As with many great technologies, there is a format war going on in the video security industry. IP technologies have made interconnecting systems very easy, but mixing and matching IP cameras and VMS systems has been anything but plug-and-play.
With analog, video was video was video, and the only integration issues were pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) data and other telemetry data languages. Now, however, every manufacturer is putting their own twist on video codecs, with some manufacturers blazing their own trail. To a certain extent, video has become proprietary.
A few years ago, two major standards appeared on the scene to try to resolve these issues, ONVIF and PSIA. ONVIF, or the Open Network Video Interface Forum, was founded primarily by Axis, Sony, and Bosch. The PSIA, or Physical Security Interoperability Alliance, was spearheaded by several manufacturers, including Cisco, GE, IBM, NICE, Pelco, Milestone, Genetec, and many others.
It seems that a winner is starting to emerge. IPVideoMarketInfo.com, a blog started by John Honovich has declared ONVIF to be the victor. My own personal observations looking at which standards are being adopted by IP equipment manufacturers seems to validate this statement. I see far more product hitting the market (or about to) with the “ONVIF compatible” tagline.
If this is truly the way it shakes out, does that affect how you select products? When you go to purchase IP cameras, do you look for the standard that it is compatible with? Or do you simply rely on the VMS manufacturer having the right drivers?