ONVIF: Conformance and False Claims

Per Björkdahl

Chairman, ONVIF Steering Committee

ONVIF is the largest organization of its kind in the world and has seen its membership grow steadily each year since its founding. ONVIF plays an important role in the industry and the credibility of the ONVIF brand is crucial to its future success, as it influences the adoption of standards, ONVIF’s future and how the organization is perceived.

But as with every industry, false claims of ONVIF conformance do happen, varying from exaggerated technical specifications to questionable compatibility claims between products.

ONVIF’s standards specify minimum operational requirements and provide an option for interoperability that meets the needs of a majority — maybe 70 to 75 percent — of the market. Our specifications are either adopted voluntarily by the market, driven by demand, or through international standards issuing organizations.

When a misuse/violation is reported, ONVIF has official channels through which member complaints of non-conformance can and are addressed. In October of this year, we released a web-based conformance reporting tool that provides both members and non-members an avenue for contacting ONVIF if they believe an invalid claim of conformance is occurring. The new conformance reporting tool will submit information directly to ONVIF’s administrative offices, via an online web form on the ONVIF website.

We have found that invalid claims are often the result of a lack of understanding and this is why we are working hard to communicate better with our members about what is required of them. One area we need to educate the market about is the use of rebranded OEM products.  Members who OEM a product which already has a claim of conformance must retest and submit new documentation to show valid conformance. 

In this last year, we did notify a very small number of manufacturers who had left ONVIF to stop advertising their products as ONVIF conformant. Additionally, the conformance process and Rules of Membership were sent to member manufacturers that were claiming conformance without having submitted the requested paperwork to ONVIF.

When it comes to ONVIF conformance, it is important to remember that ONVIF profiles ensure interoperability. ONVIF is a member-driven consortium that encourages its members to bring their best work to market and to maintain the integrity of the ONVIF brand. Ultimately, though, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure their products perform well. In April of this year, ONVIF released its first Client Test Tool to its members. The test tool allows ONVIF to independently verify that clients have been successfully tested with several ONVIF conformant devices for their conformance to ONVIF’s Profile S, Profile G and Profile C.

ONVIF will continue to solicit feedback from the security community and ONVIF members, continuing this dialog on how to keep false claims of ONVIF conformance small in number. When you see false claims of conformance, whether you’re an ONVIF member, a journalist or integrator, please contact ONVIF. Your help is integral in keeping the ONVIF name meaningful and will help lead the way toward increased interoperability.

Please remember that the best source for determining whether a product is officially ONVIF conformant or not is ONVIF’s official website, onvif.org.

To report a false claim of conformance, please use our new form for reporting improper conformance claims or email help@onvif.org with the details.

ONVIF will also be present at Intersec 2016, to be held in Dubai from 17 to 19 January, in the Arena Hall, stand number SA-M32.

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