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The already open ONVIF opens up even more. Is this the future?

The already open ONVIF opens up even more. Is this the future?
ONVIF's move to have a GitHub repository sheds some light on the future road map of the open industry forum.
ONVIF recently announced its repository in GitHub, raising quite a bit of interest in the industry on what it aims to gain from this move. ONVIF network interface specifications define the language and methods by which devices and clients can communicate with one another.

These specifications are open standards that have always been publicly available on the ONVIF website. But they have historically been developed and maintained within the ONVIF membership. So, what’s brought about this change in policy? Is the future going to be more about open source than proprietary? recently spoke to Per Björkdahl, Chairman of the ONVIF Steering Committee, about this.

Meeting the fast-evolving market demand

There are several obvious advantages to opening contributions from a wider audience. Björkdahl explained that by adopting an open-source methodology, companies outside of ONVIF, and potentially developers from many different companies and industries, will have the ability to provide input on their specifications. This becomes necessary as the industry sees more and more solutions becoming integrated and evolving on the back of technologies like IP and AI.

“On a more internal level, our move to GitHub, an online open-source development platform means the administrative and collaborative processes of creating ONVIF network interface specifications will be significantly streamlined as GitHub will allow us to automate much of the detailed, process-oriented work that is required to produce technical specifications,”  Björkdahl added. “We hope that the accessibility of open source and the automation offered by GitHub will no doubt encourage greater feature interoperability and innovation - allowing ONVIF to provide new specifications faster to meet existing and future market demands.”

Expectations on open source community

Open source development is easier and more efficient for specification contributions, and as a trend, has proven to be successful for many organizations by increasing collaboration, providing additional transparency, and new perspectives - allowing such organizations to thrive and expand.

“With this in mind, ONVIF is already solidly entrenched in the security industry, and its interoperability specifications have the capability to both provide and capitalize on opportunities with other technology sectors,” Björkdahl said. “Open source development on GitHub will provide a bridge between security technology and building automation systems, or other ancillary systems, that depend on the standardization of data for basic interoperability.”

Future developments in IoT

In a release accompanying the announcement, ONVIF had mentioned that entry in Github could help developers from a broad range of disciplines like IoT, artificial intelligence, and cloud services to provide their inputs. This gives some indications of what the industry can expect to see from ONVIF in the future.  

“Logistically speaking, nothing will change in the way that systems integrators and end users use ONVIF-conformant products to assemble best of breed solutions for their customers or own organizations,” Björkdahl explained. “We do anticipate the streamlined specification engineering process via GitHub will enable us to bring new developments to the market more quickly. We also anticipate the ability to more easily incorporate external contributions from software engineers and developers from many different technology disciplines.”

This includes IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and cloud services. The end result will be greater flexibility in the types of solutions that are interoperable with one another for a broader range of solutions that both systems integrators and end users can benefit from. This move may mean that the future is about more and more collaboration. 

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