Any Experience With Video Insight?
I am at a K-12 school district with about 475 cameras at 10 buildings. We are looking into replacing our current VMS (I am still working on some issues with them so I don't want to involve them in this discussion) and would like to know if anybody has any good or bad things to say about Video Insight. They are aimed at the education market so hopefully they will have the features we need without a lot of the more sophisticated features we never use. They also say that they realize a lot of the users will use their software very infrequently (principals or custodians checking on incidents at their schools, for example) so they have kept it easy to use.
Any comments or info would be appreciated.
Thanks, Andy Lee
I'd be interested to know what features you feel are "must haves", and that might help someone who has experience with them to comment on them.
If you could point out some of the features you would be interested in as Undisclosed mentioned that would help. Also, regarding the VMS you are replacing, what are some of the reasons you are looking to switch? once we know those pain points or missing features we can help by identifying if those are different in Video Insight.
Reliabllity - we want no cases where video is just not recorded. This is the main problem we are having with our current VMS. Cameras just stop recording for a while and we can't seem to locate the cause. This is the main reason we are looking at options.
Ease of Use - End users don't touch it for weeks or months, then need to get to recorded video quickly and easily
Public Monitor - Be able to connect to TV in public area that cycles through views of camera groups (4 or 6 cams per group)
Security - Users at school A should not be able to see cams at school B, and we need to be able to limit who can export video
We don't need people counting, advanced searching features, maps, LDAP integration, hybrid encoders or any cool new features. :)
Andy, on the reliability side, there are many reasons why IP cameras stop recording. It might be the VMS but it could be issues with the cameras itself, the network, etc. What makes me nervous is that you could switch VMSes and still have the reliability issues continue. I know I am sidetracking your request but I recommend testing and determining the cause as much as possible before committing to such a costly and complicated process.
Reliability: do we know why they stop recording? certain brand that keeps stopping? could be network changes? dying older cameras perhaps? is it that the current VMS just crashes? how many cameras do you have on each server?
Ease of use: this is subjective of course, but accessing video in VI can be done from the main client area, cameras have separated date folders which have to be expanded to show many recorded video files by hour or longer, depending on file size set max. This can make it difficult to look for an event if it crosses over files or the operator is not sure of the time. They also have motion only media player search, but you would need to know at minimum the round about date or time, camera or search all which could result in many files and not as quick as you may expect.
Security: They do offer a granular user management module that can control specific users settings for servers, cameras, all the way to just viewing live or recorded.
They do offer a video wall like option for the public monitor request you had which has the basic multi views.
I recommend installing the product and looking for how it works with your business process and what changes you may have to make to implement the new vms. Also, back to reliability..definitely try to isolate the root cause for the cameras issues, simply moving to a different VMS may introduce that same issue and more if this symptom is attributed to the current VMS incorrectly instead of the cameras themselves.
As you mentioned, VI has an education focus. I've been involved with K-12 several times over the years, and knowing the industry can be exceptionally valuable. Overall, I've heard very good things about VI. You may also want to look at LenSec.
We have done quite a bit of testing to see where the recording drop problem lies, and it seems to be the VMS. For example, we have had network monitors monitoring the stream from particular cams when the VMS quits recording, but the camera never stopped streaming. Also, the problems seem to be independant from the network switch, the server configuration, the network wiring, the model of the cameras,,, Sometimes it is just buggy software.
Thanks for all the input. Looks like VI has a one year School Pilot Program that lets you try it free for a year, and a competitive upgrade program that reduces the cost if you are moving from a different VMS.
I have done hundreds of schools over the years both analog and ip and the troubles you seem to have sometimes comes from the network switches not being set up properly in that QOS not set for the cameras so when traffic on the network ramps up, cctv slows or gets the not recording issues. I am assuming you have a dedicated ip network for the cameras to their own switch (properly enabled)? If not demand it!
We also demand to supply the switches on our installs, that way no finger pointing! Lastly make sure your not overloading the recorder hardware with frame rates, stream rates and resolutions exceeding spec.
I agree you dont need bells and whistles for principals and vp's as you can count on one hand in a school board of 80+ locations as to who actually uses the software. Most have way too much other responsibilities and demands.
Cant go wrong with a one year trial from a VMS vendor
If not too much trouble, we would love to hear about your experience over the last 5 months if you did indeed go with VI.
We have gone with VI for one school with about 80 cameras and another location with 7 cameras. So far VI has been very reliable. THere have been a couple of times the power died for hours, past the time the UPS systems were designed for, and the servers came back up with no issues. I have had to spend a bit of time dialing in the motion settings so that they record only when they are needed. It is tough to set them so that they record when there is a student sitting in a hallway studying, but not record all the time. I wish there was a bit more spread between settings in the top ends of the Event Trigger and Sensitivity settings.
Their support has been great. I have been on hold a few times, but not for long, and the issues were resolved with one call.
The software for watching live and recorded video has been working well, and they have a great iPhone/iPad app that lets you watch cameras live.
I have a few minor quibbles, but overall we have been very pleased. We will probably move the rest of the district to VideoInsight next summer.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions.
On a side note, we have not made any network changes from when we were using our previous VMS system so I am now fairly sure the problems we were having with dropped video were caused by the VMS, not the network.
Andy, thanks a lot for the followup!
As to the motion recording, does it have a way to record just say one frame a second when there is no motion detected so you're more sure of not missing something, them boosting recording when motion is detected? Or do you just prefer to have no recording at all with no motion?
Funny you should say that. There is a setting for 1 fps, then jump to whatever you set when there is motion. I have been using that for a while. It does take more storage but it also catches the students sitting almost motionless while studying - just one fps but better than nothing. The downside is that it makes it harder to do a search for motion, but it can still be done, you just have to launch their included Media Player instead of using their Monitor Station.
Would be great to know what VMS you are using now with the problems – I can understand your reservation disclosing that in a public forum. Do you mind sending that info via linked in or private email?
We have since seeing the same issue with Exacqvision the last couple of releases. The system will just stop recording and live video system wide will freeze in time. This has led to multiple lost cases over the last couple of months fora several large school districts. Not cameras. Not switches. Not network. We believe it has been isolated to the newer archive plugins. Exacq has confirmed this, but we have not gotten an explanation regarding why this causes problems. We have been using Exacq since 2007 (software only) with very few glitches. Since later 5.x releases, though, we have been seeing various problems.
I can see why Andy is frantically searching for a new platform. One or two missed crimes or incidents does not sit well with facilities managers, principals, superintendentthe school school board, especially after significant investments. One of these districts we ate having problems with has 8 servers and over 500 cameras at 16 sites. How do you make a case to sell new software and licenses? (what school has an extra 50-100k kicking around).
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