Systems integrators searching for compatible products to build a best-of-breed IP security solution for a client now have the luxury of choosing from nearly 700 different interoperable surveillance products based on the ONVIF specification. First released in 2008, this interface has rapidly gained traction in the market — from October 2010 to February 2011, the number of products that conformed to the ONVIF specification more than doubled to 650 products in just four months.

This milestone of market adoption and the exponential rate in which manufacturer membership in ONVIF is growing, reflects that the ONVIF interoperability spec is becoming the defacto standard in the security market today. Released in November, ONVIF Core Specification 2.0 encompasses cameras, encoders, video storage, display devices, video analytics and several other areas. This brings ONVIF even closer to its goal of facilitating the simple integration of IP-based physical security equipment using a global open network interface.

The existence of an industry standard will play an ever increasing role in the industry as end users demand freedom from proprietary systems and dealers and integrators struggle to navigate the complicated landscape of interoperability issues between components. ONVIF provides integrators and their customers with the flexibility to build security systems that fit the needs, wants and budgets of the customer.

A single, standard interface would also greatly reduce training time for technicians. In an industry already begging for qualified, network-proficient technicians, the need to be trained on one network interface instead of the constant fine-tuning to make products work together would be a tremendous benefit to integration firms. Technicians would no longer be expected to learn the specific installation details and interoperability challenges of many combinations of products, but rather focus on employing the best practices of the ONVIF standard.

Dealers, integrators and end users soon will be able to deploy ONVIF-conformant products into other areas of their security system, as ONVIF is set to release an access control element of the specification later this year. This will include not only the integration between access and video systems, but in particular the communication between the access control software and the controller. Standardizing the IP network interface there will pave the way for new entrants into the market and significantly reduce the historically proprietary nature of access control systems.