Standards forum ONVIF announces plans

Thursday, October 9, 2008

ESSEN, Germany--ONVIF, the video standards forum begun by camera manufacturers Axis, Bosch and Sony, used the first day of Security Essen here to announce its organizational structure and plans for the near and long-term future. The body has been organized as a federally recognized non-profit entity in the United States, with a steering committee and administrative apparatus that is independent of the three founding companies. ONVIF has offices in San Ramon, Calif., and has its own booth here at the trade show. Other companies--manufacturers, integrators, consulting firms, etc.--may join the organization in one of three ways: as a "User Member," a "Contributing User," or as a "Full Member."
Any company may join at any level, said Jonas Andersson, Axis' director of business development and global sales, and a representative of ONVIF. Interested companies must fill out an application, sign a member agreement, and pay a fee according their desired level of involvement.
However, "One corporation gets one vote," emphasized Andersson, "no matter how big or small."
The User Member pays a $1,000 fee to ONVIF, and gets access to the draft specifications as they're being developed and will be given materials to test themselves against to make sure they are compliant. Contributing members pay a $10,000 fee and may influence the standard by serving on committees, voting for seats on any committee except for the steering committee, and contributing thoughts and ideas. Full members pay $20,000 and are part and parcel of the approval process, organizing the direction of the committees and acting as chairs, deciding when to hold votes and otherwise being vested in the process.
"But all users get a vote on the final specification," Andersson emphasized. He said the monies collected would go toward the independent administration of the organization and the publicizing of the organization's activities. At least 100 companies have already shown interest in membership, Andersson said.
"We will have our first open meeting in the first week of December," he said, at an as-yet-undetermined U.S. location. At that meeting there will be a baseline framework for a specification that defines plug-and-watch systems--including device management, real-time viewing, PTZ control, metadata streaming, and configuration and event handling--which will have been developed by Axis, Sony and Bosch. Those companies will not have any undue influence over the specification from that point forward, however.
"We want to be the first truly global entity," Andersson said. "The organization is now open for new members, and we welcome all interested parties from around the world to expand the group and take part in further developing the framework."