"Right now we are addressing access control"

ONVIF has successfully worked with standardisation for IP video products in order to create interoperability between different brands. Now this industrial forum continues to take on access control, with the same ambition. met up with Jonas Andersson, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the industry forum for the standardisation of physical IP security products, ONVIF, for the following interview.

Why is it that ONVIF has grown so fast, in number of members and in numbers of compliant products?
There is obviously a great demand in our industry for a common interoperability standard that makes it easy to build video surveillance systems with products from different vendors. ONVIF has been established to meet this demand, and apparently its scope and approach has appealed to the market. Furthermore, the royalty free license model makes it easy for members to launch compliant products with the ONVIF interface.

You are working full time with ONVIF, but you are also employed by Axis. Was that the intention when you became the chairman?
ONVIF is driven exclusively by individuals still employed by the member companies, there are currently no ONVIF-employed staff. The advantage is that everything ONVIF does is grounded in the realities of the member companies. Personally I have a focus on business development in standardisation and put a lot of effort into ONVIF.

Does Axis get money re-funded from ONVIF for the employment cost?
No. All costs for work efforts are funded by the member companies. Member fees to ONVIF go mainly to organising events and developing our test tools.

The industry standard, developed by ONVIF, has become increasingly globally accepted. Then, there are working groups within Cenelec that create European norms for video surveillance products, how engaged are you within the Cenelec work?
I am personally a representative in SEK (the Swedish electrical standardisation organisation) and thereby also active in CENELEC and the international counterpart IEC. It is also important to remember that ONVIF is a liaison of both CENELEC and IEC, which means that we can participate in their meetings.

After being very successful with the standardisation work around IP-video products, the forum is heading to standardise other physical security products, starting off with Access Control. Is it a way to further compete with the American organisation PSIA, which already has included all aspects of IP-based security equipment?
ONVIF is not driven by competitive considerations, but by demands from the market and from our member companies. Access control is a natural extension to network video, since there are great benefits from having a global standard for interoperability in integrated systems like video and access control, and there may be
other systems in the future. However, ONVIF's focus on addressing one type of system at a time, i.e. network video to start with and now access control, has proven very successful in generating specifications that are endorsed by the market.

The success of your standardization work within the field of network video products is understandable as ONVIF was founded by Axis, Sony and Bosch, all of you very important players in the video surveillance market. And now the membership list includes more than 200 companies, but most of them are specialists in video surveillance. How will you approach the access control market? And how can ONVIF attract access control manufacturers all over the world?
Naturally, when we started ONVIF with a focus on network video a great majority of companies involved had the same focus. However, new members with an access control focus join and we shall not forget that there are already several members in ONVIF that have a large offering in access control such as Bosch, Deister, Pacom and Siemens, etc. More importantly, we are certain that access control companies will - just as video surveillance companies did - see the clear benefits of having a standard, and the possibility that ONVIF, through its leading position, offers them to influence the direction.

The access control production market is very different from the video surveillance product manufacturers' market, in the access control market local manufacturers have a dominating role in many countries and are not necessarily very export oriented. Do you think that this will make it very much harder to implement access control?
We have seen a large interest from the access control companies in this new initiative within ONVIF. Working groups have already started. I am confident that the benefit of being able to access a greater market through standardisation and the convergence of the security market will be appreciated.

What is the time schedule for getting ONVIF compliant products within access control?
The specification work has started and there are a lot of companies engaged in this. We hope that there will be a specification ready for review at the beginning of next year. Then it is up to the member companies to implement and launch products. ONVIF cannot comment on members product availability.

What is, in your view, the next product area that ONVIF will cover?
As I mentioned before, ONVIF has been very successful with focusing on one area at the time. Right now we are addressing access control. We do also, of course, maintain the video specifications. So far we have not decided on yet a further area. It is up to the members to suggest that.

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