Why Would You Use Any Other VMS Besides Exacq?

We currently use Exacq VMS exclusively for all new customers regardless of the size of install (1 camera, 60+ cameras). I haven't seen a scenario in which there was a better choice than Exacq, but I am curious to know if there is something comparable or better out there.

Here are the reasons we like Exacq :

#1 - Native client for Mac, Windows and Linux. - AFAIK (as far as I know) no other VMS offers this
#2 - Free apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone Mobile plus a web client
#3 - Server can run on Windows or Linux - AFAIK most VMS is Windows server only.
#4 - You do not need to buy hardware from Exacq - can build your own custom servers
#5 - Supports every major brand of IP camera and many obscure brands. I haven't yet found a camera that won't work (except AirLink which I think is a webcam)
#6 - Supports camera side motion detection which takes the burden off the server. Configuration is still all done within Exacq. Best of both worlds.
#7 - Is extremely affordable (dealer cost $36 per license for "Start" or $100 for "Professional")

I realize that Exacq is not perfect. I've had lots of small issues over the years and found many bugs. They introduced a bug that caused all HIKVision cameras to just continuously record all the time and didn't fix it for 3 versions. There are mouse-scrolling issues in the Mac client and the UI is not as sexy as it could be. But let's be realistic - ALL VMS has bugs. Any software is going to take a bit of effort to learn and every UI can be confusing until you're used to it.

I would like to know if there is a competitor to Exacq out there that meets or exceeds the above 7 points. All 7 of those points are deal breakers. No Mac client? No good. Server can't run on Linux? No good. I'm not looking to start a fanboy flame war, but I do honestly want to know if there is a better option out there than Exacq.


#8 Could be good…Could be bad. Depends on how you look at it.

There is no #8..

?

Undisclosed suggested '#8' by linking to this article: Tyco Acquires Exacq

So I'll chime in just for the fun of it since I'm not pushing any VMS. I have had the need for multicast support, active directory or LDAP integration. Sometimes integration support by specific access control or other products limit this choice. Support for edge storage or other means of storage such as iSCSI can make a conversion possible. Sometines language support becomes an issue when a customer is truly Global. Multiple time zone support and other countries requirements for storage privacy restrictions They may have all of this or not....but any of these are deal breakers in some installations.

NUUO

  1. Native client for Mac, Windows and Linux. - YES
  2. Free apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone Mobile plus a web client. - YES
  3. Server can run on Windows or Linux - BOTH
  4. You do not need to buy hardware from Exacq - SAME
  5. Supports every major brand of IP camera - SAME - 2100+ cameras, 110 Brands
  6. Supports camera side motion detection - YES - some products support server side also
  7. Is extremely affordable - Don't know what dealer price is, Amazon price per channel looks like under $100

Great topic! FWIW, I'm a nickel-dime end user of little interest to most IPVM members. However, I'm wondering (along the vein of this topic), can Exacq do this?

At austere sites, each VMS integrates with local cameras and provides local "full bandwidth" display and storage (however that is defined locally).

Each austere site, the VMS exports one instance of the site video streams -- at the best quality supported by the site link -- to a "master" VMS at some centralized, high bandwidth site.

The VMS at the centralized site provides storage for multiple, presumably lower quality, feeds from austere sites.

At the centralized high bandwidth site, the VMS consolidates multiple remote feeds and supports external users which might include centralized display clients, remote clients, and mobile devices.

Thanks!

Use 'unhelpful' when the comment is off topic / unrelated to what is being discussed.

Like this one arguably, but how can the OP be off-topic?

I was one of the 4 people to vote 'unhelpful' so I will explain my vote.

The title, in particular, is unhelpful because it is polarizing and, quite frankly, silly. Thre are lots of other VMS / recorders in the world that's lots of other people use. And it's going to cause people who like other systems to be offended.

I am not saying this to criticize Exacq because we use Exacq heavily internally and it was the top vote getter in our integrator Favorite VMS Manufacturers 2014 report.

Btw, I recommended Scott title his post differently before he posted it so we could have a more even, rationale discussion.

Btw, I recommended Scott title his post differently before he posted it so we could have a more even, rationale discussion.

Thank you for clearing that up, I was thinking that people were using "Unhelpful" like it was "Strongly Disagree", but I can understand now that your vote was cast from an admin/"meta" perpspective, and therefore unobjectionable.

FWIW, I honestly thought that you were giving Scott options to choose from depending upon his intended "polarization" level:

If you want to start a new thread a better title would be "Pros / Cons of Exacq VMS" unless you want to make it very polarizing (i.e., "Why would you use any other VMS besides Exacq?").

All 7 of those points are deal breakers.

I'm curious why you say this. Do you have THAT many jobs where you're using Exacq on a linux server and the customer is attaching to it with OS X clients, and won't pay for a mobile app?

I think if, as an integrator, you want to standardize on one single VMS, then Exacq arguably has an advantage with the OS X/linux stuff. But given that most other VMS's don't have much in that sense, I would assume that the overall market is rather small.

Would you be better off recomending some other VMS for your "main stream" customers, and use Exacq as your option for the ones with unique environments?

I don't know the answers, but it seems like your "must have" list covers a lot of obscure conditions and unneccessarily limits you.

If a VMS can meet all 7 points, we can cover every possible scenario. For example - say we sell a VMS without support for Mac - then a year later the customer buys a Macbook. Then what?

We decided to standardize on Exacq because of the 7 points above - it means we can build every system the same and guarantee it will work for any customer, big or small, Windows or Mac. We can just add faster processor/additional NIC/more storage when needed.

Maybe the subject line of the thread was poorly chosen, but I truly am curious to know if there's a better option than Exacq. So far though the only response has been NUUO. I tried to do a good job of explaining the question and the reason for asking it - my apologies to the 4 people who found it unhelpful.

Scott,

Here are segments / markets where Exacq historically has done poorly:

  • Large scale: 1,000, 10,000+ camera projects (vs Genetec / Milestone Corporate)
  • Bank branches (vs March / Verint / 3VR)
  • Budget / SMBs (vs Hikvision / Dahua, their many OEMs)
  • Customers who want end-to-end solutions (vs Avigilon)

Beyond that, many integrators want to have a VMS that is not widely available (lots of people sell Exacq), so that they have less direct competition, can market themselves as being different, etc.

These may not be your segments (or needs) but those are reasons every day why people choose other than Exacq.

... the customer buys a Macbook. Then what?

Parallels desktop. Minimal additional expense and Parallels works well.

Why would you use any other VMS . . . ?

For a number of reasons, including:

1. See note above on Parallels Desktop. We use it on every Mac in our department. We don't do Linux at all (by choice). We are a Windows OS user with the exception of a few Macs, and we run Windows virtual environments on them. Windows is prevalent, stable, affordable, well documented, and one OS provider makes system administration and management much simpler; plus, we don't have the time to learn two versions of a new OS (client/server) such as Linux that would only be used on a handful of machines.

2. Mobile apps are not a priority for us, but are available for iOS with our VMS. Most of our remote access is via laptop through VPN. We've had the iOS capability for a while now but never used it.

3. See #1

4. Our VMS allows us to use our own hardware - We build our own, typically.

5. Supports enough brands to allow us diversity and ensure competitive pricing is available

6. Camera side motion supported. Configurable via VMS for supported cameras.

7. Affordable and without recurring annual fees.

and, adding one more factor:

8. We're satisfied with our current solution.

Kevin,

I'm not sure how the licensing works for Parallels, but it seems kind of amateur-hour to ask a customer to spend money purchasing Parallels just so that they can run a Windows program and view their cameras. Don't you think it's so much more elegant just to install a native OSX application? I estimate that about 25-50% of our customers use Mac. The recent IPVM poll seemed to show similar results. Imagine having the same conversation over and over with 25% of your customers about how to purchase and install Parallels. Do you explain this ahead of time during the initial sales pitch or do you explain it afterwards when the system is installed and they are committed?

PS - What is the name of the VMS you use?

To clarify my statements and get them in the proper perspective please understand that I'm an enterprise-level end user.

As for "amateur-hour", I disagree. I would expect any integrator we use to recommend the best product for our application, not a one-size-fits-all solution. (That's not a jab at you or your decision to specialize in one product, by the way. I understand that for some business models that makes perfect sense.)

Regarding the quite unscientific OSX/Windows poll (no offense intended IPVM), if 25-50% have reported using Macs, one must first clarify whether the users have an enviroment that is all OSX, a majority OSX with some Windows, or, like us, a majority of Windows machines with a few users with specialized needs using OSX . . . and running Parallels in order to use the majority of our other enterprise applications - including VMS - that are not supported on OSX.

If you look at operating system market share, depending on the source of the data, OSX (all versions) has anywhere from 7-9% market share, whereas Windows (all versions) still commands close to 90% of the market.

As the IT administrator for one of the largest departments at our organization, I regularly tell my customers (our end users) who want a Mac that if they purchase a Mac they will have to make certain accommodations in order to run applications critical to our operations and not supported by OSX.

We use a big name Canadian VMS, eh. Their client works well on Parallels Desktop.

Edit: BTW, licensing for Parallels is done by version with reduced price upgrades to future versions. Enterprise licensing options are available for larger organizations. Don't know the details on those licensing options though.

"Regarding the quite unscientific OSX/Windows poll (no offense intended IPVM), if 25-50% have reported using Macs, one must first clarify whether the users have an environment that is all OSX, a majority OSX with some Windows, or, like us, a majority of Windows machines with a few users with specialized needs using OSX"

You've misrepresented our poll question. The question was: "For your desktop or laptop, what do you use?" It was not asking about entire organizations but for the specific individuals taking the poll.

Nonetheless, it remains that 75% of those voting personally use Windows (either only or with Macs).

"If you look at operating system market share, depending on the source of the data, OSX (all versions) has anywhere from 7-9% market share, whereas Windows (all versions) still commands close to 90% of the market."

But if you segment that to technology fields, the numbers are quite different. Do a poll of software developers and the numbers are essentially inverted.

All that being said, corporations, as you say, for corporate use, tend to be more conservative. And since video surveillance primarily serves security departments and bigger corporations, those are much likely to be Windows only, ergo less need for Mac support.

John - Didn't mean to "misrepresent". I was basing my response off the OP's reply to me in which he referred to the poll, saying, " I estimate that about 25-50% of our customers use Mac. The recent IPVM poll seemed to show similar results." I didn't research the poll reference before replying.

Segmenting into fields is helpful for some statistics, but I don't believe so in this case. As you note, most corporate (enterprise level) users are still married to Windows. All of the large implementations of security camera (and access control) systems I am familiar with from among my peers at other institutions are Windows based. The corporate systems I am aware of in this area are Windows based.

As a side note, we're a higher ed institution with a strong science, technology, and engineering focus. We are over 90% Windows. Macs are found primarily in our liberal arts areas. Our architects purchased some Macs for use with AutoCAD . . . and then purchased the Windows version of AutoCAD and Revit (intentionally) and run it using Parallels.

Now, getting back closer to topic, lack of Mac support would not be a deal breaker for me as an end user. A strong feature set, ease of use, compatibility with existing equipment and systems, solid support, interoperability with other manufacturers' camera products . . . those things, when absent, are the deal breakers for us.

Thanks John, interesting perspective. Our previous VMS was always lagging behind in support for IP cameras, only worked for Windows, did not have an app for iPhone/Android and was expensive. There was always a work-around of some sort needed - For example, instead of using a native VMS app which didn't exist we could use a 3rd party app and port-forward each camera individually. If a customer bought a Mac we could ask them to install Parallels or run Bootcamp and use the Windows client. But after a while it became very disheartening always explaining these limitations to customers. When shopping around for a new VMS to standarize on we found Exacq. It covers all the bases (the 7 points I listed) - and makes things much easier and we never have to worry/wonder if a customers needs will be met - the answer is always yes. I figured others that have been in business for a while must have similar stories/ similar history and was curious to know if others have wound up using Exacq or something else.

My reason for saying "All 7 are dealbreakers" wasn't meant to mean that each customer we have demands a linux server, runs a Mac and won't pay for apps. It was meant to avoid responses like "<insert brand> VMS is better because it has <insert cool feature>" (but the VMS still has a major limitation like Windows-only) and ignores my original post question.

It sounds like Exacq (or possibly NUUO?) is the closest there is to one-size-fits-all solution. We'd prefer not to sell and support multiple VMS's if possible. Standardizing on one VMS just seems like the way to go.

I took over one customer who was using Exacq. These are my issues from my limited experience:

1) The video streem does not adjust fluidly for remote viewing

2) Playing back is a pain in the neck where if you are doing it from a client, you have to wait for it to buffer

3) In order to export first have to set to playback and then can download

So which DVR / VMS did you switch the Exacq customer over to?

That particular client I switched to Avigilon. I usually use Avigilon for my higher end clients and and Hikvision/LTS for my lower end.

It does not fit all of your criteria, but most of them it does especially the ones that affect my customers:

#1 - Native client for Mac, Windows and Linux. - AFAIK (as far as I know) no other VMS offers this - NO
#2 - Free apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone Mobile plus a web client - YES
#3 - Server can run on Windows or Linux - AFAIK most VMS is Windows server only. - NO
#4 - You do not need to buy hardware from Exacq - can build your own custom servers - YES
#5 - Supports every major brand of IP camera and many obscure brands. I haven't yet found a camera that won't work (except AirLink which I think is a webcam) - SO FAR YES
#6 - Supports camera side motion detection which takes the burden off the server. Configuration is still all done within Exacq. Best of both worlds. - YES
#7 - Is extremely affordable (dealer cost $36 per license for "Start" or $100 for "Professional") - Not as affordable. The dealer price for the standard one is about double the starter and the pro about 1.5 times. However they do not sell through retailers, so in order for the customer to purchase an additional license they would have to go with a licensed installer. One thing in their favor though, there is no annual maintance fees. All upgrades (in the series) are free.

I really like how it is a very simple system that I usually only have to spend an hour teching the end user how to use it and they are good to go. I can also exoprt video remotely, with no buffering and at a pretty decent download speed.

Thanks Dave, Avigilon sounds pretty good. I like the fact that it integrates with their access control. Last I checked they had enough dealers in our area so we can't participate in the old boys club.

Sorry, I didnt reply in line to your question, but under my own initial post.

"Playing back is a pain in the neck where if you are doing it from a client, you have to wait for it to buffer"

Btw, the buffer / playback issue (which was quite a pain) has been improved / fixed, see: ExacqVision Version 6 VMS Improvements Tested.

John,

I am just getting started with perfromance testing Exacq in my lab and I saw this buffering up on the clients...with a 3x3 or 4x4 salvo in place. I have not gotten to the server side maximum streams yet, but will be interested to observe what effect this buffering has on the Server side performance.

Has anyone noted what this effect is? I am anticipating that it will interfere with writing the new video data to some degree.

Perhaps one needs to consider how many simulataneous playbacks are being called for when doing this forensic search? I can imagine saying that a 2x2 salvo is a better choice than anything larger.

From a users perspective...what salvo is a common one for playbacks? (perhaps its own duscussion?).

"2) Playing back is a pain in the neck where if you are doing it from a client, you have to wait for it to buffer"

What version of Exacq were you using? Anything v.6 or higher has speed search and this is no longer an issue.

I just briefly tried the demo Exacq. I connected three Dahua cameras and 1 Hikvision camera. The Hikvision connected via Onvif and didn't support motion detection/motion mask. The Dahua camera I was able to change the motion mask and sensitivty.

It seems like decent software but I don't like that I need to go to a different window to playback. In DW Spectrum/NX Witness you just bring up the timeline and start scrubbing or use the calendar or use smart motion search. The server-side motion supports multi zone sensitivity which most of the lower cost cameras we use don't, so it's very useful.

The GUI could look a little nicer but I understand that a simple design is generally more efficient.

As far as your points using DW Spectrum:

#1 - Native client for Mac, Windows and Linux. - YES
#2 - Free apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone Mobile plus a web client - YES, I don't know about Windows phone and don't know anyone with a Windows phone
#3 - Server can run on Windows or Linux - YES
#4 - You do not need to buy hardware from Exacq - YES
#5 - Supports every major brand of IP camera and many obscure brands. I haven't yet found a camera that won't work - YES most of it is ONVIF with the exception of Axis and Arecont
#6 - Supports camera side motion detection which takes the burden off the server. Configuration is still all done within Exacq. Best of both worlds. - With Axis and Arecont I believe this is the case, However, server side motion is very efficient
#7 - Is extremely affordable - One license no multi-tier <$80/license IP, <$80/4 license Analog (encoder)

Thanks Kyle, I will definitely check out DW/Spectrum software. I had a chuckle about the Windows Phone - so true. Just met my first person to have one a few weeks ago.

Also, not that it really matters, but there are solutions to those problems you had on Exacq. Select HIKVision instead of ONVIF and the motion detection works - I've had the same issue before. Also to playback from Live View just right click on the viewscreen and you can select Playback 5, 10 15 minutes prior etc.

The reasons I would list are not primarily technical, but sales and business related (one has been mentioned):

1) They are owned by Tyco. Tyco is a direct competitor to our company. Lets imagine someday Tyco decides only they are allowed to support Exacq systems, even regionally... Sh.t out of luck. This is a deal breaker.

2) No Native Access Control integration/management. This is a deal breaker. 50-75% of our systems are combined video and access control systems, managed by one software.

3) Watered down business model, purchasing direct through distribution. We are actually Exacq certified and have quoted and sold licensing for customers while we have never actively driven Exacq sales.

[Poster is from IPConfigure]

Orchid by IPConfigure @ $69/camera MSRP

  1. Native client for Mac, Windows and Linux. - YES (browser based)
  2. Free apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone Mobile plus a web client. - YES (browser based)
  3. Server can run on Windows or Linux - BOTH (and onboard Axis cameras)
  4. You do not need to buy hardware from Exacq - IPC offers the "exact" line of hardware as Exacq
  5. Supports every major brand of IP camera - ALL Onvif Profile-S or Generic RTPS
  6. Supports camera side motion detection - NO, wont accept liability for 3rd party motion detection engines effectiveness.
  7. Is extremely affordable - $69 MSRP
  8. Installs in under 2 minutes - Demo Video @ http://vimeo.com/90688221

One reason could be the Access Control system being used by the end user.

If it is not one of the two dozen ones shown on Exacq's AC Integration page...then another VMS will need to be considered.