Cisco to Discontinue 1 of 2 VMSes (Stream Manager)

By John Honovich, Published Mar 16, 2011, 08:00pm EDT

In this note, we examine Cisco's announcement that it will discontinue sales of one of its two VMS software solutions - Stream Manager. We look at how this impacts Cisco's offerings and its market competitveness. We also consider what this move means for the eventual demise even inside the traditionally IP averse casino and gaming industry.

Stream Manager is Cisco's analog-centric video management solution that supports CCTV equipment such as matrix switches, CCTV keyboards, and PTZs from major manufacturers, designed for traditional security operators common in casino/gaming environments. The Stream Manager core solution consists of Cisco encoders to stream video to a distributed network of clients/recorders, appliances for network recording and a set of client applications and licenses. These pricey elements can amount to $1000s of dollars per channel (our analysis estimates $2,700 per channel).

By contrast, Cisco has and will continue to provide its Video Surveillance Manager (VSM) solution. Cisco's VSM is an IP-centric solution that exhibits fairly competitive pricing against other Enterprise class VMSes (e.g. Milestone and Genetec), but lack some key features. For details on both offerings and how they compare, read our Cisco VMS Review report.

In a recent Cisco positioning document on its casino strategy, the company cited regulatory and economic factors influencing casino and gaming operators to adopt IP based video surveillance solutions.

Here is a key excerpt from Cisco’s Position on IP Video Surveillance in the Casino & Gaming Industry [link no longer available]:

"Some jurisdictions have started enacting regulations to force operators to move away from analog cameras and into the digital age. Other operators are moving to HD cameras for use on the gaming floor over table games to better identify cards and chips in play on the floor. Digital zoom on HD or multi megapixel  cameras in some cases could provide a more cost effective and flexible alternative to PTZ cameras. These trends make it very difficult to continue to invest R&D in analog surveillance."

While it is not clear to us that the casino market is that committed or ready to move away from analog surveillance, maintaining two VMS platforms is likely difficult even for Cisco.

Overall, we believe the move will prove beneficial to both manufacturer and customer alike, allowing Cisco to focus and improve upon their IP-centric Video Surveillance Manager (VSM) solution. In the highly competitive and fast evolving VMS market, most competitors only offer a single VMS platform/codebase (an interesting and important exception is Milestone). Cisco has been providing two for several years. This almost certainly contributes to their IP-based solution lagging behind major VMS players. Cisco will have to shore up some key deficiencies in its VMS offering if it looks to be competitive among the top VMS products in the market. However, how much and how willing they are to invest in developing their own VSM software remains to be soon.

Cisco's End-of-Sale (EOS) [link no longer available] for Stream Manager is scheduled for July 15, 2011. To accomodate existing Stream Manager users Cisco is considering a single User Interface client that would support both Stream Manager and VSM, allowing existing Stream Manager users to deploy Cisco's other VSM.

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