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Video from different video recording platforms from different vendors are often exported in different proprietary formats, making it difficult for law enforcement to collect, correlate, and analyze the video data. The problem was demonstrated by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, where more than 120 FBI analysts reviewed in excess of 13,000 videos before discovering key evidence in the footage.

ONVIF, a global standardization initiative for IP-based physical security products, announced that its Export File Format, the ONVIF specification for the export of video from security surveillance recording platforms, is the new standard recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the exporting and playback of video surveillance recordings.

Founded in 2008, ONVIF is a leading and well-recognized industry forum driving interoperability for IP-based physical security products.


In a research project commissioned by the FBI to aid law enforcement in forensic investigations, NIST worked in conjunction with ONVIF to adopt the Export File Format to serve as the FBI’s new minimum interoperability requirements for exporting and sharing video clips, streamlining the playback process.

The ONVIF Export File Format will enable law enforcement as well as private users to more quickly and efficiently conduct forensic investigations using video of an incident from multiple sources – both private and public – regardless of what recording system originally captured the video. Export File Format will also be part of new worldwide standards to be published this year by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on the use of video surveillance systems in security applications, increasing the applicability of this standardized format on a global scale, according to facilityexecutive.com.