ONVIF has become an important and effective standard for interoperability within the video surveillance industry, and is expanding to other markets as well.
By Travis Gredley *
As the market has evolved, the ONVIF protocol has increasingly become a feature that users expect in new products.
As a full member of ONVIF, Avigilon and its solutions are based on an open platform that allows easy integration with third-party software and hardware, which gives users the flexibility to take advantage of their existing resources and investments. From 2009, we have used the ONVIF protocol as our standard application programming interface (API) within our video management software (VMS) offering and, with few exceptions, in all our camera offers .
These are four of the main benefits of developing products with ONVIF as a standard protocol:
1 Easier integration with third-party systems
As a provider of integrated solutions, Avigilon offers cameras and video management software to the market. Since ONVIF offers a common language that is shared among manufacturers, the use of ONVIF as the main method of integration between our cameras and the VMS makes them compatible with other devices. In fact, in most cases, either for a third-party VMS to connect our cameras or for our VMS to connect third-party devices, no further development is required. Common functions, such as the video transmission connection and camera configuration, are already supported. This facilitates the integration of our solutions with your current system, giving you the possibility to take advantage of your existing resources and investments.
2 Higher quality and shorter time to market
One of the main benefits of using the ONVIF protocol as our standard API is that it allows us to focus resources on one, and not many, APIs, which helps reduce the time to market and increase quality. By using the ONVIF specifications already defined, our developers spend their time meeting new market needs and creating differentiated functions, rather than developing proprietary APIs.
3 Stay ahead with ONVIF protocols
A very generalized error regarding the use of ONVIF is to believe that it only offers the most basic functions. In particular, there is a belief that two or more years may pass until a new function, such as the configuration options specific to a camera, is included in an ONVIF profile. At Avigilon, we are aware that ONVIF is much more than just profiles.
ONVIF profiles are based on specifications that are permanently and actively updated to offer new functions. These specifications are available to the public on the ONVIF website and can be used by any company that is a member of ONVIF and that wishes to take advantage of these new groups of functions long before they are part of a profile. To help ensure that the most important functions are available through the specifications and profiles of ONVIF, we actively participate in the ONVIF T Profile working group and ONVIF case study working group.
4 Innovate with ONVIF protocols
A second misconception about the use of ONVIF is that while it offers a good foundation for common functions, it is not possible to innovate or truly decide when to use it. However, if ONVIF's specifications do not include a specific service, ONVIF's protocols allow us to design customized extensions, which can be seen and used by third-party manufacturers simply by expanding their existing ONVIF integrations. This facilitates the materialization of the value of those differentiating functions in any platform that our clients choose.
Avigilon has benefited from the use of ONVIF as its standard API, since it allows our customers easier integration with third-party systems and at the same time supports the development of high-quality products with a shorter time to market. The flexibility provided by the ONVIF protocol has contributed to its becoming the interoperability standard of the video surveillance industry, making it something that customers expect from the products, as well as a clear option for developers.
* Travis Gredley is the Product Manager for Integrations in Avigilon. He is responsible for integrations, APIs and the adoption of standards such as ONVIF for Avigilon's video management software, cameras and access control software. Travis currently works in the ONVIF Profile T and Use Case work groups.