ONVIF Detailed Technical Answers

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Mar 31, 2013

ONVIF is simultaneously one of the most successful and disliked new offerings of the last few years. On the one hand, its adoption has been staggering, with over 3000 products supporting it. On the other, many people have had problems integrating devices with ONVIF. While it has improved significantly over the last two years, ONVIF integrations cannot be taken for granted. Worse, outside of their plugfest, their public interaction has been underwhelming.

However, we recently talked with key ONVIF technical team members to get a better sense of the issues involved, receiving a lot of useful information. This long review summarizes them, including:

  • ***** *********** ******* ********
  • ******* * ***********
  • ****** ** *******'* * *** *
  • *********** ******: **** *** ****** *********
  • ********** / ************ *******
  • *** *********** ******
  • ************* ******

Major *********** ******* ********

**** ***** ********* ************ **** ******** *** **** ****** *** versions ** *****. *** *******, * ****** ***** ******* *.* is ******** ** ****** ***** ** * *** ***** ******* 1.1 (****** *** ******* *** ***). ********, *****, */*, ****** detection, *** ***** ******** ******** *** *** (****** **** ***) work. 

******* *.* ***** *******, ********* *** ******** ********** (************ - new ****** *****: *** (******* ***** *******), *** (******* ***** Display), *** *** (******* ***** *********)). ***** ****** ***** *** in ******** ** ******* ***** *********** (*******, ********, ***.), *** Network ***** ****** (***/***, *** ***** ******* ***** ******* *****), the **** ****** ****** ***** ** ***.

***** **** *** * ****** ** ***** ******** (*.**, *.**, 2.2). *** *******, ************** ******* ******* ******** (*.*., *.**), ******* ****** *** ***** if ***** ********** ******** ******* ****** *** ***. ************, ****** have **** ************ * *** ******** ******* ***** (*.*., *.**). *************, ***** are ********* ** ********, ** **** *********** ** *** ******, only ***** ******** **** ** *****.

*** **** ****** ******* ** ***** ** *.*, ****** * number ** ******** *************** **** ** *** *-****, ********* ****, PTZ **** *************, ******* ************* ***** *** *****, ****** *** ***** commands. ************, ***** * ****** ** ******** ***** ****** ************* were ***** (************* ** **** *****, ******** ** **********, ***.). *******, ******* ****** ********* ****** **** *****, ** simplify ****** ********* **************, ******* ** ************* ******** ***** *** motion ******. ** ******* **** **** ** ********* ********* ******* *****.

How ** * **** ** ***** *******?

******** **** ******'* ******** ******* ** ***********. ************* ********* ** not ******** ***** ***** ******* * ******** ****** ** *****, and **** ******* *** *** **** ****. *******, *** **** consistent *** ** **** * ******'* ******* ** ******* ******** ********** ******* *****. *******, ** ***** ** **** **, ***** **** ***** to * ******** ************'* ******* ****, **** ***** * **** in **** *******, ***** ** *** ****** *******, **** *** product ******* ****, *** ******* ***** ****** *** ******* *********** page, ***** ***** *** ***** ******* (** *.*) ** ********* that ** ** ******* * **** *** **** **** ******* in *** **** ** ****, ** ***** ******* **** **** to **** ** *** **** ** ****.

[******: ** *** ******** **** ***** ** ********** *** ************* / ****** ** ******* * *** ******* *** ******** ***** version.]

Profile

******* * ** *** *** ******** *** ***** **********. ******* will ** ****** ** ********* ** ****** "***** *********", **** must **** ** ***** *** *******, **** * ***** *****, and **** ***********. ** ** ********* ** ***********, ** ******** ***** ******** ****** ** ******* *** ******* a *******, **** ** ***** ********* (**** "*" ****** ***), encoder *************, ****** *********, *** ***. **** ******** ********, ********* motion *********, **** ********** ******** ** ** ******** ** ******* S, *** **** ***** *** ** ***** ******* *** *** sake ** ********** *** **********. 

Profiles: ****'* ****?

***** ********* *** *** ********** ******** ** *********: 

******* *

******* * ******** * ******* *********. ** ****** **** **** storage (***** ** *** ****** ** *******-*********) *** ***** ******* with * ****** ****** *** *********, ******, *** ******. *** latest ******* ** *** **** **** (**.**) ******* ******** ***** for **** *******, ***** **** ************* **** ***** ************, *** no ******** **** ** ********* ***** *** ******* ** ******** released. ******* * ** ******** ** ** ******** ******** ** Q3 ** ** ****.

******* *

******* * ** * “***** ** *******” ******* *** ****** control, ******* ** **** **** ** ****'* ***** ******* *************. Essentially, ******* * **** ***** *** ******* ** **** ****** from ** ****** ******* ****** (****** *******, **** ****** ****, etc.) *** **** **** ** ***** ******* ********* ****** *********** for **** ************. 

***** **'* ***** ********** *****, *** *** *** ****** (******* for ***** ****), ***** ***** *** ****** *** ** *** access ******* ********* ** ***** **** ******* *, ****** **** did **** *********, **** ****** ** ****'* **** ******* ****, as ******** ************.

Performance ******: *** *** ****** *********

***** ************ *** ****** ********** ***** ** ***********: *** ******* and ****** *********.

*** *******

******** ** **** *****, ***** ****** **** ******* *** ** an ***** **** ***** *****, **** ** ******** **** ******* directly ********** ** *** ***. ***** ******** **** **** ** due ** ******* *******. 

  • * ****** ** ************* *********** **** *** ******* ********* **** implementing *****, ***** ******* *********** ********, ** ***** ****** ******* many ******** ******. ** **** **** **, ********** **** ******* to ****** *********** ******** ** ***** *********, ******** ****** *********.
  • ********, ******* ** "********" ******** ** *** ******** *** ***** commands, **** ************* ** ***** ******* ******* ** ********* ***** PTZ ******** ** ***** *** *********** ********, *********** *******. ** they ****** **** *********** **** *** ***** *************, **** *** changed, **** *** ******* ***** *******.
  • *******, **** ************* **** ***** ********** ******** **** ************ ***** is ******** ********** **** ***** ********, ********* **** *********** ** commands ** ******* ****. **** ************ ******* ******* ** ******.

****** *********

***** ****** ********* *** **** ******** ** *** ***** ************* for **** ****, ******* ****** **** *** ******** ***** ********, in ******* *.*. **** ***** **** ************* ******* ***** *** events ***** *** ***** *********, ***** *** ** ** ************ supported ** **** ***. ******* ****** ****** ********* **** ******* moving *******, *** ******* **** ************** *** ******** *****, ****** they ** ***********, ** **** *** *** ****** *****. ************, note **** ***** *** *** *********** *** ************* ** ****** events **** *** ******, ** ***** **** ***** *** ****** detection ***** ** *** ****** **** ***** *****. 

****** *****'* ************ ***** ** *** ****** ****** ********* *********** *** ********** so ****** ****** *****. **** ** **** ****** ********* ******* of ***** *****, **** **** **** ** *** **** *********** infringing *** ** **'* *******, ** ****.

**********/************

***** **** *** ************* **** *** ********** ** **** ******. Instead, ******* **** ***** *** ******* **** *** ***** **** tool, ***** ********* * ****** **** ** **** ** ***** for ************. ** **** ** *** **** ********** *** ******, the ****** ** ***** ** *** ********* ****. ***** *** view * ******'* *********** ******** ** ******* *** ****** **** of *** ****** **** *** ********** ******* **** (**** ****** *******). **** ******** ***** *** ****** ******** *******, ******** *********, test **** *******, *** **** ***********, ***** ***** ******* ** profile ** *********. ***** ****** *** ** **** ** **** sample *****:

*** ***** ********** ******* **** **** **** ******* ** ***** version ** *** ***** **** **** *******. ******* * *** not ******** ***** ******* **.**, *** *******. **********, **** ********* could **** *** **** * ******* ****** ** ******** ** check *********** (**** ** ********* ****). ***, ***** **** ******* conformance ** *******, ******* ** ******* ***** **********, ***** **** test ** *** ******* **** (******** ** **** **** ******* 12.12), *** *********** **** **** ** *** ****** ** *** ********* **********.

******* ** **** ****-******* ******, ******* **** **** ***** ***** claimed **********, *** **** ******************. ** ***** *****, *** ****** ** ******* **** *** list ***********, ***** ******** *** ***** **********. ***** *** ****** letters **** **** **** ** **** ***** ** ****** ***** conformance ******.

************, ***** **** *** ******* ************* ** ****** ** *** versions ** *** ************* ** **** ** *** ******* ****** as **** *** ********. **** ***** *** **** *** **** to ******* *********** ****** **** ********* *** ************* ** ****** to *** ****** *****, ******* ** ***** ****** ** *********** conformant. ** *** ****** **** *** ********* *** ******* ********** products ****, *********** **** *******-******** ***********, *** ***** *** ** plans ** ** ** ***.

VMS ***********

*** *********** ************ **** ********* ** ******* **** **** ********* devices. **********, **** *** ******* **** ******** ** ** ******, but ** *** ***** **** **** *** *** ****** * selection ** ***** ***** ***********. * *** ************ *** ****** the **** ******* ********* *******, *** *******, ******* ** *** most *******-****. *** ************ ****** ******** ** **** **** ******** indeed ********* **** ******** **** **** ***** ** **** *** only ****** **** **** *** ****, *** *******.

**** *** ************* **** **** **** **** *********** ***** ***** conformance *******, ***** **-**-**** ******* * ******* *** ** **** to ****, *** *******. ** ***** ***** ** **** ********** making * *** ** ******* ******** ********* *** *** ******** for *********** *******, *** **** ********* **** ** ***** *** this.

Communication **** *** ***** *** ***********

***** ************ **** ************* **** *** ***** *** *********** *** been * ********. ***** ********* ************** *** ******* ********* ** their *******, ** ********** ********* ******** ** ********* ********* ****** ********, *** ******* system, ** ******* *** *****. ***** ***** ** **** ********* user ************* ** *** ** ***** ***** *** **** ******* of ****.

******* *** **** ******* ***** *** *** ***** *** *********** working **** *****. ***** ***** *** ** ******** ********* *******, they ** ********* ***** ******* **** ** *** ********* ******* **** ** *********, *** ************* *** not *********** ** **** ** ****** *** *****. ** *** problem ****** ** ******, * ****** ** ******* *** **** their ********** ***********.

Comments (10)

I think it is quite ironic that this was posted coincidentally on April 1.

That in a nutshell completely sums up my experience with ONVIF as a real platform that hardware vendors can target for broad VMS support.

Their too lax on their requirements. Having the Onvif badge could be a great marketing tool for manufacturers and Onvif could really capitialize on this. Their should be much stricter guidelines for being Onvif conformant. Otherwise, we will continue to have the same problems. Every device should have the most up to date Onvif conformancy or the manufacturer would not be able to display the Onvif badge when marketing. After reading this, it seems like they really dont have a plan to take care of this issue of intercompatibility between Onvif devices which leaves us at the same issue we were before.

Sean, the combination of how difficult it is to (1) find what version of ONVIF a device supports and (2) what each version does makes for a very risky situation.

While it would be ideal for them to be strict on supporting the most up to date version (i.e., all devices must support the most recent ONVIF version X months after its release), at the very least, they could make their display/listing/search feature easier to report the model's ONVIF version. For instance, VMS manufacturers typically do a good job of listing the specific firmware of camera/encoder models they support. ONVIF could easily do the same (example - here's Milestone's camera support listing).

I just wish they would make it like a UL listing or a building code or something to that effect. something like "If you are not able to meet these guidelines then you cannot display the Onvif badge in your marketing material"

One of the big problems we have seen which undermines the value of the standard is tha so many hardware and software manufacturers claim ONVIF compliance when they are, say, 90%, compliant and that last 10% of non-compliance is the difference between being useful and useless. ONVIF is slowly and steadily moving to the point where it can be relied upon but manufacturers claims have really hurt market acceptance.

Bill, can you share an example or two of the 'last 10% of non-compliance'? Are you alluding to specific features that are not supported via ONVIF (like motion detection) or?

I agree that it's too hard to find the version. It would be easy enough to turn the conformant devices list into a matrix/spreadsheet type of thing, which showed more information at once, and let you sort by said information. I did mention this to them, and it wasn't the first time they'd thought of/heard of/discussed it.

Ethan, I brought up the subject of version information as well at an ONVIF meeting when profiles were first introduced. Prior to profiles, and prior to having the detailed conformance test results available, there has been no feasible way for a consultant to determine if any specific product's "ONVIF compliance" would meet a particular design's functional needs. Even now it still requires a lot of work.

Things are moving in the right direction, but in the mean time the difficulties have been building a bad reputation for ONVIF among customers. I was in a venue last year where three end users talked about how they had specified ONVIF integration, and all three had run into considerable problems and ended up abandoning the ONVIF approach. They were fairly emotional about it. About 40 end users and integrators walked away with a negative impression.

The customers that were not having problems with ONVIF had no reason to attend that function, and so their voices were not heard. Bad news travels easily, and it is easy to get a worse reputation than what is deserved.

I have seen statistics of how many manufacuturers are on board and how many conformant products there are. I'm much more interested in how many successful deployments there, what ONVIF profiles were of particular interest and benefit. Case study information (in-depth reports, not just promotional articles) would help. Of course there will come a point where ONVIF usage is common and ho-hum; what is unknown is how long that will take.

I am a strong advocate for what ONVIF (and PSIA) are doing, and I also understand that these things can take time. The strictness with which ONVIF holds the manufacturers accountable will have a lot to do with the rate of progress going forward.

The primary objective of interoperability standards is for the specification and deployment of technology to become easier and less costly. Ease of access to reliable feature information for ONVIF specs and product compliance--for both designers and end users--will remain key.

Hi John,

Do we have an article, which talks about the various versions like 2.1,2.2. I am unable to gather this info from the ONVIF website.

When a manufacturer says his camera is ONVIF 2.2 profile S conformant and another says his cameras are 2.1 profile S conformant, how big a differentiator is this?

We don't have an article on that. I don't think ONVIFs full changelogs are public. They generally keep the release notes for the last release available, but even that is a lot to read just to get basic information.

To answer your question, if you have one 2.1 Profile S camera and one 2.2 Profile S camera, there may be no difference whatsoever. Profile S mandates it will connect and stream (and a few other features), which have remained largely unchanged for a lot of versions now. Spec version updates generally include bugfixes and impact minor or optional features. The issue is that optional features are just that: optional. So the camera manufacturer and VMS manufacturer don't need to implement them, so they could change absolutely nothing in your particular camera/VMS combination.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...
Drops Dahua, Fenner Becomes ISS CMO on Jul 09, 2018
Hired to improve Dahua's miserable marketing just last year, Janet Fenner has quit Dahua, joining VMS manufacturer ISS as Chief Marketing...
Belgium Bans Private Facial Surveillance on Jul 06, 2018
Belgium has effectively banned the use of facial recognition and other biometrics-based video analytics in surveillance cameras for private,...
UK VSaaS Startup Ocucon on Jul 03, 2018
Decreasing exposure to fraudulent slip-and-fall insurance claims and lawsuits is one of the oldest selling points of video surveillance for retail....
GDPR For Access Control Guide on Jul 03, 2018
Electronic access control is common in businesses plus organizations are increasingly considering biometrics for access control. With GDPR coming...
Digital Watchdog Low Cost 4MP Camera Tested on Jul 02, 2018
Based on member 4MP testing requests, we bought and tested Digital Watchdog's low-cost 4MP DWC-MTT4Wi to see how it performs in real world scenes,...
Allegion Acquires Isonas on Jun 29, 2018
Isonas failed to 'revolutionize' access control as they regularly claimed. Now, nearly 20 years after their founding, they are being acquired by...
Replacing / Switching Access Control Systems Guide on Jun 28, 2018
Ripping out and replacing access control systems is hard for important reasons. Because users typically hold on to access control systems for as...
Panoramic Fisheye Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Oncam And Vivotek on Jun 27, 2018
IPVM tested Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Oncam And Vivotek 12MP panoramic fisheye cameras head to head, as shown in the test setup...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...
Hikvision Fights Ban - Claims 'Red Scare', Hires 14 Term Ex-Congressman on Jul 11, 2018
Hikvision is fighting back against the House Bill Ban of their products. Hikvision has hired one of the biggest lobbying firms, led by a 14 term...
Arecont Acquisition By Costar on Jul 11, 2018
Arecont Vision acquisition by Costar Technologies has been approved by the court, concluding the bankruptcy process triggered by Arecont's...

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