Security managers suffer from no standards for surveillance recorders. Even large organizations with thousands of cameras and hundreds of sites rarely use more than 1 or 2 manufacturer's recorders (even if they use more than a dozen manufacturer's cameras).
Emerging interoperability specifications from PSIA and ONVIF aim to eliminate this problem.
Operational Constraints from Poor Interoperability
The main practical issue is that each manufacturer has their own proprietary viewing software that almost never supports viewing video from other manufacturer's recorders. Because of this, if security managers used multiple recorders, operators would be forced to use multiple applications.
The limitations are serious. Operators would have to switch back and forth to view different cameras, could get confused about what cameras are associated with which manufacturer's recorders and would not be able to display all cameras on a single monitor.
Financial Penalties from Having to Use a Single Vendor
Because of these drawbacks, the pressures to use a single recording vendor is high.
However, the costs and penalties of 'locking in' to a single vendor is also high:
- If better quality (or less expensive) alternatives arise over time, it's hard to switch.
- If some sites are better served by other manufacturers (specific features needed or lower price points for different camera configurations), it's hard to choose them.
Emerging Interoperability Specifications from PSIA and ONVIF
is also pursuing specification for video surveillance recorders. ONVIF has a storage working group that is developing similar specifications. However, ONVIF does not plan to release these specifications publicly until 2010.