Why Should Anyone Consider Lensec's VMS?

Lensec has been posting promotionally in the Qongify / OnSSI Layoffs thread. This is to give them and anyone else who supports them a chance to make their case for them.

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Just downloaded their software and will toss in a machine somewhere this week. I am curious if it has an evaluation mode right out of the box or if you need to fill out a spam form to get a temp license (exacq, cough).

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Thank you John and IPVM, for providing this thread which allows folks to address the specific question of “why should anyone consider LENSEC (specifically, Perspective VMS®)”. 

As a matter of disclosure and background on the thread, I am responding as LENSEC’s Chief Product Officer and thus cannot help but be promotional in addressing this specific question.  LENSEC has been around for 20+ years and we have a fair amount of experience with the challenges posted by users’ questions of how to handle migrating software platforms, as well as the specific questions revolving around if manufacturers would offer as incentives to customers of other VMSes, if they want to (or are required to) change interfaces.  We also have quite a bit of experience with larger end-users as we have worked with large education, commercial, municipal, and national projects over our history.  Systems ranging from hundreds, to thousands, to tens-of-thousands of cameras.

LENSEC is a software development company with offices in the US (Texas) and the Middle East.  We believe in empowering both the integrator and the end-user with choice in software providers and we recognize the investment a user has made in legacy systems.  As such, we price our software accordingly when it is a replacement of an existing system.

Our product, Perspective VMS® (PVMS), is wholly an HTML5-based application which makes updating dozens or hundreds of user/client workstations a non-factor.  While PVMS first launched as a Silverlight application in 2011, we evolved and based upon our research, we believe PVMS was the first fully functional HTML5-based (plugin-less) VMS on the market in January of 2017.  We continue to evolve our technology to ensure we address general usability and day-to-day challenges of security users as our top priority. 

Customers of LENSEC can expect responsiveness not only in design of our product, but also in its evolution.  As an agile company we release 4-6 optional releases per year that users can take advantage of to increase functionality or operational effectiveness and integration.

The proof of ease-of-use is in our demonstrations and use of the software.  PVMS' focus on usability, when it comes to efficiency, automation, and user-adoption (all factors cited time and again in these posts as critical to success long term) is exceptional. We welcome any potential partner or end-user to consider LENSEC and Perspective VMS® in their evaluation process.

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Jeff -

Some interesting points, thanks for sharing. 

How is Lensec priced and licensed? Is it just one version with all the features, or is it the more typical good/better/best feature slicing?

What is MSRP for the various license tiers or options, and are support and updates included, or is there an annual fee for that?

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LENSEC offers Perspective VMS in a 5 editions of software, matching features with value ranging in MSRP from $25 - $238 per camera channel.  We issue software via camera channel licenses (no server/base license, or per user license fee).  When the user procures a license they own the software indefinitely (it will not break or stop working based on an expiration date).

Additionally, we offer optional Software Maintenance (first year free) which entitles users access to all of our upgrades / updates going forward.  This access to upgrade is regardless of version release; meaning even Major version releases are made available to active maintenance users.

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LENSEC is one of our VMS integration partners and we enjoy a close relationship with the executive staff. They are the only VMS system that we offer that has a two way integration. Meaning not only does the video populate in the access control GUI but our access control events are also displayed in their Prospective VMS UI. Let's face it, there is nothing sexy about watching an access control system operate unless you gain pleasure from seeing endless lines of "Access Granted" however having the ability to monitor your access activity through the VMS UI gives it more of a PSIM look and feel. 

We support this integration in both our on-premise and cloud systems. 

We have many large deployments with them in the USA as well as the GCC markets and are seeing many Galaxy business partners become LENSEC partners as well. 

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Disclosure...I am a Lensec rep.  I have represented many VMS systems in the past, and feel that Lensec offers the best bang for the buck of the brands I am intimate with.

As reps, we need to be technically competent, not just effective "pedlars".  As a policy, we attend the same certification training classes that a integrator is required to attend, in order to thoroughly understand the products we promote.  

What has attracted so many of our integrators include the use of HTML5-based browser access, the policy of one-time license purchases, the lack of multiple fees (just buy the camera licenses, and, if needed, any access control integration licenses), and the customer interface. 

What the end user sees is a map.  Mouse over a camera icon, and instantly a live video cameo pops up.  Mouse over a door icon and up pops a short command list..."lock", "unlock", or "pulse" (grant access). Searching for, and exporting video is intuitive and easy. Want to see multi-camera displays on several monitors...just open up several browsers pages and drag them to the monitors. 

Lensec has three requirements to become an authorized integrator...attend a two-day technical class (free), attend a two-hour sales webinar (free), and install a software demo system at your own facility (free).

Nice product, nice people and great support.

 

 

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Sorry for the late response, catching up.

Two questions:

1) Why choose Lensec vs its competitors? 

2) Why is Lensec so much smaller than its competitors? Simply bad at marketing or don't have money for salespeople or the product is inferior?

Lensec has been around a long time but I've never heard a strong case be made (HTML5 interface is fine but not a huge differentiator on its own) nor significant demand from integrators. I am not trying to be negative, I am trying to convey my concerns when we consider Lensec.

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When Keith Drummond was the CEO and Marianna Leybovich (CTO) was running the Russian dev team, Lensec was both the manufacturer and the integrator of their own software.  Has that changed?

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Hi Undisclosed Manufacturer #4,

To clarify, you may have us confused with another company as we have not used a “Russian” Dev team in our past.  What may also be confusing is that our former CTO turned CEO (who was always phenomenal BTW), has Russian heritage, but the product development for LENSEC has been US-based since the beginning (first in Alabama then Texas). 

In regard to our company's actual global reach, we have established partnerships over time with resources to add to our team from Jordan and other locations within the Middle East, where we have a growing customer base of highly notable end-users including some in national defense and large Government Ministries. These great team members help us to provide global coverage for partners and increase our ability to support customers around the clock.

Regarding the second part of the question, it has been quite some time since Keith was our CEO.  To provide some context, I have personally been with LENSEC for 10 years and Keith had left before I arrived.  As can be expected with a company that is over 20 years old, we have evolved our business operations to better suit our particular capabilities and the market. 

LENSEC began as a custom integrator and early on our customer’s requested a browser-based Video Management system capable of streaming IP cameras (early 2000’s).  Since there was not a comparable VMS on the market at the time that could accomplish the goals they demanded, we developed our own.  Over the next decade, we refined that product to suit all of our users’ needs and our own requirements as an installer.  It gave us a unique perspective (pun intended) on how to develop a product that would be of great benefit to both users and the integrators who would install and service that solution.  When we launched Perspective VMS in 2011 we did so with the intention of eventually bringing that product to a global market of partner integrators. 

By the time we exited our previous ownership and were acquired by current ownership in 2016, we were evolved with our product to focus entirely on building partnerships with re-sellers.  Today in 2019, with a great team in place globally, we continue to develop and lead using an agile mindset.  Our Perspective platform (leading with our Video Management Software) continuously evolves, utilizing not only the feedback of our great end-users, but also retaining the first-hand knowledge of what it means to be an integrator and how to develop applications to ensure success for all of our integrator partners as well.

I am happy to discuss more about our history and more importantly our future, with partners and industry professionals.  For more detailed conversations I look forward to ISC West this year to have a chance to talk with many of you personally.

- Jeff Kellick (Chief Product Officer, LENSEC)

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Hi John,

Again, thank you for the forum and an opportunity to talk with some of your subscribers.  We appreciate the questions and consideration.

Regarding the questions you posted:

  • Why choose LENSEC vs competitors? We believe our approach to development is quite a bit different than our competitors.  We originated as integrator (over 20 years ago) which gives us a different perspective on the installation and servicing of products and solutions.  We aim to increase the value of the integrator through this approach, always learning more and developing with agility.  This allows us to continuously release new versions to accommodate new requests and needs of our users and partners.  This philosophy manifests in various comparison bullet points (ease of pricing to integrators, ease of installation for integrators, focus on efficient training and acclimation for users, simple navigation, quick links to admin functions all within the same browser-based application, etc…)
  • Why is LENSEC smaller…? In terms of market-share, we may be smaller as overall footprint in this highly fragmented market in 2019, but we do not believe that has an impact on our efficacy for customers (partners or end-users).  At this point in our evolution we focus on true partnerships with integrators.  We do not aim to oversaturate markets with many partners that would be difficult or cumbersome to support.  We feel our current solutions (whether sites with a couple hundred, couple thousand, or over ten thousand cameras) warrant our ability to support and provide manufacturer attention when requested.  We want integrator partners who we can work with (develop with, market with, sell with) to provide a best fit solution for end-users and we want to be a partner to them and always support their needs.  Thus, we have a focused growth mentality to ensure we can learn and evolve the product and complementary solutions in the best way possible, not only for us as a manufacturer but for our partners and end-users.

    - Jeff Kellick (Chief Product Officer, LENSEC)
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Jeff, that's a very marketing heavy answer.

For example, your answer to Q1 is pretty abstract / vague, even the most detailed part is still not clear:

ease of installation for integrators, focus on efficient training and acclimation for users, simple navigation, quick links to admin functions all within the same browser-based application

Maybe this is the case but how exactly? What specific features or capabilities do you have that Avigilon, Exacq, Milestone, etc. do not?

At this point in our evolution we focus on true partnerships with integrators. We do not aim to oversaturate markets with many partners that would be difficult or cumbersome to support.

You seriously would have built more confidence with me by acknowledging that you don't spend as much money on sales and marketing, etc. Spinning it as a virtue is weird.

Are you really anywhere near the point where you are going to 'oversaturate' the market? Our integrator surveys show the opposite - that Lensec has very few integrator partners relative to its competitors.

You obviously read IPVM so you probably know that giving me marketing fluff answers will not help yet that is what you are providing.

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John, first happy St. Patrick’s Day! 

I am happy to state that I do read IPVM and am encouraged by your readership.  It is for that reason why we respond purposefully and candidly on these threads.  We recognize you have some top-tier integrators / solutions providers that are here to gain insights from manufacturers and from each other.  We certainly want to reach those readers.

What we may agree on, is that it is a bit difficult to go into a feature-for-feature comparison on a question thread.  We have over 427 features in our software, and our competitors have similar numbers. Some installations they are a better fit for, others we are a better fit.  It will of course vary on the needs and use-case of the customer.  On blanket simplistic comparison charts, each of us manufacturers tend to use different names for these features to market the product to users.  And if you are really looking for marketing information, sure, we have information on our website with features listed and videos on our value proposition etc. (www.LENSEC.com/pvms). 

However, the fact is, features evolve every quarter and it is not the features you had yesterday, or even today, it is how those features are implemented/used and how you can adapt-to and solve the problem for the customer’s demand as it evolves tomorrow.  That was my intention to covey for the readers of this posting.  The so-called “workings behind the curtain.”  If anything, as CPO of LENSEC I was trying to provide direct insights to how we think when engineering product.  I did not intend to offend or spin.

Recently IPVM posted criticizing another manufacturer for charging for software maintenance but not releasing product in over a year.  I have mentioned before on this thread, but that is one specific area where we differ, we learn from and evolve our product regularly.  We believe that helps our partners succeed. 

Regarding our approach towards markets.  We do talk directly with integrators in markets everyday (I am speaking MSA or geographic markets) and it is a common concern amongst them when a provider distributes their product to 10 or 15 other re-sellers (integrators, fire guys, burg guys, or even trunk-slammers) all within the same MSA, and then they (the reseller) has to caution end-users to beware of the lowest-bidder when the integrator was heretofore doing the work of specifying a solution for that user. Typically, that lowest-bidder does not have all the information or wherewithal and does not provide a good solution for the user, thus everybody loses.   

In the distribution of Perspective, our approach is different, we target geographic markets purposefully and want a few qualified and certified integrators per market.  So no, we are not about to post a Super-bowl ad, or even host a large open bar at Tao during ISC. Our marketing and sales approach is more targeted.  Our team members look to find partners in a region-by-region basis that we can work with together.  It is to those integrators reading this post I would like to talk with, to see how together we can help their current customers and together how we can gain future customers.

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You have written quite a bit there.

Some installations they are a better fit for, others we are a better fit.

Can you list 3 bullet points for installations where you are a "better fit" than competitive VMSes?

However, the fact is, features evolve every quarter and it is not the features you had yesterday, or even today, it is how those features are implemented/used and how you can adapt-to and solve the problem for the customer’s demand as it evolves tomorrow.

I tend to disagree. Most VMSes, arguably the most successful ones, have been fairly static in terms of core features and implementations of those features. Really, not that much has changed in the VMS market in the past 10 years, the things that *have* changed have certainly not done so on a quarter by quarter basis.

In the distribution of Perspective, our approach is different, we target geographic markets purposefully and want a few qualified and certified integrators per market. 

Why? Is your VMS only relevant in specific geographies? This makes no sense to me, it sounds more like you have a geographically limited sales team, and so then by extension you target partners close to your sales people.

It is to those integrators reading this post I would like to talk with

How would those integrators know they are within your target base when you provide no concrete statements or details?

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Hi Undisclosed #2,

* From our customers and partners we have received feedback that we are a great fit where customers want flexibility in the workstation, user, and/or technician access.  A full browser-based, HTML5 application (including reporting and administration) allows for utilization on all workstations (including mobile devices) without extra installation or even plug-in support.  The fact that we support custom password string restrictions and Active Directory (with Single-Sign-On) is a big plus to IT professionals as well.

* The ability to scale incrementally is another benefit for customers.  Our licensing is simple and straightforward.  Many customers may begin with transitioning from analog or another system and can quickly adopt Perspective VMS.  Eventually scaling their sites as their budget allows from dozens to hundreds to thousands of cameras at campuses or across cities.

* Workflow automation (if-this-then-that) logic interfacing is also straightforward and easy to implement.  For PVMS this can incorporate functions within the VMS or 3rd-party integrations as well.

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Regarding the idea that VMSes have been static, it is an interesting objection.  Speaking for LENSEC, over the past 10 years we have released several dozen versions of Perspective VMS.  Six versions in 2018 alone.  Each of our releases adds new feature requests from our users.  These can be integrations, User Interface adjustments, reports, or even new functional programs we learn about after de-briefing with customers and law-enforcement, post events.

HTML5 in-and-of-itself was a significant leap for Video Management as a whole, taking advantage of new standards only formally released by Google (then others) in 2017.  Again this allows flexibility and maybe more importantly more rapid-adoption by users to allow more personnel to take advantage of the practical uses of VMS and video surveillance in general.

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Lastly, we are not limited to specific geographies, rather we are purposeful and selective in which integrators we work with.  We are happy to talk with and interview integrators from everywhere.  We will do so at shows like Intersec in Dubai, ISC West upcoming in Las Vegas, or IACLEA later this year in Vancouver.  Additionally, our regional sales team and sales engineering staff is always open and receptive to not only reach out to new partners but also to receive inquiries on becoming a LENSEC partner at any time.

Please feel free to reach out directly as well if we can address any other specifics.
All the best,

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Speaking for LENSEC, over the past 10 years we have released several dozen versions of Perspective VMS...

Jeff, who do you actually consider your competitors? Are you competitors of them as well, or are they so much bigger (Milestone, Genetec) that they don’t see you the same?

Or maybe Luxriot or Aimetes?

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Through our partners, we like to compete in many opportunities and over time have competed against many other products.  A better way to answer may be to describe typical installations and from there anyone may draw conclusions over which area of the VMS spectrum we would fit for them

Perspective VMS is typically installed in opportunities where multiple enterprise VMSes are evaluated.  A majority of end-users of PVMS range in the 500-2500 camera range with of course many customers on either side of that threshold.  We have some installations with 1-10 cameras and a number over 10,000 cameras.  

Customers range from the commercial market, to education (campus environments), to critical infrastructure, to cities and national governments.

We provide different targeted editions that offer competitive features and pricing based on need and size.  This is so our partners can offer comparable or exceeding solutions against other VMS or Surveillance products (or editions) from a broad-range of competitors.

Typically, we see for the integrator or end-user, it is more about what requirements we meet or problems we solve, rather than how we (manufacturers) view our competitors.  Customers and partners typically want all of us to be forward-thinking, attentive to their requirements, and to be continuously designing products to meet or exceed their needs.

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This statement could be made by a dozen+ VMSes, there is nothing in that that is unique.

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Regarding the idea that VMSes have been static, it is an interesting objection. Speaking for LENSEC, over the past 10 years we have released several dozen versions of Perspective VMS.

Would you call that development work "catching up", or "innovating" (and if you call it innovating, which specific things did you do first? HTML5, for example, is not unique to Lensec).

I do think the HTML5 interface is at least a differentiator, to a certain degree. I disagree on the licensing flexibility and automation, there are quite a few alternatives that fit those criteria (separately or together).

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It gave us a unique perspective (pun intended) on how to develop a product that would be of great benefit to both users and the integrators who would install and service that solution. When we launched Perspective VMS in 2011...

@Jeff Kellick

Jeff, i’d like to offer a different perspective (pun intended), namely Perspective Software, makers of the Blue Iris VMS, whose origin was recently probed here: Who Is Behind Blue Iris? They have a FFMPEG violation report here.

i assume that the name similarity is just a coincidence, but you never know, so I thought I would ask.

if not, curious if you have ever heard of them at all.

thx!

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Hi Undisclosed #5,

Personally, I have heard of them before.  No.  There is not any relation to any of us at LENSEC or any tie whatsoever.

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Jeff, I've heard you touting your HTML5 interface. I haven't tried your software but I've heard that other HTML5 implementations have different performance issues depending on the specific browser being used. Does yours work equally well on all browsers?

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This is great question (Undisclosed Manufacturer #6) and I’m glad someone asked it.  From Day 1 of PVMS’ development we at LENSEC have understood the importance of a common User Experience across multiple browser platforms.  This is the reason why we originally released PVMS Versions 1 and 2 using Silverlight from Microsoft.  Silverlight was a great application framework for its time, as it facilitated continuity regardless of browser, allowing our customers to experience the rich application experience needed in an Enterprise VMS without being tied down by a cumbersome and tactically limited thick client.

With the advancement of the HTML5 standards (and related OTT video streaming frameworks) during the mid-part of this decade, we have worked diligently to retain this same feature/function capability of uniformity across the major browsers.  Thus, today Perspective VMS is tested on and works with a very high degree of consistent similarity in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Edge and IE11 (from Microsoft), as well as Apple Safari.  Other browsers like Opera and Vivaldi are okay too, but from our experiences do not get much use from our user base or the public at-large.

Browsers evolve quite frequently and we design and test for those outcomes focused on HTML and CSS standards to anticipate new trends and functional design.  We also pay attention to which browser are most common with our users and the world at large.  A good source for browser statistics is here (https://www.w3schools.com/browsers/) and a good test for HTML5 compatibility is here (https://html5test.com/).

I am always curious (eh-hem, IPVM team) what browsers (and Operating Systems) trend as most used by security end users and even by integrators on their laptops etc.  We have found as of this quarter; our users predominately use Google Chrome with Windows 10.  This is typically driven by IT departments.  We also see a fair amount (more than the typical office standards) of clients still on Windows 7 and a number using Mac OS systems (albeit most still prefer Chrome over Safari).  Some customers’ IT departments still have them using IE11, some Firefox, and a few have forced migration to Edge.

Thank you again for the question. Anyone can request access to demo our software as well if you would like to test for yourself on different browsers.

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After four weeks of working at Lensec here are my top reasons to use PVMS.

  1. Easy to USE
  2. Integrations (access control, video analytics AI, alarm systems, others)
  3. Runs on COTS Servers (windows)
  4. Easy full UI via web browser (HTML5)
  5. Search (global incremental)
  6. Made in the USA
  7. Work Flows (IFTTT Logic)
  8. 24/7 tech support (6am to 6pm CT & emergency on call after hours)
  9. Private Label (option)
  10. Transit (Fleet Platform)
  11. Unique Platform (not just a VMS)
  12. Experience (mature system)
  13. Sold only via integration partners (no distribution or direct sales)
  14. Very Experienced RSM in the West :)
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