What is GenICam?

GenICam™ is a global standard that defines a generic interface for the computer control of digital cameras and other imaging products that transmit video. GenICam allows the industry to use the same interface to program applications for any compliant camera or imaging transmission product, regardless of its vendor, implementation details, feature set, or interface technology. Since its ratification in September 2006, the GenICam interface has been incorporated into a range of high-speed video standards, including GigE Vision®, USB3 Vision™, and Camera Link®. 

What are the benefits?

The GenICam standard cost-reduces the design, deployment, and maintenance of high-speed video applications by:

  • Allowing the same applications design framework to be used for many different types of cameras and imaging products; and
  • Simplifying the integration of new cameras and other imaging products into larger systems.

What is Pleora’s role?

Pleora’s frame grabbers and embedded solutions are GenICam-compliant, and the company plays an active role in GenICam standards activities. In 2003, Pleora helped organize the inaugural meeting of an industry group to standardize access, control and naming features to allow end-users to use the same interface to program applications for and compliant imaging device. The end result was the GenICam™ standard, which came under the management of the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) and was ratified in September 2006. Since then, Pleora has continued to serve as an active, contributing member of the GenICam Technical Committee.

How is GenICam related to GigE Vision and USB3 Vision?

The GigE Vision and USB3 Vision standards specify the use of the GenICam interface to access and control features in compliant cameras or other imaging products. The shared use of GenICam provides camera and system manufacturers with a common set of feature names and configuration for cameras and other imaging products from different manufacturers, simplifying applications design and integration.

How is it managed?

The GenICam standard is managed by the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) a trade association for the machine vision industry that represents 20 nations. The EMVA publishes the GenICam standard text and oversees the compliance process. Technical evolution is handled by the EMVA’s GenICam Technical Committee, made up of representatives from every major sector of the vision systems industry.

Technical Summary

The GenICam standard consists of four modules:

  • GenApi – which defines the format of an extensible mark-up language (XML) file that captures and specifies how to access and control the features of a compliant camera or other imaging product. GenICam-compliant devices must contain an XML file that conforms to this format;
  • Standard Features Naming Convention (SFNC) – which standardizes the names of more than 220 commonly used camera features. To comply with GigE Vision and USB3 Vision, only a handful of the features are mandatory. The rest are either recommended or optional. Compliance with the naming convention is important for interoperability, as it frees application software from the complexity of situations where vendors call the same feature by different names, such as, ‘Brightness’ and ‘Gain’;
  • GenTL – which defines a software interface provided by some manufacturers of traditional frame grabbers; and
  • CLProtocol – which allows cameras that comply with the Camera Link standard to be accessed through GenApi.