[IPVM Editor's Note: This was originally posted in a thread about Avigilon's financials but has been moved here in its entirety to make it easier for members to read / discuss.]
- Relatively uncluttered desktop.
- Easy to learn and operate.
- Very good “Live” picture quality.
- Fast switching from “Live” to “Playback” and back.
- Fast Motion Search.
- Cannot “Unsynch” cameras in salvos.
- Bookmarks can only be set for individual camera.
- Joystick control of PTZs difficult. PTZ does not stop moving until approximately one second after joystick is released.
- Very high latency (~500ms). This also interferes with PTZ control.
- Clip creation difficult and prone to errors. Date/time/camera must be manually entered.
- No metadata in clips.
- Save locations via Windows Explorer. Possible to save clips in wrong place.
- No direct Video DVD authoring.
The Avigilon system appears to be designed for applications that are less critical than Casino Surveillance. On the plus side, it displayed very good video quality, except for an AGC-like effect on digital zoom that can make the picture brightness “pump” with motion. Avigilon claims that function can be disabled in a configuration file. Ease of locating video and pixel searches are among its strongest suits. Its simple GUI and uncluttered desktop would allow both new and experienced users to learn basic operations easily and quickly.
Latency, PTZ control and clip-making are its weakest points. It would be impossible to follow vehicles and very difficult to follow people even walking at a brisk pace with PTZs. The combination of the highest latency of any tested system (~500ms) and joystick run-on, whereby the PTZ does not immediately stop when the joystick is released, make control difficult. Although Avigilon claims that problem is unique to our property, no other system we tested had the same problem.
Avigilon software is severely restricted when making evidence clips. The need to manually enter camera numbers, dates and time ranges is certain to cause problems where clip(s) are made of the wrong cameras and/or dates and times – problems that likely won’t be discovered until after the original recordings have been overwritten. The lack of searchable metadata in the clip will make it difficult to locate individual clips in a folder. Its use of Windows Explorer to point to clip save locations make it more likely that users will save clips in the wrong location; possibly even on the local computer, where they won’t be accessible by anyone else.
Clips are normally saved in “Native” format, although they can also be saved in AVI format. It is unclear if the Native Format clips can be converted to a format suitable for Video DVDs and even if they can, making Video DVDs would be complicated or would require a separate decoder and DVD writer. Making Video DVDs that way is both slow and more complex than necessary, although that is the method we must use with our present system.
Clips of multiple cameras must contain the entire timeline for all cameras. Avigilon software does not allow salvo clips where each camera covers a different timeline. This would make the clips larger and prevent editing camera views together to follow an incident across multiple cameras without manual intervention during the playback process. In fact, this is also true of salvos in general on the Avigilon system. While it is possible to display both live and playback of multiple cameras in a salvo, it is not possible to “pause” one camera while playing back a different camera.
Bookmarking is another weak point. Unlike our current system, bookmarks are made for specific cameras and are not transferrable to other cameras unless they are brought into a synchronized salvo with the bookmarked camera. This would require additional steps to perform operations that are unnecessary with our current system.
Although fast playback functions via keyboard and mouse are limited to 8x speed forward and reverse, Avigilon’s keyboard, in conjunction with the timeline bar can be zoomed out for very fast reviews; up to 3 days in 1 second. This also requires additional steps (zooming in/out on the timeline bar) to perform, which somewhat limit this functionality.
The Avigilon keyboard, while it does add more search speed functionality, has very low contrast markings, making it difficult to read which buttons perform what functions. That problem would disappear with user experience but would be a factor for new users.
From a technical standpoint, the Avigilon system would present some challenges to deploy. PTZ control is limited to no more than four (4) PTZs per control cable unless a device like the Sennetech SCM-200-PELCO (which could allow up to 8 PTZ cameras per control line), SCM-800-PELCO (which could allow up to 32 PTZ cameras per control line) or the Pelco CM9760-DMR (which could allow up to 16 PTZ cameras per control line. Each of those devices would add between 8ms and 24ms of latency to a system, which would complicate PTZ camera control.
The Avigilon system is not ideal for Casino Surveillance operations. It appears to be designed for less critical applications that rely on post-incident reviews and little “live” monitoring or PTZ use. Its clip-making process may be acceptable for applications where only occasional video clips are made but will cause headaches for our intensive use.
It is not recommended to proceed with any additional testing or evaluation.