Subscriber Discussion

Managing Hundreds Or Thousands Of Arecont Cameras

I am considering Arecont for a large project, specially their 180s. Anyone have experience managing hundreds or thousands of Arecont cameras? - things like configuring, updating firmware, making changes, servicing, etc.

Please don't tell me that Arecont is terrible. I understand their historic reputation but am looking for recent users / admins of large Arecont networks.

I have not used Arecont on a large scale like that but I do not care for their management software. I don't think that there is a way to perform mass updates or configuration changes like the Axis Camera Manager (someone correct me if I'm wrong). I personally do not like the web interface of their cameras either it's too clunky and difficult to use, even their updated interface. Their video is good and their QA and such has improved dramatically from what I've heard but IMO Arecont is still a supplement to have another "go to" video line.

Wow. Not much discussion on this issue. Apparently, no one has used Arecont at this scale. Im working on one that has about 500 of their 180 and 360 cameras. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Also, i just saw Genitec's 180 and 360 four imager cameras. Very small form factor and the pic looks very good. Any thoughts on this camera line?

Who is 'Genitec'? Is that a camera company? Or are you referring to Genetec? Or?

Hello Undisclosed. If you reach out to me directly or track me down on Linked In, I'm happy to share with you multiple large scale installations that use high concentrations of Arecont panoramic cameras. I know of at least one large tropical resort, one large warehouse and one large casino install that have numerous of them I'd be happy to share with you.

Regards, Nathan Wheeler - Network Optix

Nathan, can you share any specifics of how well they worked? How was it to manage them? etc. For example, upgrading hundreds of Arecont camera firmware?

With the Arecont Panoramic cameras, each VMS handles them somewhat differently. Exacq just treats them as four separate cameras and you have to manual place them in order in a layout view to see them in native panoramic view. With our software, we automatically bind all the sensors into a singularly handled stream that gets treated as one camera instead of four. Some VMS even still charge four licenses I'm told but I doubt there are many of those left.

They work great. Customers love the effect, especially with the 180's. 360's are cool but only in certain applicatons. As far as wide area situational awareness, there's no much else to compare with Arecont as you yourself have mentioned about them.

As for Firmware updates, our software allows certain manufacturers cameras to be firmware upgraded directly through our VMS however I don't believe we ever extended that feature to Arecont Vision cameras. I suppose we could if large enough projects requested it of course. Otherwise, the camera firmware updates have to be done using Arecont's method. I don't remember if their panoramic allow you to do it through the cameras web page or not. If not, you'd have to download Arecont's firmware updater application that's part of their internal software. Not an app I would call "user friendly".

The only good news on the firmware side is looking at their firmware release updates, Panoramic cameras seem to have the fewest revisions and new updates pushed out.

For the rest, managing them is no different than managing a large number of any camera make/model Bandwidth is obviously a consideration, mostly since the cameras have a relatively low maximum frame rate, people tend to set them at the highest frame rates they offer. Which of course is like setting a 1080p camera at its maximum 30fps. That and the storage issues associated with that bandwidth are probably the biggest concerns to spec'ing them by the hundreds or thousands.

"managing them is no different than managing a large number of any camera make/model"

Really? I think we need Alex K to explain...

Or someone who uses Axis Camera Management tool.

Seriously, though, are you saying Arecont has complete enterprise management capabilities over its cameras? As in mass updates for firmware, camera settings, passwords, etc.?

I have worked a couple 500+ Arecont Jobs. The biggest drawback ( from my perspective) is lack of SNMP managment and the abiltity to easily make bulk changes to cameras. Other than that its your usual reliabilty concerns that you have already stated.

We have a couple of very large installs we did with Arecont cameras that include their 180's and 5MP cameras. One of these jobs I am referring to has over 5000 cameras deployed. Regarding updating firmware in the cameras we do still rely on the Arecont discovery tool. The customer's that have deployed the Arecont 180's use our stitching software which is now included in the base software package of our NVMS platform. In addition we only consume one camera license for their multi-imager cameras.

Arecont is one of our top third party camera manufacturer's we support via our Dynamic Excange Capabilities infrastructure. In other words as they release new camera models that share the same API as their other cameras models we currently support, it is not necessary for us to develop specific drivers for each camera model.

Hope this helps.

I manage a few datacenters with 100 + Arecont cameras, and IMHO I would avoid them. The web interface is clunky and it's easy to make changes without comitting them to the flash memory. Combine this with horrid RMA processes and all the bugs and you have a lot of work on your hands looking after these.

You didn't hear? The new firmware fixes all those problems..... ;)

Hmm, I'm glad you have faith. Just got to wait for it to be approved by the VMS then load it 1 by 1 into all those units. Then we will see if the camera settings still reset after a power cycle. :)

Surely, though, if there is a problem in what you describe, the next firmware fix after that will solve it!