Ubiquiti Kills Any Hope Of Open Platform Video

Many have hoped that Ubiquiti would emerge as an American alternative to Dahua and Hikvision for low cost IP cameras that work with 3rd party systems. Their newest move makes it very clear that Ubiquiti wants no part of that.

Ubiquiti has never supported ONVIF.

Now, Ubiquiti has officially removed RTSP streaming from cameras to third party VMSs in release 3.0 of their UniFi Video platform. But immediately after that announcement, they released a new feature: RTSP streaming from the server controller. Details below.

First, the pertinent section of their firmware/3.0 software release:

UniFi Video is not airVision - it aims to provide superior reliability for the surveillance system. This comes with tighter coupling of all cameras with the controller software, which means that there are no ways left to control cameras with third party software after the firmware upgrade to 3.0. Feature-wise, this translates to:

  • Firmware 3.0 is designed specifically for UniFi Video
  • RTSP is not supported in 3.0 firmware (it might still be accessible on some models)
  • WebUI of the devices is reduced to provide only the basic functionality to hook your cameras to the controller

Essentially, they've made Ubiquiti cameras fully proprietary to UniFi video, with the web interface used only to connect the camera to the server, which they now refer to as a "controller." This terminology is very similar to enterprise wi-fi systems, which function the same way. Settings changes can only be made through the controller UI, not the camera.

The RTSP "retranslation" announcement essentially allows third party recorders to view/record RTSP streams which are sent from the UniFi video controller. It looks like a simple configuration change, which gives you the RTSP URL to copy and paste, seen here:

Gone is any sort of hope of ONVIF conformance or open platform. Ubiquiti apparently plans to continue their strategy of appealing to their admittedly rabid fanbase.

Any thoughts on these feature changes for existing or potential Ubiquiti video users? Is restreaming video from the server any sort of desirable feature?

I wonder what Ubiquiti's justification is for this decision?

Do they hope to pull-thru more controller sales? Does this make video streaming more secure?

The controller is free! I think it's just a move to appeal to their current audience.

They do sell NVR appliances, so there is some revenue there.

But ultimately, I think they would make generate far more revenue and profits by allowing their cameras to work broadly.

If you compare to WiFi then this is a bad move. It's true, in Enterprise WiFi The controller design is still dominant. However, this is a design of the past. WiFi is moving to controllerless based systems.

One big difference in this analogy to: in WiFi the controller is outrageously expensieve, one of The Maon reasons for the succes of controllerless Solutions.

biggest issue in this Solution however is the single plint of failure that's introduced this Way, that makes IT a no go for me

In Ubiquiti's case the WiFi controller is also not expensive. It's free software that runs on standard PC hardware you source.

I don't agree that WiFi is moving to controllerless solutions. Instead there is a move to cloud based controller architectures (e.g. Meraki, Airtight). There is only one significant vendor that can be viewed as controllerless and that's Aerohive.

I think this a strategic mistake by Ubiquiti. Software is not their strongest point and developing a new feature rich NVR with broad appeal is a major challenge. Example with their WiFi controller software - they announced a major release Unifi 3.0 on 25th March 2013. It finally left beta on June 11th 2014 !

I think AirView/UniFi Video is in danger of remaining a niche product selling to those already committed to UBNT's wireless solutions.

As proven with so many other video manufacturers, regardless of centric hardware or software offering, successes or failures, a marketing strategy delivered on time and a product that differientiates you from the rest of the crowd may be all that is needed to earn a profitable position.

Avigilon = postured first for big megapixel cameras; later a VMS that is easy to use. Axis, first in show for IP based hardware and first in establishing a dominant marketing pace. Pelco started as a metal bender, later transitioned their loyal customers into unitized camera systems and finally large matrix and dvr solutions.

In comparison Ubiquiti has a very cost effective product mix to compete against the other Prima Donnna wireless product companies for the PTP and PTMP applications. Their customers are loyal as evidenced by continued revenue growth. In the end they could enable ONVIF compatibility just like Avigilon did in half of their product line or in the other case like Arecont, not!

Ubiquiti may have a very good chance at succeeding to build a growth oriented sustainable business with the approach they are taking...only time will tell.

If they choose this path then they need to greatly expand their camera selection and features. With current camera offerings and this limitation they pretty much are off my list as a supplier for video.

Love the antenna stuff though.

Their new EdgeSwitches look promissing.

24/48 port versions

24Vdc 802.11 AT/AF

Max 750Watt POE power

10GB uplinks

Ubiquiti - EdgeSwitch®

Finally open up support 802.11 AT/AF then lock down IP CCTV.... strange

24Vdc 802.11 AT/AF

So 24v passive OR 48v+ at/af?

How does it know when to give it the passive juice? Configuration?