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ONVIF Compliance and IP rating, for example IP66 or IP65, are features that are often touted by manufacturers of security cameras for the benefit of the user. When selecting a package home security camera system for your home or choosing from among several models of video surveillance cameras, seeing these features may not seem as important as say, the type of camera lens or night vision capability that are key features of security cameras.
However, if you want your security cameras to last and the different components of your home security system to work seamlessly together, you should pay attention to IP ratings and ONVIF compliance. It is worth your while to find out what these terms mean and how they affect the performance of each device.
ONVIF is the acronym for Open Network Video Interface Forum that was founded by in 2008 by Axis Communications, Sony Corporation, and Bosch Security Systems. The purpose of the alliance of the security companies in establishing an open industry forum is to develop a global standard for the interface of IP-based physical security products, such as communication between video management systems and devices like cameras and video recorders.
Problems that were encountered by security companies and integrators who found that security devices from different companies fail to work together prompted the development of a global standard for interoperability. Through ONVIF compliance, the interoperability of security devices regardless of manufacturer and the standardization of communication between network video devices can be achieved. The open standards are open to all companies, security integrators, and organizations who wish to participate in the forum.
ONVIF comes up with standards that security companies, for example manufacturers of security cameras, can adopt and implement for the benefit of users who tend to mix and match devices from different companies in their home security system. ONVIF compliance for interoperability means that products certified at the same level would work seamlessly with a similarly certified device or client.
Current membership to ONVIF has four classes that accommodate four levels of participation, which include observer member, user member, contributing member and full member. ONVIF observers are allowed use of conformance tools and the use of the ONVIF Member logo, while other members have the additional benefits of having access to specification draft, use of ONVIF Profile logos for products, and the ability to declare conformant products. Observer members are not allowed to present, promote, claim, or market any device or software application as a Compliant Network Product.
There are currently more than 3700 ONVIF conformant products out on the market, and the number is expected to continue to grow as members work together to come up with open standards that can be adopted and implemented to provide seamless interoperability. Thus, your choice of an ONVIF compliant security camera and other security devices means that you will have these working together seamlessly whether these were manufactured in Europe, Asia, or elsewhere in the world.
The Ingress Protection (IP) rating of a product defines the level of protection and the effectiveness of the level of sealing used to enclose the device against the intrusion of foreign bodies such as dirt and other particles, and also from moisture. These standards were defined in various standards, such as British BS EN 60529:1992, and European IEC 60509:1989.
The IP rating is a two-digit number that specifies the level of protection provided by an enclosure to devices and people. The first digit indicates the degree of protection of people from moving parts and the protection of enclosed equipment from foreign bodies. The second digit indicates the degree of protection that the enclosure enjoys from various forms of moisture like rain, sprays, and drips, or from submersion in water.
When used in connection with cameras, the IP rating describes the protection level of cameras against dust and moisture. Since camera lenses and electrical parts are quite sensitive and can be damaged or the performance degraded by moisture and dust, putting the camera within an enclosure that affords maximum protection gives an assurance that it will continue to function even when subjected to the worst environmental conditions.
The first digit in the IP rating refers to the degree of protection against solid particles and dust, with 6 as the highest rating. For example, if you live in the desert or any area that has periods of very high exposure to dust particles, an outdoor security camera with the IP66 rating is desirable since the enclosed camera has the highest possible protection against the ingress of dust, no matter how fine the particles are and regardless of the frequency of exposure.
The second digit in the IP rating refers gives the degree of protection against moisture, such as water sprays coming from including torrential rains, water hoses, and continuous moisture drips, for example, when snow starts to melt directly onto the camera. A high rating of 6 for the second digit as in the above example for IP66 means that the camera is protected against all sources of moisture or water. Higher ratings of 7 and 8 are applicable for protection against water submersion, for example during floods or when a camera is to be used underwater.
For a quick reference on IP ratings, you can use the following guide:
Dust Protection Ratings (First Digit)
Liquid Protection Ratings (Second Digit)
Being aware of the importance of the ONVIF compliance and IP ratings will help you in choosing security cameras that will work together and with other devices in your network seamlessly, and at the same time have ample protection in the environment where you plan to install it.