You Cannot Trust the ONVIF Chairman

By: John Honovich, Published on Jul 17, 2015

A fascinating question:

Can you trust salesman?

Posed SourceSecurity.

Unfortunately and ironically, the ONVIF chairman [link no longer available] shows you why should not.

The 'Guarantee'

The ONVIF chairman was asked, "Can End Users Trust Advice From Security Salesmen?" His answer is basically that you can trust salesman because you can trust ONVIF, with him guaranteeing it:

"By their very nature, standards specify minimum operational requirements, so the conforming devices can guarantee interoperability at the most fundamental level."

ONVIF is many things, some quite positive, but certainly not a guarantee of interoperability. This is well understood by most integrators and underscored by our ONVIF tests. Even basic connections are not guaranteed and fundamental features like motion detection and PTZ control frequently do not 'interoperate'.

As such, it is baffling why he would declare this, especially since that was not even the question posed and because a question asking about trust should prompt a reasonable person to provide a trustworthy, direct answer.

Update: ONVIF FAQ Declares No Guarantees

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Direct from the official ONVIF FAQ [link no longer available]: 

"ONVIF DOES NOT provide certificates of conformance or other guarantees of conformance."

The caps are ONVIF's own as any prudent person would refrain from 'guarantees' like that.

Not a 'Policeman'

Not only is the guarantee clearly wrong, but the ONVIF chairman contributes to ONVIF problems here. Last year, the Chairman declared 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." As IPVM then pointed out in our List Of Manufacturers Faking ONVIF Conformance, ONVIF's lazy approach to enforcing their 'standard' encouraged manufacturers to not be interoperable.

The Axis Salesman

The ONVIF chairman [link no longer available], Per Björkdahl [link no longer available], [link no longer available] is a long time Axis salesmen who Axis made chairman of ONVIF, after their last chairman / salesman went to Samsung.

The people who say Axis sabotages ONVIF on purpose always seems a little conspiratorial to us but when you see the Chairman's approach, it does make you wonder.

The Salesmen Challenge

Obviously, some salespeople are trustworthy. It can be hard, though, to determine which ones are honest, amongst the good liars and the happy talkers.

To start, though, salesmen can be honest answering a question about being honest.

1 report cite this report:

ONVIF Chairman Criticizes Low Cost Cameras (Also, He Works At Axis) on Jul 12, 2017
ONVIF Chairman Per Björkdahl [link no longer available] has taken a strong public stance against low cost cameras that are 'much more vulnerable to...
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