What If VMSes Licensed By The Megapixel?

Note: I do not think this will happen. I am not even sure it is a good idea but I think it's worth discussing.

Instead of licensing by the camera ($50 per channel, $300 per channel, etc.), license VMSes by MPs recorded (e.g., $50 per MP, $500 for 10MP, $2000 for 50MP, etc.).

In the early days, all cameras were basically the same resolution (or quite close) so a camera was a camera was a camera (when it came to resolution).

Today, you have this bizarre scenario where a VGA cube camera costs the same to integrate with a VMS as a 4K camera or a 40MP multi-imager camera, even though clearly the later two cover far more area, have more use than the former.

Because of this discrepancy, we have seen Milestone's tactic of only charging 1 license per IP address. Surely this helps lower the cost for people using analog cameras but it has this weird side effect of covering even multiple 1080p cameras on a single IP address.

A 4K camera does not replace 25 VGA cameras, but it regularly covers the area of a least a few of those. So pricing by the camera is inherently deflationary for VMS manufacturers.

One benefit of charging by MP is that people are used to spending more for higher MP cameras, so this fits camera expectations.

If someone buys a '100MP license' than they can allocate those MPs how they see fit, whether it is more SD cameras or fewer 4K cameras, etc.

This also matches better with sizing for VMS servers anyway as they are typically measured by max throughput.

One downside would be that this scheme would be less attractive to people who use fewer very MP cameras.

Overall, I doubt any will change but with the development of higher resolution and multi-imager cameras, I thought this was worth considering.


This also matches better with sizing for VMS servers anyway as they are typically measured by max throughput.

What about just licensing by max throughput then? ($10 = 1 Mbps?). Even more flexible for the end-user, as they can also tweak frame-rates and compression levels to suit their pocketbook.

And with many software manufacturers now pushing hard their own version of RMR or RYR*, this model could be adapted to a subscription basis and would give VMS vendors a fair way to charge customers.

Cloud pricing without the cloud.

*For instance try buying Adobe product anymore

Interesting idea John; I think it's a great topic.

I had a similar idea and conversation with a manufacturers rep a few months ago. What if the VMSes issued licenses base on the level of camera funtionality. Axis and most other manufactures have different grades of cameras, like the old Good, Better, Best that Sears use to have. What if they licensed the camera based on the level of technology built into it. Inexpensive, simple cameras would be less expensive than professional grade cameras. It must cost more to write integration with a high end camera than is does a Dropcam, so it makes sense to charge more.

VMSes offer different levels of software, such as Professional vs Enterprise, but they only offer one level of licensing within each software group. I think they could have different license levels as well.

Certainly a good thought. Personally I feel that end users will demand more and more for less and less just like the Moore's law. Some of the trends indicate that way

  • Earlier panaromic cameras would need 4 licenses & now one is sufficient (at least in some of the VMS'es). This requires more integration efforts but still licenses are pushed down by the market.
  • IP encoders (as you've already mentioned) from 4 licenses to 1 based on IP address.

Largely it's due to the influx of IP camera companies giving away "free" VMS'es for the smaller installations.

Your thought certainly makes sense for large projects where multi MP cameras are a necessity and there could be a genuine need where the end user is willing to pay for the value add.

Finally pricing is largely market driven based on the demand/supply. And most of the projects in India are still won at large by the lowest price bidder which effectively puts any pricing model under the threat.

I agree with John.

It will come in the future, just like for Virtual Server, VMs, Cores, etc.

More and More cameras will get powerful because of the next technology and Companies are going to move more taks to the camera.