IP Camera Standards Battle?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 11, 2010

While we all speak lovingly about the goodness of standards, the fights to set and control standards can be severe. Indeed, a battle may be emerging in the road to setting IP camera standards.

[UPDATE November 2010: We believe IP Camera Standards are Here and ONVIF has Won.]

I see 3 main participants in this process (listed alphabetically):

  • ONVIF: Lead by Axis, Bosch and Sony, they seem motivated to protect the interests of the largest selling camera manufactures
  • PSIA: Lead by Cisco and supported by a half dozen camera manufacturers, they seem motivated to protect the interests of manufacturers with lower IP camera market share
  • SIA standards committee: the oldest of the 3, this committe has actually published standards and looks to be the least political (though not an industry alliance like PSIA and ONVIF, SIA could be the organization that eventually manages the process of standardizing the winning specification)

Why is this Happening?

The IP camera business is exploding.  What may be a $700 Million USD market today is poised to be a multi-billion dollar business in a few years. Indeed, the fight for standards is really a fight to shape a market that will generate sales of $20 - $40 Billion USD in revenue over the next 10 years.  With the growth rate and such large revenue at stake, it is reasonable to see why companies would be motivated to act.

ONVIF and PSIA were launched publicly early this year.  This week, they both issued new releases (ONVIF's release and PSIA's release).  Both organizations will be making a push next week at ASIS.  While SIA has the infrastructure in place to create ANSI/OSI standards, large manufacturers are certainly motivated to try to shape and expedite development in their favor.

What is the impact of standards?

Customers win because standards ultimately drive down costs by eliminating market control over interoperability.  You can make any IP camera work with any IP video management system. The problem is that it's often custom and costs $10,000 - $20,000 USD or more to do so. This makes it infeasible for most.  Once you have standards in place, this cost diminishes, allowing many more suppliers to be supported. With more suppliers in the market, incumbents usually have to respond to the pricing pressures of new competitors.

As such, standards can actually undermine the market leader's position.  Market leaders generally do not need standards because most parties already support their products.  For instance, Axis is already supported by almost every IP video management system.  A standard would not increase their support much at all.  However, it could dramatically increase support for competitors (which removes a key advantage that Axis currently has).  On the other hand, standards tend to make the market grow quicker (but usually with downward pressure on pricing).  As such, market leaders may be able to benefit from standards but it is certainly risky.

On the contrary, companies with small market shares or those trying to get into the market benefit greatly with standards.  One of the biggest problems for analog camera companies trying to get into the IP camera market is that hardly no one currently supports their IP cameras (an ironic state of affair for analog market leaders like Pelco, GE and Honeywell).  With standards in place, this would eliminate a key barrier and allow them to compete with an Axis on other dimensions they might be stronger at (like distribution or imaging quality, etc).

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Overviewing the 2 Key Alliances

So it seems to me that you have ONVIF vs PSIA (you can also consider it Axis vs Cisco or Leaders vs Laggers).

ONVIF: Since ONVIF represents Axis and Sony (with about 45% market share of IP cameras), they should be motivated to control or delay the adoption of standards.  Since they have the market power, they do not need to rush into any program that does not support their interests.

PSIA: They represent the companies with smaller IP camera share (Panasonic, Pelco, Honeywell, GE, DvTel, Verint, IQinVision - all together are a fraction of Axis and Sony's IP share) and Cisco.  Cisco is an interesting factor here because Cisco is more motivated to sell networking equipment than cameras.  Cisco has a heavy incentive to make cameras as cheap and easy to use as possible because that sells more of Cisco's core networking products (indeed, this ironically may make Cisco the best consumer advocate for IP camera standards).

Read an in-depth comparison of PSIA and ONVIF including observations on who is likely to win.

[premium_content]

7 reports cite this report:

ONVIF Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 15, 2019
In the past decade, ONVIF has grown from a reaction to the outside Cisco-lead PSIA challenge, to being the de facto video surveillance standard...
Standards Battle Expands to Access Control on Apr 07, 2010
While IP cameras were the first battleground for establishing standards, the fight is now expanding into access control. ONVIF, the group led by...
PSIA Standards Webinar Examined on Nov 04, 2009
A webinar sponsored by VidSys discussed how new security standards (specifically PSIA standards) for IP appliances and PSIM are helpful towards...
IP Video Close to Standards??? on Feb 19, 2009
Once a new technology gets media coverage, it's common to presume that it's immediately ready for prime time.  This week, a new article declares...
Using Video Surveillance to Fight Terrorism on Dec 03, 2008
The Mumbai attacks raise questions about security enhancements. What can CCTV or video surveillance do to address terrorist attacks such as...
Is Axis IP camera dominance coming to an end? on Oct 05, 2008
IP video is becoming mainstream but Axis' IP cameras may lose their dominance in the process. Six critical issues may undermine Axis position and...
Benefits of Standards for Specifying IP Cameras on Sep 23, 2008
Specifications are valuable but often are done poorly, creating problems or biasing the bid.  Such challenges are magnified with digital and IP...

Related Reports

Axis Supports HD Analog on Apr 15, 2019
In 2017, Axis declared 'Everything is IP': Now, in 2019, Axis has released support for HD analog, with their new encoders.  Why the change?...
ISC West 2019 Report on Apr 12, 2019
The IPVM team has finished at the Sands looking at what companies are offering and how they are changing their positioning. See below for 50+...
Genetec Security Center 5.8 Tested on Mar 19, 2019
Genetec has released Version 5.8. This comes after a wait of more than a year that caused frustrations for many Genetec partners. Our previous...
ONVIF Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 15, 2019
In the past decade, ONVIF has grown from a reaction to the outside Cisco-lead PSIA challenge, to being the de facto video surveillance standard...
Arcules Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 08, 2019
Arcules has amazing advantages. Tens of millions of funding from Canon. Unlimited access to Milestone's source code (see our test results). But...
Church Technology Director Security Interview on Mar 07, 2019
With 40+ years of experience in IT from a wide array of verticals, including US and foreign military, and large corporate and industrial settings,...
Cable Firestopping Installation Guide on Mar 06, 2019
Installing cables through firewalls is a critical installation issue. Failing to properly seal a penetration can cause smoke and fire to spread,...
Prysm PSIM Profile on Mar 05, 2019
A decade ago, PSIM promised significant potential but has always suffered from significant problems. Now, a number of PSIMs have either gone out of...
Salient CompleteView 20/20 VMS Tested on Feb 27, 2019
In IPVM's last test of Salient 3 years ago, we found various problems and deficiencies. Now, Salient says their new CompleteView 20/20 "unified...
Mobotix Move OEM Camera Line Tested on Feb 25, 2019
Mobotix has long been criticized for not offering integrated IR, mechanical cut filters, varifocal lenses, optical zoom and other features that...

Most Recent Industry Reports

19 Facial Recognition Providers Profiled on Apr 23, 2019
IPVM interviewed 19 facial recognition providers at ISC West to understand their claimed accuracy, success and positioning. 9 from China, where...
Locking Down Network Connections Guide on Apr 23, 2019
Accidents and inside attacks are risks when network connections are not locked down. Security and video surveillance systems should be protected...
Hikvision Admits USA Sales Falling on Apr 22, 2019
Hikvision, in a new Chinese financial filing, has admitted that its USA sales are now falling. Less than a year after the US government passed a...
Speco Ultra Intensifier Tested on Apr 22, 2019
While ISC West 2019 named Speco's Ultra Intensifier the best new "Video Surveillance Cameras IP", IPVM testing shows the camera suffers from...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...
H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
 Register for the Spring 2019 Access Control Course----Closed IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Verint Victimized By Ransomware on Apr 18, 2019
Verint, which is best known in the physical security industry for video surveillance but has built a sizeable cybersecurity business as well, was...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact