Open Network Video Interface Forum
ONVIF is a global and open industry forum with the goal to facilitate 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 127 members. This comprised 14 full members, 15 contributing members and 98 user members. In December 2010, the forum had more than 250 members and more than 600 conformant products on the market.
Benefits of an open standard
The benefits of an open standard for network video should 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 concept of ONVIF
An open and independent organization
ONVIF is open to all companies and interest groups who would like to participate in the work of the forum. It is a non-profit organization with the goal to create a global standard for network video products. Membership comes at three levels of engagement, and the organization has clearly defined membership rules. This ensures that:
- decisions within ONVIF are taken in a democratic manner
- the forum is driven by the interest of its members
- all members have equal voting rights (one company - one vote)
- there is transparency and clarity in all forum activities
- ONVIF is global form that represent IP video surveillance.
Focus on interoperability
Product interoperability is a driving force behind ONVIF, and this means that there must be a way for manufacturers to verify their implementation and to ensure that their products are conformant with the specification. ONVIF makes this possible by providing a test specification, a test tool and a formal conformance process.
Organization and implementation
ONVIF has moved forward following the plans laid out in 2008. The first versions of the ONVIF Core Specification and test specification were made public in the end of 2008. Since then, several working groups within the forum have been formed to develop the specification further and to enable the members to develop and market conformant products.
ONVIF members include companies active within video surveillance, in particular network video device manufacturers (such as network cameras/IP cameras and video encoders), integrators and video management systems companies.
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.
- 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
- 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
- August 2013: Release of Core specification version 2.4
- ONVIF Specification
- By Ted Knutson, Security Systems News. “First cameras to meet new ONVIF interoperability standards due in a year.” December 4, 2008. Retrieved October 23, 2013.