ONVIF Opens the Gate to Expanded Interoperability

For the past four years, ONVIF has charted a new course in the physical security industry that has opened doors for end users, system integrators and manufacturers to move past proprietary interfaces and interoperability issues. The work continues into 2012, where several initiatives will continue to shape the debate about the future of IP interoperability.


Access control specification update

Although network video has garnered its share of attention in the standards debate, access control will take center stage in 2012 with a new slate of specifications that will standardize one of the more traditionally proprietary segments of the market. This initiative will have specific benefits to various stakeholders in the market by easing the integration and simplifying the installation of network video and network physical access control systems. In addition, it will help incorporate physical access control functionalities into network video systems.

While access control has always maintained different subsets of standards—most notably the Wiegand interface between the card reader and the door controller—the interface between the controller and the access control management software has been where manufacturers maintained proprietary communication protocols.

A physical access control standard would allow IP door controllers from different companies to become compatible with one another. Physical access control systems integrated with network video devices would use the standard to position a pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) dome camera for recording a card swipe at a particular door; activating network video recording on an invalid card swipe; or controlling and coordinating schedules and access rights of integrated networked video devices and an access control system.


Profile concept news

Systems designers and specifiers will now find it easier to determine which devices are compatible with one another. With ONVIF’s profiles concept, they are not required to have technical knowledge of the specific versions of the ONVIF specification released since 2008. For example, users will no longer need to determine if specific devices introduced in ONVIF 2.0 are compatible with clients that conform to ONVIF 1.0 or with newer versions introduced in the future. Instead, users will be able to easily select the appropriate profile that offers interoperability at a specific functional level between units and software that fits their needs.

As access control specifications are released and adopted by the market, the next 13 months will see great strides in the integration of video and access control systems, furthering the drive for universal standards in the security market.


Jonas Andersson is chairman of the ONVIF Steering Committee (www.onvif.org) and leads the group’s standardization activities. He also serves as director of Business Development at Axis Communications AB with the global responsibility for business development of Axis’ standardization initiatives.