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ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) is a global and open industry forum with the goal of facilitating the development and use of a global open standard for the interface of physical IP-based security products – or, in other words, to create a standard for how IP products within video surveillance and other physical security areas can communicate with each other. ONVIF is an organization started in 2008 by Axis Communications, Bosch Security Systems and Sony.
It was officially incorporated as a non-profit, 501(c)6 Delaware corporation on November 25, 2008. ONVIF membership is open to manufacturers, software developers, consultants, system integrators, end users and other interest groups that wish to participate in the activities of ONVIF. The ONVIF specification aims to achieve interoperability between network video products regardless of manufacturer.
The cornerstones of ONVIF are:
- Standardization of communication between network video devices
- Interoperability between network video products regardless of manufacturer
- Open to all companies and organizations
ONVIF offers three levels of membership: user, contributing, and full member, to accommodate individual choices of participation. Full or contributing members can actively influence the development of the standard by participating in the work of the forum. The user member level is open to organizations that wish to use the network interface specification and have access to specification proposals but do not want to participate in any work of the forum. Technology and test tools are available to all ONVIF members to facilitate the development of conformant products.
In December 2009, ONVIF’s member base had grown to 103 members. This comprised 12 full members, 13 contributing members and 78 user members. In December 2010, the forum had more than 240 members and more than 440 conformant products on the market. By January 2015, this had grown to more than 3,700 ONVIF conformant products and 500 members.
ONVIF originally was an acronym for Open Network Video Interface Forum. The longer name was dropped as the scope of the standard expanded beyond video applications.
Benefit of an open standard
ONVIF states that the benefits of an open standard include:
- Interoperability – products from various manufacturers can be used in the same systems and “speak the same language”.
- Flexibility – end-users and integrators are not locked within proprietary solutions based on technology choices of individual manufacturers.
- Future-proof – standards ensure that there are interoperable products on the market, no matter what happens to individual companies.
- Quality – when a product conforms to a standard, the market knows what to expect from that product.
The ONVIF Core Specification aims to standardize the network interface (on the network layer) of network video products. It defines a network video communication framework based on relevant IETF and Web Services standards including security and IP configuration requirements. The following areas are covered by the Core Specification version 1.0:
- IP configuration
- Device discovery
- Device management
- Media configuration
- Real time viewing
- Event handling
- PTZ camera control
- Video analytics
ONVIF utilizes IT industry technologies including SOAP, RTP, and Motion JPEG, MPEG-4, and H.264 video codecs. Later releases of the ONVIF specification (version 2.0) also covers storage and additional aspects of analytics.
Building on ONVIF Specifications, ONVIF Profiles are collections specifications that guarantee the interoperability of specific features between conformant devices.
- Profile S – Addresses common functionalities of IP video systems, such as video and audio streaming, PTZ controls, and relay activation.
- Profile C – Addresses common functionalities of IP access control systems, such as door state and control, credential management, and event handling.
- Profile G – Addresses video storage, recording, search, and retrieval.
- Profile Q (Release Candidate) – Addresses device discovery and configuration, as well as the management of TLS certificates and keys.
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- November 25, 2008: Officially incorporated as Open Network Video Interface Forum
- November 2008: Release of Core Specification version 1.0
- December 2008: Release of Test Specification version 1.0
- December 2008: First member meeting in Washington, DC
- March 2009: Set up of several working groups to work on the further development of the forum[specify]
- May 2009: Release of test tool and conformance process
- July 2009: Release of the world’s first ONVIF conformant products by Merit Lilin
- September 2009: Show plug fest in Los Angeles, USA
- October 2009: ONVIF reaches 100 members
- April 2010: ONVIF extends scope to cover access control in addition to video
- July 2010: ONVIF reaches 200 members
- November 2010: Release of Core specification version 2.0
- December 2010: Release of Test Specification version 1.02.2
- January 2011: 600 ONVIF-conformant products on the market
- December 2011: Test Specification version 11.12 released
- January 2012: Profile S specification released to clarify interoperability
- June 2012: Test Specification version 12.06 released
- December 2012: Test Specification version 12.12 released
- June 2013: Test Specification version 13.06 released
- August 2013: Release of Core specification version 2.4
- December 2013: Test Specification version 13.12 released
- December 2013: Profile C Specification released
- June 2014: Test Specification version 14.06 released
- June 2014: Profile G Specification released
- December 2014: Profile Q Specification released
- December 2014: Release of Core specification version 2.5
- “A brief history of ONVIF: How the global industry standard has grown”.
- PSIA and ONVIF: Measuring Video Standards
- ONVIF Chairman, Jonas Andersson, On The Importance Of Open Protocol In IP Video And Access Control
- 7 FAQs about the ONVIF Standard
- Per Björkdahl (2016-05-13). “ONVIF: The Evolution of a Standard”. Memoori.
- Standardization FAQ
- Ted Knutson (December 4, 2008). “First cameras to meet new ONVIF interoperability standards due in a year”. Security Systems News. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
- ONVIF releases Profile S for easier management of interoperable devices
- ONVIF Releases Profile C for Physical Access Control
- ONVIF Publishes Profile G Release Candidate for Video Storage, Recording
- ONVIF Publishes Profile Q Release Candidate for Easy Configuration, Advanced Security
- “Open Network Video Interface Forum Core Specification, Version 1.0 November, 2008” (PDF).
- “ONVIF Profile S Specification” (PDF).
- “ONVIF Profile C Specification” (PDF).
- “ONVIF Profile G Specification” (PDF).