Milestone ONVIF Bridge Tested

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jul 06, 2016

The Milestone ONVIF Bridge could be a breakthrough.

Enterprise VMSes have long restricted 3rd party access making larger system integration more difficult, PSIMs more complex and expensive and greater lock-in.

Now, Milestone's ONVIF Bridge, enabling open, free 3rd party integration of live and recorded video could make one of the bigger players more open and spur their rivals like Avigilon, Exacq and Genetec to do the same.

But does it work?

We tested the Milestone ONVIF Bridge with 5 VMSes including Avigilon, Exacq and Genetec to see how it worked.

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Key ********

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Tech ******* ******** *********

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RTSP ***********

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Comments (11)

"The support would however be limited to the functionality of providing video out. Support on the receiving end, the 3rd party client, is not in scope for Milestone support."

For integrators, this translates to a lot of finger pointing.

I don't blame Milestone. It is logical that they cannot support someone else's product. However, it still makes a challenge when two parties do not support connection to each other's product. This makes the functionality of limited use as updates on one end or the other could break it.

I have to admit this is the key here.

  • ONVIF Device Manager was able to connect to the Bridge and stream all cameras without issue (live video only, not recordings).

It could be a million reasons why VMSes do not recognize milestone ONVIF( could be not Milestone issue. For example VMSes are counting on the fact that profile could be changed, since cameras normally allow it, unlike Milestone).

For the developer who needs to integrate with Milestone the fact that it works well with ODM - is all what is needed.

I'm sure that it is Milestone's issue. Axxon, Genetec and Exacq are officially compliant ONVIF clients, while Milestone ONVIF bridge is not official compliant ONVIF device. May be they need to try to pass testing process and become listed and then it will work well, I believe.

I think the problem is partly due to the fact that ONVIF Profile S is designed to provide an interface to encoders, i.e. cameras. For it to make sense on a VMS, the VMS would have to re-encode (i.e. transcode) the video output rather than just forward it from the camera. Many of the ONVIF XML packets are based around configuring the encoder (e.g. frame rates, protocols, resolution, GOP, audio/video protocols etc) , but since the VMS has no encoder to configure it is questionable how it handles this.

Sergey is right I think. The ONVIF clients are probably confused that they can't find a useful profile, can't modify a profile, and can't create a new one...

If the VMS is just forwarding video, then IMO there is little advantage in using ONVIF over just plain RTSP.

The ONVIF clients are probably confused that they can't find a useful profile, can't modify a profile, and can't create a new one...

3, thanks, that makes sense to me. Milestone did tell us originally that:

Most, but not all of ONVIF will be supported, most notably changing configurations via ONVIF will not be allowed

And as for:

If the VMS is just forwarding video, then IMO there is little advantage in using ONVIF over just plain RTSP.

On the other hand, PTZ control would be useful, maybe knowing when motion is occurring (i.e., passing motion events) and, on the profile G side, getting recorded video.

PTZ control would be useful, maybe knowing when motion is occurring (i.e., passing motion events) and, on the profile G side, getting recorded video

Yes true, I stand corrected on my last point.

The question I ask then, for those who require ONVIF-OUT on a VMS, would it be better for the VMS to:

1) transcode the output, and hence probably support lower frame rates and resolution than the original stream.

2) or is there an expectation that the video output should be unaltered from the original video from the camera

The first would work well for mobile ONVIF clients, the majority of existing ONVIF clients, access control integrations etc, The second is more in line with what would be needed by law enforcement as evidence, although you'd think the VMS export options would be used in this case.

I am actually thinking (1) might be more useful, and the more natural implementation to go with the way ONVIF works.

For the developer who needs to integrate with Milestone the fact that it works well with ODM - is all what is needed.

Perhaps we should eliminate all the pesky self-certification requirements and just make ODM the standard bearer?

Can you provide any further details on how you were able to successfully add an Onvif Bridge stream to Genetec Security Center via RTSP? Please outline the steps if possible.

We actually were never able to get it to work. From the report:

...when attempting to connect with Exacq or Genetec, the Milestone ONVIF Bridge service crashed and had to be manually restarted

I just tried it again briefly to see if anything changed, and it seems to no longer crash the service on the Milestone server, but now... the Genetec directory restarted. Not sure that's an improvement!

If anyone else has had success integrating it with Genetec, I'd be interested.

Thanks for the update Ethan. I was basing my assumption that it worked from a statement in the original article :

"The ONVIF Bridge also offers an RTSP option for camera streaming, which worked without issues in all VMSes in our tests, in contrast to the ONVIF integration."

I am more interested in getting RTSP to work as opposed to ONVIF.

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