What Is The Minimal List Of Features That SMB Recorders/Vmses Should Have?

Hello everybody

I was reading article about most common projects in the industry: SMB Market Video Surveillance Guide and Favorite SMB Video Surveillance Manufacturers

My takeaway is that most of the projects are relatively small, no more than 20 cameras.
Also while hikvision is doing very well well on hardware side, it has a weaker position on recorders/VMS/DVR.

It could be multiple reasons why, one of them could be that integrator tend to be consistent on solution they use for small and big projects .. or whatever.
I'd like to know what's the critical set of features VMS/Recorders must have to fit into SMB solutions.

For example: how critical is to have:

- 2 way audio
- alarm monitor
- storage backups
- bookmarks
- POS integration.
- LDAP integration.
How many projects will you loose if not having it on your solutions?
May be there is an article about it on IPVM I missed already?

May be I should ask a different question:
what is the minimal list of features to fit into SMB recorders/VMSes should have?
Any input is appreciated.

In terms of your how critical list (for <20 camera market), the answer is no, no, no, no, no and no.

The report you really should look at is: Hikvision iVMS-4200 Tested. It's pretty rudimentary, not terrible, but just pretty basic.

Differentiator is that the hardware is super inexpensive plus the software is free. For most of the SMB, this is the right combination.

based on your "no no no.." most successful VMS/DVR should be focused on simply:

- easy setup,
- easy live view
- easy play back.
I do no know any successful VMS which has just that.
Besides any recorders/VMS listed in my second link( Exacq, Milestone, Avigilon and even hikvision DVR ) have this features.
what am I missing?

You're missing what I said in my original comment:

"Differentiator is that the hardware is super inexpensive plus the software is free. For most of the SMB, this is the right combination."

I think you are thinking that SMB users want 'easy' but what I am saying is that they want 'cheap' before anything, as long as cheap is not terrible to use. It really is a matter of targeting / segmentation, there is a small buy highly visible segment that will spend $200 on a single camera plus $10 a month for recording (e.g., Dropcam) and then there is the other ~95% of the market who are happy to take 4 camera kits for $200 and no monthly fee.


In the second link of my original question there are example of non cheap VMS which has good portion of the market based on article.

Although article does give some hints on why people use those VMSes, It still does not say what's the minimum expectation form features point of view.
May be it's not about features, may be it's about relationships/channels/support expectations.
Or your point is that the market they share is just historical reasons?

Good point. There were 3: Exacq, Milestone and Avigilon (combining for 39%). All of them are being increasingly pushed up market, as the low cost stuff moves in.

That said, yes, ease of use / polished interfaces help them in the higher end of SMB more so than advanced features.

The “minimum” set of features for an SMB VMS depends on the end user customer segment into which it’s being sold. For example, a retail convenience store will require a spot monitor and maybe POS integration. Whereas a small office building will not require POS but may desire integration with an access control system and LDAP.

A problem with playing the 'minimum features' game is that most DVR/NVR systems are not targeted directly to the end user customers but rather are targeted at the integrator/dealer channels that sell them. Those channels, as an aggregate whole, satisfy all end-user customer segments. As such, the dealer/integrator channels demand a recorder that supports all features for all end user segments. They want to be able to sell one DVR to both a convenience store as well as an office building. (I’m generalizing a lot here, but "beer" with me). So they want a DVR with all the features: a spot monitor, LDAP, POS integration, and access control integration. That’s why the recording systems you listed have lots of features.

None of that really matters though, because as John says, the real answer is cost. This is because the SMB customer does not use video surveillance as a mission critical system within their infrastructure. They do not use it daily, and do not want to use it daily. So they're not willing to pay any more than necessary just because something has exactly the right feature for them. Rather, it’s like insurance—they get the cheapest they can and just hope they never have to use it. And, like insurance, they're really all very much the same offerings, so they need no other differentiators than cost.

And Amen.


This is helpful.

Correct me if I'm wrong...

To the users cost matters a lot. They trying to get cheapest thing possible. On another hand integrator wants to have consistent solution which serves most of the project. So it's a balance of price/consistency question.

Is this how you see it?

I don't have a critical feature list, but the single greatest feature we really, really miss on our ADT system is the ability to extract video remotely.

This was claimed as a feature on ADT Matrix, and indeed there are menu selections for that feature. Too bad they don't work, even for ADT Matrix tech support.

Time to climb into the old jalopy yet again and spend the 2 hr round trip to pull some recorded footage.

Now, the 2nd most missed feature is straightforward video export on-site. It can be done, but it's horribly unintuitive and also labor intensive.

The 3rd most missed feature ... well, nm, why go on? It's ADT quality!

For Undisclosed Customer 1 - why did you select ADT if they did not have the features you were looking for?

TL/DR: The high cost, or inaccessibility, of correct pre-sale information

This wasn't the cheapest system by a long shot. It was nearly $1K per camera for 8 cameras.

ADT is a market leader. They claimed to have the desired features. There was no opportunity to try before you buy, but hey, they wouldn't just lie to your face, would they?

Even their tech support swore these features worked, until asked to do a remote extract themselves. Then they failed.

How many of your SMB customers wring out the feature set before you install it? Before they are under contract with you?

How many trust your representations?

Very good feedback 1. Thank you. I will work on making that a priority.

I would definitely add ease of search for incidents and ease of exporting to key stakeholders. Most everything else is just bells and whistles that most customers don't want or need to hear.