What is ONVIF?

What is ONVIF???


Wow – so many acronyms, so little time. I can’t keep track of them all. This one stands for “Open Network Video Interface Form” so what does that mean to me? ONVIF, like many others, was/is a group of industry professionals that got together to decide on standards for future development of the technology with a goal (amongst others)…. to agree on coding formats for IP video cameras. OK that’s a good thing. The IP video equipment manufacturers, were developing the technologies separately as they saw fit (compatibility was avoided to help force you to buy their cameras exclusively).   ONVIF standards provide a common thread to allow some degree of compatibility from one brand of equipment to another. Notice the operative word was SOME!

So what do I need to know about ONVIF? Well for one, if your NVR and IP cameras are two different brands and they are both ONVIF compatible, they should work together. Before ONVIF there wasn’t a snowballs chance in…. (well, you know what) that they would connect. Good progress and getting better every day.   Remember the operative word above? There will be SOME compatibility – not total compatibility.   It is kind of like when you stepped on your remote control for your 6 year old TV and broke it. Couldn’t get an exact replacement so you went to Walmart and bought the “Universal Remote Control”. Life is good again until you discover that only the channel, volume, and a few other buttons worked. That is what ONVIF is like at present. Your NVR will see pictures from cameras and record them but most likely, motion detection recording, audio, alarms, and other higher end functions will not work.

To make things more confusing, there are different “profiles” of ONVIF. This is the natural progression of including more and more of the functions that earlier profiles did not include.

Bottom line – don’t expect to have all of the bells and whistles work in a ONVIF compliant mis-matched system as of now. They will some day. I have seen many times through experience that motion detection recording will not work.   Since this is a popular feature, companies like Exacq, our favorite hardware and software NVR maker, spends lots of time and resources (money) to write drivers for just about every major camera on the market. These drivers allow the higher end features to work properly. Give us a call at (407) 447-1637 and ask us about Exacq products. You will be glad you did.

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Author: dlwyatt1

dlwyatt1 is a 35 year industry professional with a degree in low voltage systems engineering. He has designed multi-million dollar projects for fortune 100 companies and founded Pro Security Warehouse and Integrated Security Solutions 20 years ago.

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