ONVIF Blog

Profile M and Smarter, Safer Cities

December 16, 2021 by ONVIF

We have seen the need for interoperability evolve in recent years, beyond the traditional relationship between a hardware device and software client from different vendors. When it came to the dynamic video analytics market, it was apparent that a new profile was necessary to standardize the communication of metadata and events between analytics-capable services and devices like IP cameras, as well as clients like visitor management systems and server- or cloud-based services. Profile M, released in June 2021, does just that; expands pathways for the use of metadata and event handling into other systems such as access control, cloud services and IoT platforms.

Perhaps nowhere is this need more acute today than in the safe city environment.  Most cities have hundreds of cameras across their landscapes, and it can prove to be a challenge to achieve interoperability, particularly with video management systems, video recording devices and cameras. The most common scenario is that municipalities have several different management systems for city operations that were created by different manufacturers, each with proprietary interfaces for integration. In order to connect its different systems together, cities often end up with more of a patchwork approach to systems integration, for which the continuing costs of maintaining that connectivity between systems becomes prohibitively expensive. This is where the need for robust and well-defined standards comes into play, particularly for video surveillance, which is most commonly at the heart of safe city deployments. Standards, such as those from ONVIF, provide the common link between disparate components of safe city systems. Designed specifically to overcome the challenges in multi-vendor environments, ONVIF’s common interfaces facilitate communication between technologies from different manufacturers and foster an interoperable system environment where system components can be used interchangeably, provided they conform to the ONVIF specification.

The capabilities of Profile M take this system component / software client interoperability to a much deeper level. As cities and municipalities begin to integrate video analytics into their surveillance systems, proprietary approaches to analytics can limit this interoperability. This becomes more important as the ability to easily share metadata will determine the level of intelligence that cities are able to extract from their video data. The possibilities become even more rich when combined with technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and cloud computing, allowing the video metadata to be correlated with other systems to help further automate video monitoring, reduce false alarms and find operational patterns and areas of improvement in traffic patterns, people and pedestrian flow, and countless other areas.

The push towards smarter, safer cities will continue to grow – as will the need for greater interoperability as municipalities seek to deploy new solutions to meet new challenges. With Profile M, cities can leverage the individual capabilities of many different standalone but interoperable solutions to create a solution that meets their own unique needs.

Learn more about Profile M here.

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