Alternatives To Exacq?

Many Exacq integrators are talking about alternatives to Exacq. The reason? Tyco is their scariest / biggest enemy. They do not want to compete against them with their own product (Tyco the integrator + Exacq, the Tyco product division). Indeed, it is like selling American Dynamics / Intellex.

While I think some of the fears are overblown, they are certainly real and many will have to do due diligence on alternatives. This post is to facilitate that.

Obviously, there are hundreds of VMSes / NVRs, so such discussions like this have the risk of spinning out of control.

Here's how I recommend we focus it:

  • Focus on rivals that are similar to Exacq - mid market professional offering with appliances and software only.
  • Respond to specific integrator requests - Members feel free to ask for advice specific for your needs.

Ok, that said, what alternatives, and why, would you recommend?


In my opinion Exacq as one of the more down to Earth VMS solutions that concentrates on core competencies like stability, scalability, managability and plugin SDK quality/adoption (integration) in lieu of fancy UI/presentation layers, expensive marketing and incorporating the kitchen sink.

If this assessment of Exacq is wrong, biased or incompatible with your beliefs. Please point out my mistakes and ignore the rest of this post.

Personally, I am of the believe that no two products are the same - so I am going to suggest alternatives that is not equivalent to Exacq in everyway, but in some.

My first suggestion is Luxriot, and here is why (i.e. the similarities):

1. Scalability - like Exacq, Luxriot is very low on system resource usage due to the "bare bones" design of the core server side architecture - this permits support of large numbers of cameras/channels on realatively green/energy efficient hardware.

2. Stability - The clean core architecture of both VMSes that enables the scalability also affords both high stability - in our testing - these 2 are the ones that really never managed to crash after being pushed to the brink in unreasonable testing conditions.

3. Managability - both support fully remote server management and Active Directory/Windows account integration.

4. Availability of a complete appliance lineup: Both have 4+ lines of NVRs starting from mini ones, to rack and tower "standard" servers without RAID, to RAID5 2U NVR server appliances, all the way to RAID6 4U NVR server appliances with 20+ HDD slots, redundant PSUs and dual Xeon sockets.

and here is why Luxriot may not be for you:

5. Plugin SDK quality/adoption (Integrations) - Having examined the APIs available on both SDKs - it is my opinion that the quality of the SDK is up to scratch on both VMS solutions. However, due to popularity - Exacq's SDK is integrated with vastly more PSIM/POS/LPR/Access Control and Analytics providers then Luxriot.

and finally what is special about Luxriot:

6. Availability of hardware compression capture cards for analogue cameras and HD-SDI cameras permit easy integration of non IP video sources.

7. Vast amount of camera brands and models integrated (more than Exacq), plus very easily integration of unsupported video sources by just entering an RTSP/HTTP/MJPEG URL.

I do think Luxriot stands to benefit from Exacq's acquisition. I remember, before 2010, Luxriot stood out as a quality low cost alternative. But then Milestone and then Axis dropped their entry level pricing to $49 per channel, Luxriot did not match and it became more difficult to justify.

As for specific features, how does Luxriot handle enterprise management, i.e., viewing multiple cameras from different servers at once and managing different servers at once?

Beyond that, one major difference is that Exacq has a broad line of appliances where Luxriot does not. Indeed, that was one of Exacq's biggest attractions for the mid market - hybrid and NVR boxes ready to go from the factory.

Btw, unrelated to this, Sarit is currently working on an update on Luxriot.

Beyond that, one major difference is that Exacq has a broad line of appliances where Luxriot does not. Indeed, that was one of Exacq's biggest attractions for the mid market - hybrid and NVR boxes ready to go from the factory.

John: Luxriot has offered a complete lineup of appliances stretching across 5 categories (mini, 2U standard/tower, 2U RAID5, 4U RAID6 and DAS) for at least a year - this is very close to the strategy employed by Exacq.

A good alternative is the VMS from IDIS, called ISS, has al options, also SDK available etc. basic suite is free......

IMHO, there are many alternatives to Exacq, but it depends on what market you are looking at. Here the ones I am familiar with are in no particular order.

* Salient - Thick client interface, server or cloud based. Same cost, most of the same functionality, not quite as good performance, older code, software only as well as appliances and hybrid models. Why go with them? Price

* VideoInsight - See above minus the cloud, plus a good web viewer. Software only as well as Dell servers. No Hybrid, but have encoders. Why go with them? Price

* ipConfigure - Web based interface, server or cloud based. Slightly higher cost, more enterprise functionality, less lower end functionality, Software only but make own appliances. Have License Plate Recognition (LPR) and Gigapixel cameras. No Hybrid models but interface with encoders. Why go with them? Want web based VMS, Gigapixel, LPR

* Milestone - Thick client based but web client has HTML 5 interface, higher overall cost, more funcationality. Software only but have partners that build appliances in the US. One such partner has created a hybrid model. Why go with them? Good UI, 500 lb gorilla, great camera support

* Avigilon - Thick client based, but with a web client as well. higher overall cost but no re-occuring costs. Most functionality met, but not all. Software only but rebrand Dell for their appliances. No Hybrid models but make own encoders. Also make own cameras, sell network switches, and viewing work stations. Why go with them? Good quality megapixel camera, Everything from one company so you know it works, if it does not, one throat to choke.

* 3VR - Thick client based, higher overall cost. Some functionality but not all. Software only but mostly sell their own appliances. Hybrid and NVR only models. Have video analytics that are mostly OEMed. Why go with them? Retail install

I am sure I have made a few mistakes and missed a few, but this is what I threw together in 15 minutes. I did not include Genetec because they do not compete well with Exacq and I do not think they are a real alternative VMS.

Has anyone taken a close look at 3xLogic's boxes and VMS. Price point...a little on the upper side; but rich in feature sets. I've only been looking at it a short time and haven't put one in the field yet; but as an international integrator, my company has and those who have sold it, they sing its praises. Just curious if anyone else has had experience with this product and what their opinions are.

For those looking for mid tier IP / NVR appliances, 3xLogic is an interesting option. From what I recall pricing is fairly competitive to Exacq.

On Milestone, one interesting option for the lower end is the iomega Arcus appliance which includes a hybrid / analog option. For those looking for a turnkey Milestone, this might be appealing.

And for those looking for a VMS up and comer that is not as widely used, there's Network Optix, which like Exacq is lightweight and runs on Linux and Windows. They also offer appliances through Digital Watchdog.

What cought my eye was their video compression; then claim to transmit Aercont's panoramic 180 with 300kb of pipeline. Their video analytics appears to be above standard as well.

Avigilon - Thick client based, but with a web client as well. higher overall cost but no recuring costs. Most functionality met, but not all. Software only but rebrand Dell for their appliances. No Hybrid models but make own encoders. Also make own cameras, sell network switches, and viewing work stations. Why go with them? Good quality megapixel camera, Everything from one company so you know it works, if it does not, one throat to choke.

we do 3-500 Licenses with them a year and Exacq a year and have used them for years. after the buy out our GM came to us and said alright find us a replacement and we did with AVIGILON yes some upfront is pricy but no reacuring cost unless you upgrading to new verison and it is cost of new channel so 100 on the low and 300 on the hight to upgrade. pretty nice. in the long run we have played with it and find it is great.

so overall we tried a dozen or so and found this best. ONSSI and GENETEC were just out of race due to price and there lack of smaller install to price ratio. and Avigilon also does Plate recog and that is also cool with a 1megpix camera also so no need to upgrade in most cases on cameras. must have enterprise version only down side.

no idea on camera strengths we will do an eval when we get them. but software also does Access Control integration so that is a plus.

On Avigilon, one interesting strength was their combination of inexpensive encoders and discounted software licenses for analog cameras connected to them. See our Avigilon vs Exacq price comparison in the encoders vs hybrid DVR comparison.

As for 3xLogic's video compression (Aztech), there's certainly benefits of being able to transcode video internally, however, I doubt they are transmitting Arecont's 180 at 300kb without a massive drop in frame rate, quality and/or pixel count.

[IPVM Editor's Note: Poster is from 3xLogic]

John,

3xLOGIC's AZTECH Codec does in fact provide a very effective stream size without reducing framerate or quality, especially with the Arecont 8MP and 20MP cameras. I know it does not sound plausible, but once you understand how it works, it is clear that quality is not reduced. In a nutshell we work in the JPEG domain and remove the temporal redundancy much like H.264. In areas that motion is occurring, which is the only part we keep besides variable keyframes, we do not reduce the resolution of the original JPEG transform. The end result not surprising, is that we maintain full original JPEG resolution, without attracting like you might see with H.264.

There is a reason we have been trying to get your attention for the last five years to show this to you! LOL

We do also offer a variety of other technologies that help with the large Arecont cameras as well including:

  • Only needing one camera input (license) for the AV-8180 and AV-20185.
  • Handling all four imagers as a single image
  • Flexible non-standard camera views for odd shaped video (Version 7.1)
  • RapidStream transcoding for very very low-remote transmission bandwidth (this one does reduce quality as a tradeoff for high frame rate)
  • Automatic substream detection allowing utilization of substreams without additional camera inputs (licenses)

We have been and continue to be a viable alternative to Exacq and they have been our primary competitor for a while now. Exacq has always been a little simpler which has helped them greatly, and we have always had a much deeper feature set which has helped our large national customers greatly. Exacq has had a great team with proven success (former Integral founders) and has been extremely effective in their marketing. 3xLOGIC has had almost no marketing, but has been growing steadily and surely, mostly through word-of-mouth.

One final note, as of July 1 we've been given the resources needed to grow faster than we have the last 5 years. We see a definite opportunity at the moment as a lot of things are happening that are good for us.

John - If you can take the time to see a demo of AZTECH you know we would really love to show you! ;-)

We have had great experience with Aimetis. Enterprise class solution at a very reasonable price. Great product and great company to work with.

[IPVM Editor's Note: Poster is from Axxon]

Will be great to have less known (in US) VMS test drive and compare them with Exacq. Hope Axxon will be included as we are N4 in IMS ranking while Exacq is N5. But their growth last year was really impressive!

Please no manufacturer appeals to market segment rankings. Also, they are misleading since they are segmented across product type (software only vs NVR appliances, splitting Exacq's sales). Let's take overall revenue? Exacq did $54 million USD. Did Axxon come anywhere close to that?

With that said, Axxon's Next is worth considering.

After Sarit's article on Axxon Next, we installed it on one of our demo machines here in the lab and experimented with it. It does have some neat features (the heads-up camera maps & BriefCam type review) but I don't see it as a replacement for Exacq, at least for us. It still needs some development, additional camera support and better integrated documentation. It is a very good VMS for free (16 cameras, 1TB storage) but "not ready for prime time" enough for us to present to our customer base.

That being said, Exacq is not our prime VMS, but one we actively sell and support. At this time, we are taking a "wait and see" approach to how Tyco manages the Exacq acquisition and hope they don't mung it up. We'll look at some others just to have a backup plan.

We specialize in small to mid sized applications and have been through a wide range of platforms. In the early days, Exacq was our "Goto" platform given its great feature set, and back then the cost was phenomenol compared to the offerings of Milestone, Onssi, and so on. Once everyone offered scaled back systems to compete with Exacq, $150/ch wasnt anything special. Today, we will randomly sell up to Milestone Pro, Video Insight, or pair our Axis systems with Camera Station (if the customer insists on uniformity.) One thing that hasnt changed throughout the years is our reliance on Luxriot. I am going to completely agree with Bohans assesment of Luxriot but also point out one crucial point that has kept us loyal: No annual fees WITH excellent Tech Support for me and my end users. One sure thing that makes a good amount of my customers cringe is the annual fees associated with todays VMS platforms. Top that with a charge for each tech support call and the nickle'n'diming gets ugly. Luxriot may not have the bells and whistles of Excaq, but the main features our customer look for like an easy interface, mobile access, stability, compatibility, and excellent pricing helps us win the bids. As of lately, there has been a slew of new features released that makes the platform more competitive, however the pricing hasnt ever changed.

Exacqs Hardware pricing is, and has always been on the high side. They use the same Intel Processors and Hard drives as everyone else. This is why we saw 60% of their sales went to Hardware last year. I compare this to how McDonalds money isn't in the food business, but the real estate they own. Luxriots hardware, which has greatly expanded in the last couple of years, is priced very well with the same components and warranty as Exacq. And if your application is over 16 cams, an Enterprise license will cost the same wether its 17 or 64 channels ($1349/64 = $21.07/cam, Internet Pricing Used). Thats very cost effective in my eyes. Some will argue Luxriot is not Apples to Apples as Exacq, but it has helped us win tons of jobs where Exacq busted the budget. And those customers continue to buy from us.

Sure, my comment was about software only sales ranking. We are not offering appliances, because we believe, that this is our partners business. $54m is incredible number, but software part is around 1/3 of this (I'm not sure if I can disclose exact numbers from report) and it is less than our numbers. But important to say that we are not in top 10 of Americas and Exacq is not present in top 10 of any other region. So, we both, quite domestic, still :)

Aaron, good feedback!

Murat, don't worry about the specific breakdowns, IMS is just guessing anyway ;)

Anybody know more about Bosch's new VMS coming out? Heard it comes with 32 free licenses.....never have really thought of them for their VMS, but 32 free licenses is unheard of.

Regarding Bosch and 32 'free' licenses: Bosch confirmed that there are upcoming appliances that include 32 VMS licenses with purchase of the box. As such, it's not free.

Thanks Bohan, I was not aware of that. Here's the product page for Luxriot's appliance options.

Dave, my objection is to the 'claim' about 'transmit[ing] Aercont's panoramic 180 with 300kb of pipeline." Are you saying you transmit an 8MP Arecont panoramic at 300kb without reducing frame rate or quality? If so, you have a miracle technology that should immediately be sold to Cisco for hundreds of millions.

I am not disputing or doubting that you can provide 'a very effective stream size' (whatever that vague phrase means). However, you have ignored my specific criticism of the prior commenter's claim that you can 'transmit Aercont's panoramic 180 with 300kb of pipeline.'

If you can make specific quantified claims of your CODEC's performance (to john@ipvm.com), we will consider reviewing it. So far, you have just dumped a marketing pitch in a popular discussion.

John,

I believed it to be a reasonable response and an offer to share info about what we do have. We are a simple engineering company with some cool technology. More than happy to show it to anyone or share whatever info we have and people should reach their own conclusions about it's usefulness in their applications. This may not be an appropriate forum for manufacturers. My apologies.

"This may not be an appropriate forum for manufacturers. My apologies."

First of all, spare us the passive aggressive tactic. What you should be apologizing for is misleading our readers and failing to correct what is obviously an erroneously claim - specifically, the "claim to transmit Aercont's panoramic 180 with 300kb." Indeed, rather than correct it, you used it as a launching pad for a generic marketing promotion.

So, yes, if a manufacturer wants to perpetuate myths and use IPVM as a forum for marketing, then it is not appropriate.

That said, this is a discussion about alternatives to Exacq, not an opportunity for 3xLogic to bombard our readers with their marketing.

Dave, if you would like to restore your credibility, I again suggest you "make specific quantified claims of your CODEC's performance (to john@ipvm.com), we will consider reviewing it."

Aaron, and Bohan, I exactly agree with everything you discussed.

I am new to ipvm, I have been selling and installing Exacq for the last 4 years and I too was taken back by this acquisition. As John Honovich stated above Luxriot will benefit from this acquisition. Luxriot have always been my preferred alternative choice to Exacq. Recently I received the updated feature list and I was extremely pleased with all new features added to the Luxriot software. I personally have not tested all of these new features yet. But everything they have done in the past worked very well. And from what I know from personal experience they provide excellent tech support.

Luxriot cons: Some of their releases took longer than expected.

Luxriot pros: Free software updates, LPR, and Analytics

I find it interesting that in a post recommending Avigilon and Milestone as an alternate to Exacq, it is stated that " I did not include Genetec because they do not compete well with Exacq and I do not think they are a real alternative VMS". While there are defintely points to be made that Genetec is primarily software (vs Exacq had appliances) you state that "Milestone - Thick client based but web client has HTML 5 interface, higher overall cost, more funcationality. Software only but have partners that build appliances in the US. One such partner has created a hybrid model. Why go with them? Good UI, 500 lb gorilla, great camera support".

I work for a company that is both a Genetec partner and Exacq partner, and we have seen very few situations that Genetec was not within 2-3 percentage points on pricing. As far as features go, Genetec's offering for those extra few points are every bit an equal, if not superior in quantity and quality (this will come down to what features are important to a specific end user -LPR, Federation, Access Conrol, Visual Tracking, Mirrored Directory).

As a dealer of both I fully understand that there are situations where Exacq is just a better fit for a customer, but its certainly close-minded to say that Genetec is not a vailid alternate to Exacq for other customers.

A typical Exacq install is usually a single server and a dozen or so cameras. They are looking to have an easy solution with an easy installation. While I believe that Genetec is a great VMS, it does not hit on the same points as an Exacq install, hence while your company is able to be successful with both Genetec AND Exacq.

"Your typical" Exacq install, or "A typical" Exacq install? Also with a single server and a dozen cameras, the Gentec SV-16v2 is a perfect solution to that.

It's fair to think of a specific market vertical for Exacq vs Genetec due to features and functions, but you cant rule out one (or the other) in just a general comparison.

Sean, you say, "We have seen very few situations that Genetec was not within 2-3 percentage points on pricing."

I think most agree, even competitors, that Genetec has outstanding advanced features. The real question is price (and specifically, total price).

How is Genetec within 2-3 points on pricing for 8 - 24 camera jobs? If you don't want to get into specifics, I understand but I am trying to quality the statement about Genetec being 2-3 points on pricing.

Sean, you say, "We have seen very few situations that Genetec was not within 2-3 percentage points on pricing."

I think most agree, even competitors, that Genetec has outstanding advanced features. The real question is price (and specifically, total price).

How is Genetec within 2-3 points on pricing for 8 - 24 camera jobs? If you don't want to get into specifics, I understand but I am trying to quality the statement about Genetec being 2-3 points on pricing.

Hi John, The SV16 line has a totally different license pricing structure - theat was by design so our partners could compete in the <16 cam market

One additional note about SV16 is customers "own" the licenses for that product. This means in the future, should the customer decide to go to server / virtual server or simply purchase another SV16 the license will be transferred to the new HW at no cost

John, some of that probably is due to better buying power with Genetec, but for 16 or under camera systems the SV-16 is nearly identical cost to us as an equivalent Exacq appliance (even once you consider the extra storage box to expand beyond the 500GB max in the SV-16). Once we get over 16 cameras and under 100 its a bit more challenging. Over 100 the advanced admin features and camera integration level save enough labor to balance out licensing cost differences (in our experience)- I know you dont like statements like this. But I obviously cant share "proof".

I think that's a fair analysis, though 16 - 100 cameras is a pretty big chunk of the market!

If I recall correctly, Exacq appliances comes with multiple years of software upgrade included. Is that the same with the SV-16 or do you need to buy support/upgrades separately?

It certainly can be a big chunk, depending on the vertical. In education, its a tiny chunk. It is purchased separately.
Also my main point was not that one is better/cheaper than the other, but if you're going to say Milestone is an equivalent, you can't say definitely that Genetec isn't without some reasoning.

The reason why Milestone is a better 'equivalent' to Exacq than Genetec is because Milestone has so many low cost options, from Arcus to Go to Essential to Express.

OK guys, I have been a member of IPVM for months. I am an end user. I purchase and install everything I use in this particular situation. A rundown of our current situation: We have two hybrid DVR's from Avermedia (Averusa.com) one primary one backup both getting the same analog feeds of 11 cameras one of them a Samsung PTZ. I also have four 4 channel units in the field not tied into these primary DVR's that I eventually want to get fiber optics to in order to view them on the primary units. I am concerned about feature sets within the Exacq system verses all of your alternative suggestions. Our system looks at a 24/7 operation where movement is at an almost constant. We use the system for investigations into incidents. 90% of the time we know the time and date of an incident and search for it using a calendar view. Once found the clip has to be off loaded to disc or stick and either uploaded to company servers for review or sent directly to a non-technical user. I take most of my clips and convert them to .mpg files for view in windows media player. (Our default player of choice in our company) Many of these clips involve multiple cameras and a pain recently found was I can’t span into another day.

I was recently tasked with finding a camera that "will see a gnat at 1000 yards" I then started to look at the list of compatible units with our hybrid DVR's. Best I can find are 5MP solutions. The pricing is in the ballpark thousand dollar mark. Boss asks why we didn't have them sooner and I told him I will be hitting a ceiling soon with the current DVR setup and I was looking at a digital system to migrate to.

“If it’s not more than a couple thousand difference then go for it.”

Here is where I want to start looking at VMS's. I am tearing this site apart looking for all the reviews, posts to anything and so forth. Years ago when I started researching and learning about the industry I stumbled across Milestone. Now as a slightly informed IPVM user (Thanks John you made this personal 200 dollar investment worth it this last few days) I had narrowed the field to Avigilon and Milestone. I had a coworker who knows virtually nothing about the industry look at my screen of the VMS tests in 2010 combined chart showing all the VMS's and their rankings. He immediately picked Exacq and Digifort. His primary reason for doing so was cost. This was after I informed him of what I knew about pay per channel and base licenses. So I started really looking at Exacq and ran into the alternatives to Exacq discussion and I agree with the possibility of Exacq having issues because of the TYCO buyout. I do have experience with TYCO brands and will agree being so large they have their support issues. Then I actually read all the comments all of you had to say and I have questions about those comments in order to find a VMS that will work for me. When I looked at equipment I was brand new. Looking back I was lucky I didn’t know anything about what I was buying. I learned from trial and error and the valuable feedback that had.

Now I am wandering into an area where I know something and I want this purchase to be better without the trial and error because costs are going to be higher transitioning to digital I think. So after all of that description I leave you with these comments and questions: Aaron mentions “One sure thing that makes a good amount of my customers cringe is the annual fees associated with today’s VMS platforms.” Yup that’s me I wasn’t aware of them till just now. I thought once you bought the license per channel it was yours. Reoccurring fees are a turnoff for me. My people put things in place and expect them to run for years. We don’t maintain lifecycle ideas where after x years we replace or upgrade. It stays in till death do us part. Once it’s paid for it’s ours not yours. To Seth I liked the Avigilon cameras but years ago learned that they were a one stop shop. Everything had to come from them for it to work simple for upgrades and changes using one platform. They even touted that point some time ago. I went back and found a revamped site now touting that they play nice with others. I found that to be a little misleading because they have a select few cameras other than their own that work with their VMS but not the other way around. No VMS works with their cams. You want their cams you have to use their VMS. For me I like choice but I really like streamlined approaches. What will happen if they aren’t around anymore? Now I’m stuck buying an entire system not just a replacement VMS. Aaron you make very solid points and well-crafted opinions. What this comes down to is I need a simple to use VMS for one site up to 11 analog cameras current expanded to 27 maybe 30 IP in the future that can create and export clips in .mpg format to someone else who just has to click on an icon to get it to play. Easy review capability is a must because live feeds are rarely used. I am using my own hardware. Finally I need to migrate the analog cameras over to this new digital system and found the article about encoder costs comparison as well as Genetec and Milestone vs Avigilon and Exacq. Just so much to decipher. I have been a firm believer you get what you pay for and Milestone was at the top of my list until yesterday. It appears as if Luxriot and Exacq are now in my competition and I have to have something next week or so. My big question to Andrew and Seth would be how much do I really have to worry about TYCO?

Guys I am reaching out to you as people who sell this stuff and have knowledge way beyond what I do. I signed up with this group knowing full well that at some point this situation would occur and here I am. I don’t really want manufacturer reps giving me sales pitches. I hated the idea of them even being allowed to register to this site even with the disclosure. It makes reading through comments even harder so give me some thoughts from your point of view. Who can make this happen for me and do it well enough to meet or maybe exceed the above requirements? If Exacq meets these for me I’m going to try and hope for the best.