Manufacturers Sound Off on ONVIF

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 16, 2014

ONVIF has achieved massive adoption amidst significant criticism. The most vocal critics are typically from manufacturers who deal with ONVIF most directly.

Do those critics represent manufacturers overall? In this IPVM survey, we asked manufacturers:

  • "Has ONVIF helped or hurt your company?"
  • "How would you like to see ONVIF improve? What problem(s) do you want them to solve?"

The results surprised us:

Positive

Overall, most manufacturers are positive about ONVIF. Indeed, their comments show that, in a fragmented market like surveillance, ONVIF has become a useful tool to access more jobs, more projects, more busiess.

Camera Manufacturer Positives

Not surprisingly, camera manufacturers, especially smaller ones, are overwhelmingly positive about ONVIF, with comments including:

  • "ONVIF set a functional baseline, and can provide a quick path for integration to a VMS."
  • "ONVIF has helped our company which has historically produced relatively low volume cameras. Now that ONVIF has matured, it allows the basic integration of these cameras with minimal involvement from the various VMS companies."
  • "ONVIF has helped. Integration with VMS from companies small - mid size is difficult. They will integrate top brands first. Thus ONVIF has helped us."
  • "With the implementation of ONVIF 2.2/Profile S, we have seen a marked increase in interoperability, even with our better VMS partners who just haven't gotten around to integrating our latest SDK."
  • "Working for a small manufacturer gives us some advantage when our solution is not as popular as others."

Even from their own perspectives, ONVIF is helping those smaller camera manufacturers become viable across a broader portion of the company.

VMS Companies Support

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Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, since VMSes and ONVIF are not as frequently discussed, most VMS companies found ONVIF to be quite helpful for them:

  • "It has helped us with our Recording platforms, to expand the 3rd party cameras we can support."
  • "A great help. We do not integrate new cameras via SDK any more and only recommend ONVIF."
  • "It helped for sure some end users to get their unknown branded cameras into our VMS."
  • "We hear from customers who have successfully used other cameras that we have never heard of. This ultimately is the goal."
  • "Helped concentrate resources on added value instead of basic integrations."
  • "Helped. It has enabled partners a path forward to integrate their cameras."

Bigger VMS Less Enthusiastic

However, bigger VMSes seemed less enthusiastic overall about ONVIF, with two representative comments including: 

"ONVIF cameras represent less than 5% of total camera utilization, but over 25% of product management and tech support resources. On the positive, it's a relatively efficient way to add low volume camera vendors that would've otherwise required development of a new camera driver."

"Spend a lot of time troubleshooting Issues if the Manufacturer hasn't implemented ONVIF correct."

Another major VMS had an interesting approach to using ONVIF to push their camera partners for quicker, less costly integrations:

"We enforce Profile Conformance submission from all of our prospective ONVIF partners before we even start the certification process. We also require latest official ONVIF Device Test Tool test results"

#1 Problem - Field Failures 

A significant minority of manufacturer emphasized failed ONVIF integrations as the clear #1 problem:

  • "Hurt - mainly because  integrators trying to use cheap cams with the ONVIF label and they fail. Sometimes it can wreck an entire deal"
  • "It can make a project painful, cause a lot of time ONVIF is not ONVIF. Cams and VMSs are often not compatible, although ONVIF."
  • "Never lived up to its potential because video manufacturers: 1) Only implement a portion of it 2) Don't keep up with the standards" 
  • "Have come across older versions that are NOT fully compatible. The older revisions have caused some hurdles to clear"
  • "Have had a large number of bad experiences, even with mainstream brand names such as Bosch and Axis cameras"
  • "Our IP cameras all pass the latest ONVIF test tools and are certified Profile S compliant yet the cameras frequently fail on ONVIF NVRs because there is little control or qualification on recorders."

#2 Problem - Missing Features

The second biggest problem expressed was missing features, as ONVIF does not require advanced features to be included:

  • "Your transmit to the customer that thru ONVIF is possible, however, details like PTZ control, alarm, etc when the customer uses another software that`s when the hurting part stars."
  • "Has caused frustration with customers who expected 2 ONVIF devices from different companies to not only work, but do everything the customer wanted."
  • "In some ways it has hurt us because the integrations results are sometimes poor compared to using the native camera language."
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