places than they could if they had to rely on their own proprietary technology and product offering. Again, customers enjoy having flexibility and choice, especially if they’re only looking to update one part of their solution.

For whatever reason, if a customer is only looking to change their video management software (VMS) but would like to maintain the rest of their hardware systems, both manufacturers and customers could lose out on an opportunity if there isn’t interoperability between the software and hardware. 

Customers could lose out on having a VMS system that could potentially enhance their operational efficiency, while manufacturers could lose out economically. This is where ONVIF standards allow manufacturers and customers flexibility. 

With the increasing adoption of ONVIF standards by device manufacturers, software manufacturers, integrators and end-users alike, the possibilities, creativity, reliability and robustness of solutions available becomes more manageable. 

These standards pave the way for each new technology in the surveillance and security industries. Many of the industry’s major players have adopted ONVIF standards as an industry requirement, therefore it has become one. This is an economic benefit for new technologies. The standards of communication/security/etc. already exist for the customer to just plug into. This leads to the ability for new technology to be created and implemented in large scale if the market adopts it. 

All-in-all, it is safe to say the adoption of ONVIF standards has already greatly changed the industry in a positive way – and will continue to do so as the adoption base of ONVIF standards increase. The standards are developed by members of the community that uses them, in the end, in a way that benefits all involved parties – the customer, the manufacturer, the integrator, the communities of the customers and even the economy itself. One could predict a bright future for ONVIF and the community that adopts its standards. 

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