ONVIF Affirms No Policing, Abuse Away!

By John Honovich, Published Apr 08, 2014, 12:00am EDT

Surely you have gotten emails or seen brochures from crappy companies who claim to be ONVIF conformant, even though they are not found on the ONVIF official list [link no longer available]. Or worse, two 'officially' conformant products have failed to work together.

You may wonder to yourself, "How can this be?"

And the more skeptical of you might even think, "Why would ONVIF allow this? Are they just uninterested in policing or protecting their own standard?"

Alas, you would be correct and here it is from the Chairman himself.

In the video below, ONVIF's chairman declares that "ONVIF is not a policing organization", seeing themselves "as an enabler" who "want(s) the industry to manage that in the best possible way", including becoming observer members to test ONVIF conformance themselves.

This is absurd. If ONVIF wants a solution that the market trusts, it has to police ONVIF claims and 'enable' an offering that industry people can rely on, without having to become members and run their own tests.

What is worse is that this is clearly ONVIF's approach and not a misstatement. These problems have gone on for years and they seemingly do nothing about them.

Conspiracy Theorists

Conspiracy theorists like to claim that Axis is sabotaging ONVIF on purpose. And when the ONVIF chairman / Axis employee [link no longer available] makes such an incomprehensible statement, it does engender doubt.

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Could you imagine if we asked him the following, "Hey, I am going to counterfeit the Q1614 and just slap the Axis logo on it. What do you think?" Assuredly, his answer would NOT be to emphasise that Axis refrains from policing its intellectual property and trademarks.

Observer Members Responsibility

In the video, ONVIF's chairman emphasizes the role of the observer member, a newly created tier [link no longer available] where for $500 you get access to the ONVIF conformance test tools (note: IPVM was the first observer member). However, the test tool is cumbersome to use and time consuming to run, with results cryptic to outsiders, often indiscernible without in-depth knowledge of the specific camera under test (see our full ONVIF test).

ONVIF's Responsibility

ONVIF has to police its brand and conformance claims if it wants people to trust them. And while ONVIF generates high interest, it is also broadly mistrusted because of integration problems that are certainly compounded by its laid back attitude to manufacturers abusing ONVIF conformance.

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