ONVIF: A Vital Tool for Retrofit Projects

Security directors are no stranger to the necessity of blending legacy physical security devices and software with newer products and services. Whether you are a retail business in search of higher resolution camera technology for more accurate images, or you’re the head of a multi-location organization that wants to leverage new access control card reader technology with existing hardware without installing completely new door controllers, card readers and wiring, retrofits are a large percentage of installations, encompassing many of our industry’s technologies.

Retrofits are popular because they allow end users to use newer and more innovative technology while also prolonging the life and effectiveness of existing physical security systems. Interoperability and a common mode of communication between different kinds of devices can be two keys to success in an effective retrofit project.

In the initial installation, using products that conform to open standards for interoperability, such as those offered by ONVIF, allows end users to add newer security components from multiple vendors as needed in the future. For example, imagine that your access control system uses ONVIF Profile A-conformant products, which standardizes communications between access control devices and software. If in a few years, you need to add more readers with newer technology to a specific location, newer Profile A-conformant readers can be added that can communicate with the legacy Profile A-conformant devices already installed, using the ONVIF interface. Profile A enables functions such as the granting/revoking credentials, creating schedules, changing privileges and enables integration between access control and IP video management systems.

The same holds true with Profiles T, S and G for video recording and storage. Combining Profile T for advanced streaming, which offers support for H.265 and H.264, with Profiles G for edge recording and storage and Profile S for Motion JPEG allows for the design of a complete surveillance system that can leverage both existing and future technology. Combining other profiles, such as Profiles C and A for access control can broaden the system scope to the integration of access control with video.

Electing to use products that conform to open standards, such as those from ONVIF, in the design of a new physical security system certainly can make future retrofits easier, faster and more cost effective. It also allows end users to choose components from multiple vendors to create a highly specialized “best of breed” solution.

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