Recommendations For Design Tool

I was trying out the demo version of IP Video System Design Tool 8 for a proposal but the trial period has ended. There were a couple things about it that I found a bit lacking. Does anyone have a recommendation for something similar but that maybe they prefer? Hopefully something that doesn't have a steep learning curve. Things I liked about it:

camera database

target points

horizontal and vertical FoV

able to create floorplans as well as import drawings


Do you have access to a CAD software too, or is that part of what you're looking for?

I do have access to it though I haven't used it yet. Though that might me a more robust software for marking up drawings I appreciated the features of the IP Design Tool that were tailored to spec'ing cameras.

Most of the tools in the market, including the ones we've reviewed (most recently this Axis 3D Surveillance Design Tool) , are 'visualization' tools primarily; meaning they are good for locating cameras in the general area as a proposed camera (within a few inches) and seeing a simulated FoV from that spot.

However, when it comes to precise placement of architectural features like windows, doors, lighting, or cable drops, it almost always seems better and faster to develop the floorplan in a CAD package and import it afterward into a video surveillance design tool.

I think finding both a CAD tool that includes a Surveillance Design module is tough, and I haven't seen one that gets it right on the CAD side. (JVSG might be the most refined attempt so far.)

If anyone has feedback or experience with other solutions, I am curious to hear about them too.

Brad, what specifically did you find lacking?

For example, when creating a floorplan from scratch it was difficult to edit things like door positions and openings. Often I would have to delete the object and try to create it again. Dragging things to the proper position was not very precise. I'm not writing it off completely as the pro version looks like it offers a lot more but based on the demo and somewhat lacking support documentation I thought I'd ask around before making the plunge and purchasing.

We use the JVSG app that you tried. We also have the Pro version of 8. Honestly, it has come a long way over the last few years. If there is a better tool, I haven't used it.

Bottom line is you get out of it what you put in. You can spend a lot of time modeling every detail of your site, but is that needed to woo a client, or just your own fascination?

You can spend a lot of time modeling every detail of your site, but is that needed to woo a client, or just your own fascination?

Allow me to introduce you to engineers. :)

Thanks Jon. Not really interested in too much detail but for example, when I am discussing camera placement with a client it's nice to show them what an open door in the field of view will obscure.

Hey Jon, I made the purchase on JVSG Design Tool. So far it's been helpful.

Question for you:

In the Network Bandwidth and Disk Space tab do you think the Motion% and Recording% fields overlap in regards to their effect on bandwidth and storage space? The manual is a bit ambiguous.

If I have it right, the Motion% field affects bandwidth and therefore disk space too. Recording% simply adjust how much disk space you need.

Thoughts?

Cheers

Hate to say it, but I've never used that part of the program before. We generally calculate all of that by hand or use an online calculator.

Motion % is the anticipated percentage of the time the scene has motion detected.

Recording % is the part of the day the camera is scheduled to actually record. I don't think this is commonly used, but some places used to only record when the building was empty at night, for example. Generally it's just 100%.

I wish someone would create a plugin for Visio that included the items from JVSG. Not smart enough to do it myself, but I would throw money at anyone that could do it well and keep it updated.

As for Visio, I use it almost weekly; not to the level you're looking for, but it provides a good general placement for the customer and our techs to better understand. It's easy to use and I can export to PDF or DWG without issue.

Saying that, never underestimate the power and cost/time savings that good CAD drawings gets you. When I have a large custom job, a complete set of precise drawings leads to less technician calls/questions, fewer punch list items, and an overall better experience for you and your customer. A little work on the front end saves you time later better spent selling and growing the business. Just my opinion.

I agree Robb. Unfortunately there are no drawings available except digital copies from the city and the client is eager to get something done before we can get those. If it was a bigger job I might suggest waiting for signatures from strata etc to get those but at this point we are commited to a deadline.

Ya that's a tough one. I didn't read all your comments so I'm not sure if it's new construction or not, but in a pinch, in existing buildings I've actually scanned in fire alarm hallway sheets. It gives a drawing of the current floor and where the nearest exit is.

I then put it into visio and trace the layout. Once I have done that, I group the lines and delete the scanned photo creating a customizable floorplan. It's not perfect, but it's a lot easier than making something from scratch. Hope this helps.

Sometimes they can be pretty damn good:

Yeah, great idea!