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On the Way to ASIS: Axis, Bosch and Sony Move on Open Network Video Interface Forum

September 13, 2008
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Open may be open or in may be closed. On the way to Atlanta for the ASIS gig, I got some comments from those close to the issue.

The announcement -- In May 2008, Axis Communications, Bosch Security Systems and Sony Corporation announced their cooperation to create a global open forum for the development of a standard network interface for network video products.

Just before ASIS, the forum is introduced as ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum). By creating an independent, non-profit organization, the three founding members ensure the openness needed to develop an open industry standard. Interested parties may register to participate via the web site at www.onvif.org. The site provides information about the benefits of a global standard and answers to frequently asked questions.

ONVIF is committed to accelerating the adoption of network video in the security market through a global open interface standard. The standard will define a common protocol for the exchange of information (such as device discovery, live video, audio, metadata and control information) between network video devices.

Security Magazine Publisher Mark McCourt commented: “A forum to create standards in an industry without standards? My comment is that IP is not taking over the video market as hoped and this is a concerted effort to make it friendlier for installers and integrators by creating standards that will enable interoperability. It will also cut manufacturer costs on support/training/troubleshooting if the system complexity can be reduced at the installation/service level. The forum is an attempt to be 'open' and it will be interesting if the Pelcos, GEs and Tycos join in or even realize it exists.

This is a very realistic and positive recognition by these companies that major channel players who 'own' their customers like Vector and Ackerman are not going to take perceived risks and inherit system/installation costs trying to make incompatible systems work in a fixed price bid environment. If the channel and the end-user customers get involved and force the issue, the IP/Analogue ratio will change faster than its current rate,” McCourt added.

Steve Hunt with the insightful blog, SecurityDreamer, and a regular Security Magazine columnist, said: “I’m skeptical. While each of the three founding companies (especially Axis) has worked to integrate with 3rd party video components – such as storage, transmission, other cameras, other video management systems, etc. – each also has a long history of strong self interest. I find it doubtful that this so-called forum will yield anything more than lip service. I’d be delighted if I were wrong. I also wonder if the little guys, like VidSys or Proximex or Aimetis, who make some of the “glue” that constructs the most future-oriented architectures today, will be allowed to participate.”

Getting back to the forum announcement:

The ONVIF interface will provide interoperability between network video products regardless of manufacturer. It will become even easier for end users, integrators, consultants and manufacturers to take advantage of the possibilities offered by network video, resulting in more cost-effective and flexible solutions, expanded market opportunities and reduced risk.

About Axis Communications

Axis is an IT company offering network video solutions for professional installations. The company is the global market leader in network video, driving the ongoing shift from analog to digital video surveillance. Axis products and solutions focus on security surveillance and remote monitoring, and are based on innovative, open technology platforms.

Axis is a Swedish-based company, operating worldwide with offices in more than 20 countries and cooperating with partners in more than 70 countries. Founded in 1984, Axis is listed on the OMX Nordic Exchange, under the ticker AXIS. For more information about Axis, please visit our website at www.axis.com.

About Bosch

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, some 271,000 associates generated sales of 46.3 billion euros in fiscal 2007. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 300 subsidiaries and regional companies in roughly 50 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Each year, Bosch spends more than 3 billion euros for research and development, and applies for over 3,000 patents worldwide. The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.”

The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information can be accessed at www.bosch.com.

About Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading electronics and entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $70 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007. Sony Global Web Site: http://www.sony.net.

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