What Should Go Into A Well Designed VMS / NVR Combo?

I’m not beating my own drum and for that reason don’t mention company name, product name or price. I’m a developer working on a ground up new design VMS solution that targets the residential and small to medium size business market space. I’m well along in implementing an open architecture solution that embeds both VMS and NVR into a single small footprint Windows compatible package. The target market dictates this IP camera/encoder only solution be intuitive, easy to install and easy to use and to that end I believe I covered all the bases; but, what other features should the product include?

A built in PoE switch is a valuable feature in reducing install time / complexity (e.g., Who Offers NVRs With Embedded PoE Switches?)

Is it going to be your own VMS or third party ones? I see pros and cons to both - If it's your own, you should be able to keep costs down but then you likely need to convince people why use a less known one. If it's a third party, like Milestone, it will be easier to get acceptance but a higher price.

Besides the PoE option that John suggests, I think Peer to Peer connection (no DDNS) for mobile access is desired, specially your target is SOHO/SMB. I also explored a way to simplify camera connections like PowerLine Carrier cameras that required "no wiring" to the NVR but that boost the price because those cameras would require internal batterys to keep working on a Power Outage.

I'd second the 'peer to peer' capability though that particular phrase seems to be more common in Asian products.

Whatever its called - 'phone home', 'zero config remote access', etc., I think that's a very valuable feature for every VMS / NVR. It still surprises me that big VMSes have not added it in standard.

Excellent suggestion, I will take it into consideration as the product evolves, thanks.

When you say "Windows compatible" it confuses me.. Are you talking about a piece of software that the end-user customer will install on Windows, or are you talking about a box that you will sell, which will somehow be compatible with Windows (maybe, Windows clients?)

Also, in terms of features, residential and 'medium size business' are about six million miles apart. You're definitely going to get many conflicting priorities if you cast your net that wide. Who's your real user?

In any case I quadrupal the 'zero config remote access' vote.

By “Windows compatible” I mean the product is a software package that can be installed on a Windows platform such as Windows XP, 7 or 8. While the package is currently leaning heavily toward residential and SOHO, I would very much like to include features that are of interest in the SMB community as well.

Still not clear on the Windows compatible requirmeent. Are you designing it so that the VMS client is Windows compatible, Windows on the NVR as the server host, or both?

The architecture and implementation bundle the 3 major components into a single software package to run on a Windows platform. The components include: Ingest, NVR and Video Analytics; Host Server; and Resident VMS. Ingest supports MPEG4, H.264 and MJPG. NVR supports local store in H.264 format. Resident VMS (and remote VMS if being used) rely on Host Sever. Internal working format is H.264. Video Analytics currently limited to motion detection and tripwire. Host Server delivers video from Ingest or archive in the MJPG format.

Residential only, I would shoot for automatic camera discovery (no IP numbers). Mobile client is probably a must. Motion based push notifications can be tricky to weed out false positives but it's the kind of thing that appeals to residential (basically, a video based alarm system). Another interesting take on that is alarms when there is no motion over a given period of time for monitoring the health of pets or the elderly. A lot of people with aging parents are looking for ways to help them check on grandma.

Very good suggestions, thanks

Some sort of local procedure to reset the admin password. Maybe a reset button of some sort or a utility on a boot disk. I just saw a thread recently about a small business where someone "shady" installed a DVR and is not providing the owner with the password to the DVR.

A clean, simple, easy to use GUI.

If you're chasing the small business market, I would suggest that the easier you make the VMS the better. Get the developers to imagine that they know nothing about cctv and design the UI with that in mind. Most small businesses want to set it up, switch it on, then forget about it. So, by the time they need to go back to the system (it's usually following an incident of some sort), the user shouldn't have to do a 2 day course before they can provide adequate footage to the police!

And whilst there may be many industry 'norms' with regard to terminonlogy and so on, consider using 'end user' terminology - perhaps you could have an ' Integrator Manual ' and an ' End User Manual'. After all, there are over 6 billion potential end users, and....... how many integrators / installers?

And before everyone has a hissy fit, I am taking into consideration the manufacturers desire to sell to a portion of the market who in all probability will forgo the use of integrators.

Lofty goal and I couldn’t agree more, and it’s a goal I believe we have hit – but time will tell.