What Products are Ready for PSIA / ONVIF IP Camera 'Standards'?

Published Apr 27, 2010 04:00 AM
PUBLIC - This article does not require an IPVM subscription. Feel free to share.

Lots of press releases and happy talk but major questions remain about what specific products are ready for real-world use of IP camera standards.

[Update 2014: This article is from 2010 and is left only for historical purposes. ONVIF production support is vast now while PSIA is still poor.]

From our review, here are our major concerns:

  • Lack of information on what is available. For instance, PSIA has 0 products listed on the conformant products section of its website [link no longer available]. In an email to us, PSIA lists about 14 companies they believe supports their protocol in production. Also, ONVIF has 19 companies [link no longer available] it lists with manufacturer's self-document conformance.
  • Manufacturers announce support but only for a small fraction of their product lineup. For instance, Axis supports ONVIF but only 2 Axis cameras are listed on the ONVIF conformant list [link no longer available]. In an e-mail update, Axis reports that they plan to implement ONVIF support in 'at least 15-20 products' during 2010.
  • Groups say products support a 'standard' but a check with the manufacturer contradicts that. For instance, this week we checked with technical support from Arecont Vision who reports that PSIA is not available in production release yet. Moreover, certain Arecont Vision H.264 cameras manufactured last year would not support PSIA because of insufficient memory.
  • Products are listed on the conformant list but do not work: We tried connecting the Brickcom VMS to the Axis Q1910 (both listed as conformant) but the connection would not work. [Update May 2010: We have resolved the issue but Axis's interface has a counter-intuitive setup and restrictive modes.]
  • Conformant Testing Availability: ONVIF has a conformant test tool available but PSIA does not. PSIA reports that it will be released in May 2010.

We are having significant problems determining and verifying production support of cameras. It is one thing to issue a press release. It is another (and more important) to verify the specific models, firmware/software version and tested compatibility of various 'standardized' products. We first reported such issues in February 2010. We believe these issues have not materially improved in the interim.

Good Progress Overall
That being said, both groups have made impressive progress in the past 2 years moving from an idea to increasingly viable solution. With the level of commitment, we do believe that IP camera 'standards' will become an important force in real-world deployments. However, we still see a significant amount of practical issues to resolve. Specifiers and users should be on guard for these issues. We shall continue to update as we conduct further tests.