What is ONVIF ? (updated 2020)

Do you know What is ONVIF

You must understand this protocol if you are working with IP based systems in the video surveillance or access control industry.

ONVIF Protocol

What is ONVIF?

ONVIF is a worldwide open standard protocol for interconnection between IP based systems such as video surveillance and access control devices. Most modern IP security systems are ONVIF compliant.

Founded in 2008 by AxisBosch, and Sony, the ONVIF network video interface forum has more than 500 members and more than 5,000 video surveillance and access control ONVIF compliant products.

ONVIF Cameras

Let's use a standard protocol

Imagine a system integrator who sells IP surveillance systems or access control equipment to a customer who later decides to use a different brand.

Using ONVIF compliant devices, the customer has more freedom of choice for different IP cameras or access control equipment.

Quick video explanation

Watch this quick video to understand more about this open standard protocol.

The devices communication 

When a Network Video Recorder (NVR) sends commands to an IP camera to request high-resolution videos, a common standard enforced by the ONVIF protocol allows to such camera to delivery what was asked even if the NVR was manufactured by another company and has a different brand.

So the commands used by a PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) camera, for example, to change its position or send a Full HD video stream, are always the same. It doesn't matter who the camera is or the VMS software manufacturer.

shaking hands

This is why this network video interface forum is so important.

The benefits of the ONVIF protocol

ONVIF allows the IP camera and software manufacturers to use the same protocol, so it's unnecessary to rewrite code every time a new IP device comes to the market or a new IP surveillance software is launched.

The ONVIF profiles and features

In addition to the video, you can also use other features through the ONVIF protocol, such as alarms, video analytics, audio, and PTZ control. It all depends on the protocol version used by the manufacturers for video streaming.

There are versions 1.x and 2.x of the protocol. The 1.x is already very old and practically no longer considered by most manufacturers.

Profile S: This is the most basic profile for the cameras. It supports video streaming from the camera to the recording or monitoring system.

Profile G: Supports video storage control. The profile G allows a VMS to retrieve video from an SD card installed on an IP camera.

Profile Q: Profile that allows you to discover the cameras on the network through a scan. The profile Q increases password security.

Profile C and A: Support Access Control.

The video below explains the use of profile A and profile C.

Profile C is relatively new.

Profile T: Profile supports the H.265 CODEC.

The ONVIF Profile T was created to address advanced video capabilities such as motion detection, video analytics, and H.265 CODEC support.

The ONVIF Profile T features

H.265 compliant;

Motion detection;

Analytic Events;

Advanced video metadata

Digital Inputs;

Relay Outputs.

The ONVIF Profile T is H.265 compliant

The H.265 CODEC is supported by the Profile T via the Media2 service.

Media 2 service is a standard framework designed to support different codecs, so the H.265 and other ones can be implemented into the protocol, making it future-proof and more comfortable to work with.

Motion Detection

The use of motion detection is essential for IP based systems since it allows us to use an IP camera to generate events to trigger alerts and reduce storage.

VMSes can use the motion detection feature from an IP camera or use their built-in motion detection. The first method reduces the need for extra processing power considerably; that's why it's proffered in most cases.

Analytic Events

Most professional IP cameras have some video analytics features available, and usually, their use is tied to a proprietary VMS.

With the ONVIF Profile, the VMSes can receive the analytics events and trigger an appropriate response.

Bi-directional audio

Most of the IP cameras on the market are compliant with the ONVIF Profile S, which supports audio.

Bi-directional audio can be used with the profile T, which allows us to transmit and receive audio from the IP security cameras and other network devices.

Why is ONVIF Profile T important?

The ONVIF Profile T is essential because it supports the new technologies used by the security camera manufacturers.

Video motion detection and video analytics are essential for AI (Artificial Intelligence), maximizing system efficiency. 

The protocol Conformance Verification

You can test the ONVIF profiles for IP cameras and Access control (profile C) for conformance. Watch the video to learn more.

ONVIF compatible cameras

There's an official ONVIF compatibility list. See the link below.

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