A Challenge-Standards of interoperability

Setting up an IP surveillance network can be a nightmare for the installers. If the system is not carefully planned before the purchase, setting it up can turn out to be the most difficult task and cost a fortune.One of the reasons for that, is lack of widely accepted standards for IP based video surveillace. To aide this situation, two main bodies arose: ONVIF and PSIA.

ONVIF or Open Network Video Interface Forum is an open industry forum for the development of a global standard for the interface of network video products, supported by Bosch, Sony and Axis, among others. So far, it's demonstrated 14 interoperable network video products from nine companies, and its membership has grown to over 100 companies(full members, contributing members and user member companies.)

PSIA, or the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance, is a global consortium of more that 50 physical security manufacturers and systems integrators focused on promoting interoperability of IP-enabled security device across all segments of the industry. It has established working groups for annalytics and storage systems, as well as the core media device specification.

Pelco, a founding member of PSIA, took an interest in the specs because it sells both IP cameras and head-end system. The ONVIF spec is based on Web service and  a technology called SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). Web services are a collection of specifications defined by a number of standards bodies and commercial consortiums, in which just about every large IT company is involved, including Microsoft and IBM. Two notable examples are the specs for WS-Discovery and WS-Notify which ONVIF leverages for camera discovery and event notification. An advantage of SOAP and Web Services, he said, is a rich set of tools to support development and rigid adherence between components.

The PSIA standards take a different approach and are based on a preexisting and competing architectural style called REST ( Representational State Transfer). REST was developed in early 2000 in response to the complexity and rigidity of SOAP and Web services. Protocols based on REST are considered lighter-weight, easier to build and integrate, with the advantageof human readable protocol mesages that aid in trooubleshooting and integration.


According to a report by IMS Reserch released in July, member companies of ONVIF command a larger slice of the video surveilance equipment makrket than member companies of PSIA. ONVIF member companies made up more that 40 percent of worldwide video surveillance market revenues, compared with 25 percent by PSIA member companies.

However, PSIA is going after the physical security market as a whole, and some companies are members of both groups. According to IMS, well over half of all video surveillance equipment sales can be attributed to companies in one or both of these standards bodies, and ii of the top 11 video surveillance vendors have joined either ONVIF or PSIA. Many component manufacturers analytics vendors and distributors (who were not accounted for in its analysis of the market) have signed up to guide the future path of the market.