Camera Configuration Manager Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision

By Sean Patton, Published May 01, 2019, 10:05am EDT

Which camera manufacturer has the best management tool? We tested 6 manufacturers - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision to find out.

free images_2

The software tested included:

In this test we scored the software across 11 categories, rating each strong, average or poor as the preview shows:

Inside, we detail the full results including who won and lost and how the systems performed across each of the 11 categories, including 6 video screencasts, one for each manufacturer in the shootout.

Camera ***** **** ****

**** **** *** ****** with ~** ******* ** each ************. ***** *** be ****** **** ******* the ***** ******* ****** camera **** **** ** could *** ****** *** to **** **********.

Performance ********

******** **** ******* **** 2 ****: ******* ************* and ******** ********.

******* ************* ******** ** common ***** ********* ** part ** *** ***** or ***** *******, ********* ease ** *********, ************** (assigning ***, *********, ******** configuration), *** ******** *******.

***** ** *** *****, Camera ************* **** ******* Configuration *********** ***** **** two ******:

  • **** ***********:**** ******** ****** ****** for ****** ************** *** Firmware ******, ******* **** scored ******* *** ********* because ** ******** ******** steps ** ****** *** factory ******* *******. ***** received *** **** ****** score *** ****** *********, was ***** ** ******** cameras *** ***** ***** and *** ***** *******. Hikvision ******** * ****** score ** ****** ************** for ***-***** *********.
  • ****************: ********'* *** ********** was ****** ************** ******* it **** *** ******* a ********* ***** ************* function, ***** *** ******** technician ***** ******. ******** offers * ****-**-**** *** camera *************, ** ***** configuration ** ****** ***** (e.g. ** *** ******, administrator *******/********) ** *** import. ***** *** ****** both *** ****** **** bulk ******** ****** *** slow ****** ********* ***** did *** **** ******* default ******* ** *** test ** *** *** in *** **** ******.

******** ******** *** ******* as **** ****** ***** more ****** ******** ** Enterprise ************ *** *** provided ** **** *****. These ******* ** ********* camera ******** (**** ******* image), ************* *******, ****** replacement, ****** **********, ****** information, ************* *******, ******/*****, and ********* **** ******.

***** ** *** *****, Advanced *********** ***** **** three ******:

  • **** **********:****, *****, *** ****** were *** *** **********, scoring ******** ** * out ** *** * categories. ***** ******* ** not ******* *** ***** plugins *** ******** ** "NA" ***** *** **** category.
  • ******* ***********:********* ****** ******** ** 3 **********, *******, **** not ******* ********* ****** plugin **********, ** ****** replacement.
  • ***** ***********:******** ****** ******** ** 2 *** ****** ****** in * ********** ********* Cybersecurity *******.***** *** *** ****** scoring ****, *** ******* strongly ** *** ** the ******** **********, *** scoring ****** ** * out ** *.

**********, ******** **** ***** is * *** ******* of ***** ****** ************* Tool ********* ** ****** 2019, ***** **** *** more ************ ********* ********* configuration.

Summary ** *******

*** ***** ***** ***** the **** ******* ****** each ********. **** ** the ************ ****** ****** in *** ** *** Basic ******* ************* ********** though ***** *** ***** overall.

** ********** ******* *** to ***** *** ******** but **** *** ********.

Key ***************

*** ********* ********** **** areas **** ****** *** most ******** ******* *****:

  • ************* *******: ** ******* ********, camera ************* *** ******* tools, *.*., ** ***** enable ***** **************, *** upload *** ******** *** certificates. **** *** ***** scored ********, ***** ******** and ***** ******* *********** to ****** **** ****** using *** ****** *** interface. ****** *** ********* support ***** ***** ************* but ** *** ***** SSL *********** ********** *************.
  • ****** ****** ****: * ***** ****** at ******* ** ************** cameras ** ***** **** troubleshooting * ****** ******. Also, ***** **** ** export ****** **** *** technical ******* ** *** resulted ** * ****** score.
  • ****** ****** *******: ******** ******* ********** cameras ** ***** **********, frame *****, *** ********* configuration ** ***********. ******* with *** ****** ******** and *******, **** *** be ******** ******** ** a ****** ***** ****** testing.
  • ****** ****** / *****: *************** ** ******* often ******* ********* ** unresponsive ******, *** ** some ***** ********* *** camera ** ******* ******* settings. * ****** ***** in **** ******** *** the ****** ** ********** camera ******, ******* ******** reset, *** **** ******* reset.
  • ****** ***********: * ****** ***** for **** ******** *** the ****** ** ************ primary ***** ********* *** recording ********, ********* *** camera ** *** ***** views, **** **** ********* with ***-********* ****** ******. This ** * ******* offered ** **** *****, for *******, ******** *** offers * *********** ****, however, ** ***** ******** cameras **** * ***-***** VMS, ******** ****** ************* Tool **** *** ***** that *******.
  • **** ****** **********: ** *** ** date ****** ************* **** may *** ******* *** features ** ******** ** latest ****** ********, *** requiring *********** ** ************ check *** ******* ** unproductive. * ****** ***** resulted **** *** **** notifying *** **** ** an ****** ** ********* a ******* *********** ***** automatically ********* ******* (*.*. Hanwha ******* ****** **** Updater, ********* ***** *******)

Manufacturer ********** ******

** *** ********* ******, we ****** **** ************* Tool *******, ****** ******** examples ** **** ** performed ******** ** ******.

********

******** ****** ******** *** average ** * ********** each, *** ****** ****** in * **********

****

**** ****** ******** ** 7 **********, *** **** scored ****** ** **** Update **********

*****

***** ****** ******** * categories *** *** *** score ****** ** ***.

*****

***** ****** ******** ** Camera **************, ******* ****** in *, *** **** of *** ********** **** tested.

******

****** ****** ******** ** 6 **********, *** **** scored ****** ** ****** Replacement.

*********

********* ****** ******** ** 5 **********, *******, **** scored ****** ** *.

Camera ********* ***********

*** * ** *** tools ****** ******* ** better ** *** ******** of ****** *********. *** criteria *** ****** ********* was ********* * **** of ********* *******, ******* multiple ************* ***** *** choices. ***** * ******* is ***** *** ******* to ***** ********** ** the ****.

** ******* ** * strong **** ****** *** Bosch's ****** *********. ** soon ** *** *********** is ******** ** ******** and ******* ******* ******* from ******** *************, **** direct ****** *** ***** supported *******. ** *** the **** **** ***** discovered *** ***** *******:

*** ********** ** **** and *********'* ***** ** failing ******* ************* ******* with ******* ******* ** addresses ** ******* ** the ****** ***** ** the ************* **. *******, using **** ***** ***** Axis ** ******* *** Hikvision ****, ***** ******* are **********:

Cybersecurity ******* ******

**** **** *** ***** scored ******** ** ************* Support, ******** **** ******** of ***** ************** *** management ** *** ************, including ********** **** *************. Avigilon *** ***** **** scored ****** ******* ******** HTTPS *** ********* **** communications *** **** ** completed ******* *** ****** web *********. ********* *** Hanwha ******* ********* *** certificates, *** ** ********** of ******** ************.

** ******* ** * strong **** ***** *** Axis ****** ******* ******** signed ************ **** *** be ******** ** ******* and *** *******, **** variable ********** *****. **** said **** *** ******* on ** ****** ** automatically ******* *** ************ with **** ****** ******* VMS *******, * ******* which ** ********* ******:

***** **** ******** ******** HTTPS *** ********* **** in ***** ********* ***-***** cameras, ** **** ******* from *******, ****** *** Dahua ******* **** ******* at *** **** ****:

Firmware ****** ******* ******

******** ********** ******** ** one ** *** ******* tasks ** **** * video ****** ***********, *******, the ********** ** ****** of ****** ******, ******** releases *** ******** ********* is *********. *** ** the ********** ***** ******* firmware ********, ******* ********, Axis *** ********* ******* checks ** *** ******** needed ********, *** ******** and **** **** ******** synchronization ** ******** *** latest ******** ******** ** the ********** ****.

****** **** ********* ******** check *** ********, *** the **** *** *********** does *** ************* ****** and *************** *** ************ during *******. ***** *** Dahua **** ****** ******** update **** ****** **** updating *** **** ***** devices.

********'* ******** ****** ***** tool *** ** ******* of * ****** **** result, ******* ***** ******** versions *** ******* ********** to *** **** **:

******* ******* ** ****'* Firmware ****** ***** *** Firmware ******* ******** ****:

Camera ****** **** / **** ******

**** **** *** ****** scored ******** ** ****** Health ****, ******** ****** online/offline ****** *** **** camera ***** *** *********, important *** *************** **** manufacturer ******* *** *** processing.

********, *****, *** ********* scored *******, ******** ******* event *** ****** **** multiple *******. ********* *** Bosch **** * ****** monitor **** ***** ******** real-time ******* ***** **** a *** ******, *******, it ** * ****-**** report *** **** *** include ******** **** ***** event **** ** ******.

***** ********** **** *** offer ****** ** ***** log *******.

Camera **************

* *** ** *** 6 ***** ****** ******** in ****** **************, **** Avigilon ******* ******* ******* it *** *** **** software ****** **** **** not ***** *** *******/*** camera ******** ****** ***** can ******** ************* ****** due ** ****** *****. However, ******** ***** ****** minimal ***** *** ****** bulk ****** *************.

*** *********** ******** ******* in ********* ** *** ONVIF ********** ******* **** in *** "***-***** *********" setup ******, ***** ** primarily ********* **************** ******* **** **** ONVIF ********.

Camera ******* ***** / ****** *******

*****, ******, *** ********* scored ******** ** ****** Reboot/Reset, ******** ****** ********* as **** ** ******* settings ***** (*** ******** except **), *** **** factory *****.

**** *** ***** ********* reboot *** ******* ******** reset, *******, ******** ***** the ****** ******* ** perform * **** ******* reset. ******** **** *** support ****** ** ***** in ****** ****** ****, however, **** ******* ***** functions ** ***** *** VMS.

** ******* ** * strong ***** *** ****** Device ******* ********** *** 3 ******* ********* ** a ****** "*******" ****:

Version ******

  • ******** ****** ************* **** 1.4.0.0
  • **** ****** ******* *.**.***
  • ***** ************* ******* *.**.****.*
  • ***** ********** *.**.*
  • ****** ****** ******* *.*.*.*
  • ********* ***** ************ **.*.*.**********

Comments (19)

Is there an ability to export any types of reports in these configuration tools (other than Hanwha)?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Yes, all but Dahua had configuration reports. Is there a specific type of report you are asking about?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Just curious what options they had and what the exports looked like.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

(Hanwha Employee)

Great report and comparison.  Thanks Sean.

I have a few comments regarding the video showing the Hanwha Wisenet Device Manager, as there are a few items that are not correct in the report.

The Wisenet Device Manager will discover cameras that are on a different subnet than the PC, as it uses a UDP broadcast by default.  It will display a Not Connected message as it can not communicate with it by TCP to authenticate, etc.  If your PC has multiple NICs and/or IP addresses, you can manual specify which one the tool should use, in cases where Windows doesn't choose correctly.  Simply click the advanced button, then under network status, right-click on an IP address/adapter and select enable.  The * will move to indicate which one is active.

By default, the tool will search a network for 60 seconds, in case you have large subnets, etc.  However you can (and I recommend in all training classes, technician training, etc.) change the default to 5 seconds in the System menu > Device Search Time Setting.  When you set it to 5 seconds, discovers the cameras just fine, but you don't need to sit there waiting for the dialog box.  You can also always click the X to close the search dialog box while it is timing out...

One additional item that is important to mention, is that there is a manual add option, where you can specify a single IP address, subnet, build a list, or import a CSV file.  The manual add will do a TCP connection to each device, which is crucial in cases where you have VLANs or L3 switches and a UDP broadcast won't pass.  No longer do you need to plug in to the local switch to be able to discover the cameras and set and IP, etc.

Regarding the firmware download capability, while firmware is not automatically selected, there is a column you can sort by to show cameras that are on your network.  Then simply check the box for files you wish to download.

The firmware Unknown status is due to the fact that we recently changed our firmware naming scheme to have a more uniform numbering across models/lines.  The tool hasn't been updated to recognize this yet.  If a camera is updated to the latest, it will then properly show latest, etc.  It is only an issue when bridging between the cut over.

Changing the HTTP and other ports is actually done in the IP Assign button at the top. The IP & Port menu on the right is actually mislabeled. It is actually a new menu to change a camera’s host name.

For camera replacement function, you can use the config backup/restore to download and then upload a camera’s configuration.

If you need any additional information or guidance on how we do allow you to change HTTP ports, discover cameras across different subnets, speed up the search, etc., please feel free to reach out to me.

Thanks.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative: 7
Unhelpful
Funny

Thanks for the feedback, I will review those details and update the report if necessary.

By default, the tool will search a network for 60 seconds, in case you have large subnets, etc. However you can (and I recommend in all training classes, technician training, etc.) change the default to 5 seconds in the System menu > Device Search Time Setting

So it will continue to search after the 5 seconds is up, even in the case that it doesn't discover everything? Or does shortening it run the risk of not discovering all cameras?

The firmware Unknown status is due to the fact that we recently changed our firmware naming scheme to have a more uniform numbering across models/lines. The tool hasn't been updated to recognize this yet.

Do you have a timeline when this update will be available?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

In the default, the tool dialog box progresses for 60 seconds, however after the first few seconds, it will have finished discovering the cameras.  

When you change it to 5 seconds, it will in 99% of cases still discover all of the cameras.

The only use case for longer than 5 seconds is for very large networks, but I personally have never needed to use anything longer than 5 seconds.

I do not have a timetable for an update to the tool to fix the firmware unknown status.  I'll post when I hear anything.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

Good shootout. I'm a 100% biased axis fanboy and I'm surprised some of the others seem halfway decent 

Are all of these tools client/server based or have the option like the axis tool? 

previously i had engineers remoting into a specific pc to manage cameras now i have them install client software on the pcs and tell them server address - saves much headache and no more need to remote into pc/server. 

Any commentary of how they handle security of the management tool itself?  My favorite brand lets me control access to the tool via AD which I like and I think is a must in an enterprise network. 

 

 

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Axis is the only tool that was client/server based. With large systems and many engineers/technicians supporting cameras, there could be an advantage to having a single database everyone is working off of.

Axis and Bosch managers can be set up with passwords, with Hanwha you can password protect specific project configuration files, but not the application.

We asked Axis about the choice to develop a client/server based system and they said it was by a large customer requirement, but they believe the significant majority of integrators and end users deploy it on a single PC (client/server on the same machine).

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

Sean - this is excellent work!

Agree: 1
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Has anyone used any third party software like Viakoo to manage cameras at an enterprise level?  I am talking about 300K+ end point devices from multiple manufacturers so imagine the team of folks a less automated process will take.   Of all the things Sean has called out firmware updating is the biggest challange, IMO the VMS platform is the brains of the system and should manage the cameras from a single UI.  Major VMS platforms should be able to take advantage of the camera SDK's that allow management but for some reason they just dont see the need to step up.  I am only talknig top tier cameras platforms like Axis, Bosch, and Hanwha that have solid SDK's.

Axis sets the bar high, one version of VaPix firware for all devices (in most cases) and that certainly makes it easier to manage, I play in a heavily regualted space so assureance and complaince is the name of the game.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

Hi UEU#4,  at Viakoo, we have many customers using our firmware update manager and you may want to reach out to our sales team for a trial or referrals.

What people like about it, beyond being a powerful capability, is the global view of compliance for all your devices regardless of manufacturer. Within each manufacturer, you can then view compliance broken down by model and launch upgrades based on devices that are out of compliance with your spec. Viakoo's biggest advantages are heterogeneity and scale, particularly across complex wide area networks. We currently have support for cameras but are working toward any IoT device you might have in your infrastructure. 

It is also structured to empower integrators who have multiple customers to deliver this as an extension of their service. 

If you have all your devices from a single manufacturer in a fairly manageable network, you may not need it. However, if your population is at the scale you describe you may want to do an eval.  

 

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

Great write up, I found it very informative and always wondered what it would be like to compare the configuration tools from the leading manufacturers!

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I've been asked to supply more information that is a bit more technical. Since I've spent the last seven years building it, I may go a bit deep in the weeds and maybe not specific enough for others so forgive.

Distributed Agents

A core part of our architecture is the distributed network of on-premises agents that run on each of your recording servers or access control servers. It auto discovers the configuration and can be extended to include additional devices (anything with IP access). 

Historically, these agents have been focused on our service assurance mission. These agents can collect data from everything reachable from this vantage point. This includes configuration, environmental and performance data from servers, storage systems, switches and devices themselves. We've made significant investments in resiliency, security and flexibility.

Now these agents have been extended to provide in-network capabilities to do firmware upgrades which gives them better scale out and latency to devices than facilities that are relying on centralized tools to do these tasks. Though we sell the Firmware Upgrade capability separately, all our initial customers have been existing service assurance customers adding this capability to their subscriptions.

Cloud or On-Premises

The agents establish a secure connection to the Viakoo datacenter (or on-premises Viakoo Cloud) to provide a centralized service for alerting, managing, supporting analytics, reports and diagnostics. Camera Firmware Update Manager provides a view of compliance, ability to add firmware profiles, launch or schedule upgrade jobs and audit the results.

The solution can be hosted in your own private cloud but 99% of our customers are using our hosted service. The On-Premises solution replicates our public cloud service and as such requires enterprise grade infrastructure in your data center.

Drivers

We do drivers for devices as well as VMS applications. The camera drivers pull current model and firmware information as well as initiate upgrades and monitor the post upgrade status. Though not always needed, we also have VMS drivers that disable recording from a device before upgrades and then re-enable recording after upgrade. The VMS driver is not absolutely needed, it is just safer for those platforms with a driver. The list of supported manufacturers is constantly being expanded.

Firmware Profiles

Currently, users (or integrator partners) use the service to define compliance to model/firmware versions manually. Users also load a firmware file for a particular make and model. This file and the make/model association is made immutable in the form of a firmware profile. It has to successfully upgrade a device of that make and model at least once before it is allowed to be used in bulk upgrade jobs. It can be used to define new standards for firmware compliance. Moreover, this profile maintains statistics around its success rate in upgrading devices of that make and model. Finally, this profile can be used to define compliance standards for your organization. 

Roadmap

The roadmap is focused on adding more security features, automation, integrating compliance information from VMS manufacturers and adding more and more drivers. 

Scale Proof Points

Our largest customers to date have tens of thousands of devices but the architecture can scale to millions of devices. That said, since we GA'ed this new feature last fall, customers who are using Camera Firmware Upgrade Manager today are currently in the 1000's-10,000's of device range but large integrators are using it to manage collections of large customers approaching the total device count asked about by UEU#4.

The solution is only delivered through channel partners. 

If people have specific questions, let me know.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Great info. Does your solution also work for Linux boxes or is it server based?  

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

The Linux agent is in beta trials. Expect it next quarter.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

 

(Bosch Employee)

Great comparison!  As a side note, with the Bosch Configuration Manager, it is possible to change the attributes and update the FW on many cameras at once.  I️ don’t know if this is documented, but if you select a camera on the left, hold the shift key, and then go down the list and left click on another you will multi select the cameras.  You will be able to update the firmware on many cameras at once (limited by the number of connections the PC can manage but typically ~20).  If all the cameras have the same attribute, say time server, you can update the entire system at once.  If the field is type specific you can sort by clicking type and multi selecting, updating that field on all cameras of that type in the system and so on.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

Thanks for the feedback and additional information. Multi-camera setting updates were noted, specifically demonstrated with 3rd party camera support.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

Greetings from NYC.

You stated in your article in regards to the Axis device manager in specific the following:

One limitation of Axis and Hikvision's tools is failing finding uninitialized cameras with default factory IP addresses if outside of the subnet range of the configuration PC. However, using more basic tools Axis IP Utility and Hikvision SADP, those cameras are discovered:!!

are you talking about Non Axis IP cameras ??? or you are saying all cameras in general including Axis cameras ??? 

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I am talking about Axis cameras if they are at their default 192.168.0.90/24 address, and the PC running Device Manager is not on that subnet, it will not discover those cameras. However, Axis IP Utility will discover those cameras, but you can not configure or communicate them, only discover.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
Read this IPVM report for free.

This article is part of IPVM's 7,334 reports and 972 tests and is only available to subscribers. To get a one-time preview of our work, enter your work email to access the full article.

Already a subscriber? Login here | Join now
Loading Related Reports