Criteria for Evaluating VMS Systems

Author: John Honovich, Published on May 24, 2011

For our VMS Competitive Comparison, we identified 9 key differentiators to contrast the abilities of Video Management Systems. In this update, we explain how we ranked each differentiator.

Inside the competitive comparison itself, we provide a 23 minute webcast that explains each one. This update provides a written summary of the criteria.

Levels

We assigned 6 levels for each differentiator:

  • None: System does not support
  • Weak: System supports but is of very limited use
  • Moderately Weak: System supports but has major constraints
  • Moderate: Basic functionality or support but not outstanding compared to competitors
  • Moderately Strong: High degree of functionality but lacking compared to a few competitors
  • Strong: On the highest level of functionality compared to competitors

Metrics for Each Differentiator

We used the following metrics to judge each differentiator:

Pricing

The strongest rating was provided to those systems with the lowest up-front license costs (including base, per channel and add-on license charges). Secondary consideration was given to maintenance charges. No consideration was provided to value or features per price. While this is important, rating value is relative to the features and functionalities one needs. We recommend users compare price to features needed to determine the value for one's own application.

Simplicity

The strongest rating was provided to systems that (a) made commonly used functionalities easy to access (like selecting cameras to view video, adding a camera, exporting a video, etc.), (b) had one or minimal number of client applications and (c) that had 'intelligent' defaults or wizards that simplified setup or technical knowledge required to start running a system.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

3rd Party IP Camera Support

The strongest rating was provided to systems that supported the most total number of 3rd party manufacturers. Supporting of 'standards' was not a factor as industry support is too limited (We will likely change the weight on standards later in 2010 as support increases). Supporting of larger camera manufacturers was not a practical matter as all VMS systems that supported many 3rd party cameras supported the largest manufacturers (e.g., Axis).

3rd Party System Support

The strongest rating was provided to systems that supported the most number of access control, PSIM systems, PoS systems and video keyboards/matrixes. Additional weight was added for VMS systems that supported large providers (e.g., supporting Lenel is more valuable than almost all other access control systems).

Alarm/Event Management

Rating was based on systems that had integrated alarm management inside of their VMS client software. Additional strength was provided to systems that allowed prioritizing alerts, forward alerts, acknowledging alerts and reviewing response procedures for alerts.

Analytics

Strongest rating was provided to systems that supported the broadest number of 3rd party video analytic systems. Weight was detracted from systems that we believed supported more 'motion detection+' rather than 'intelligent video'.

Enterprise Management

Strongest rating was provided to systems that provided centralized account management, configuration and live monitoring across multiple servers. Specifically, strong systems eliminate the need to update passwords manually for multiple servers and allow batch updates to configurations of multiple cameras.

Redundancy

The strongest rating was provided to systems that supported redundancy for their (A) management/enterprise server and (B) recording of specific video channels. No weight was provided to supporting RAID/redundant storage as all VMS systems can support that through COTS hardware.

Video Distribution

The strongest rating was provided for systems that allowed video to be shared or pushed from one client workstation to another over a network. We did not provide any weight to supporting multiple monitors from a single PC (this is very common for systems).

Accuracy of Levels

We believe that most 'ratings' are accurate within 2 levels. For example, we may rate something 'weak' but another informed user might the performance 'moderately weak'.
 
While we have tested these features, we can certainly be slightly off on some details (though we are confident that we are not significantly off - e.g., rating something a strong when really it should be moderately weak, etc.). Secondly, exact ratings from one level to the next is subject to some level of interpretation (e.g., is a system really 'moderately strong' or 'strong').

Discussion

Please use the comments to ask questions or provide suggestions on the criteria selected. 

Please do not comment on specific manufacturer's performance on this thread. I will transfer such comments to the comparison thread as that is the appropriate forum for such discussion.

The Comparison

Read the VMS Competitive Comparison now.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on VMS

Genetec Mission Control Tested on Jul 13, 2017
Genetec continues to move up market with their Mission Control, "Decision Support System", bringing PSIM-like procedures and incident management to...
OnSSI Gets $16 Million Funding on Jul 11, 2017
OnSSI has had a rollercoaster past few years. Between acquiring VMS company Seetec, breaking up with former OEM partner Milestone and a rocky...
ONVIF Widely Used Toolkit gSOAP Vulnerability Discovered on Jul 10, 2017
A vulnerability has been discovered in a toolkit that video surveillance manufacturers widely use for implementing ONVIF. In this report, we...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial 2017 on Jun 30, 2017
For years, video surveillance professionals have talked about the potential for H.265. Now, in 2017, H.265 is starting to gain mainstream...
Hikvision H.265+ Tested on Jun 27, 2017
Hikvision, which in the past few years released H.264+ (see test results) has now released H.265+, that claims even greater bandwidth savings. We...
Milestone / Canon Launch Cloud Startup Arcus Global on Jun 27, 2017
Milestone has spun off a business, Arcus Global, funded by their parent company Canon. The new company aims to transform the VSaaS market with an...
VMS UI - Light vs Dark Preferences on Jun 16, 2017
Several VMS manufacturers have the ability to choose a user interface with either a light or dark color theme. 150+ integrators told us which they...
Axis 20MP Q1659 Camera Tested on Jun 13, 2017
Axis has joined the super high resolution camera trend with their Q1659, a 20MP model equipped with Canon's APS-C sensor. We tested the Q1659...
Milestone New "+" Claims To "Conquer The Mid-Market" on Jun 07, 2017
Milestone has declared they are going to "Conquer The Mid-Market" with new "+" releases. Will they? In this report, we examine Milestone's "+"...
Manufacturer Revenue Directory on Jun 05, 2017
This report contains data on the revenue of 32 security manufacturers, trend analysis of whether they are gaining or losing ground and commentary...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Security Robots Are Just Entertainment on Jul 21, 2017
Great entertainment, no real security value.  That is the happy (or sad) state of security robots in 2017. Knightscope robot's drowning, the...
Wireless Burglar Alarm Sensors Guide on Jul 21, 2017
Wireless sensors for burglar alarm sensors are an increasingly common option for the historical labor intensive wired alarm systems. However,...
Competing Against ADT on Jul 20, 2017
ADT is one of the biggest players in the security industry, with ~$4 billion revenue. In 2017, they were acquired / merged with Protection...
Hikvision Launching Deep Learning Recorders on Jul 20, 2017
Hikvision has become a common choice for super low cost NVRs. Now, Hikvision is aiming to move up market, with deep learning NVRs that claim far...
PR Campaign Exploiting Manufacturer Cybersecurity on Jul 20, 2017
Manufacturers increasingly have a bulls-eye on their back. As cyber security solutions providers grow, they realize a great way to get publicity...
Axis Door Station Tested (A8105-E) on Jul 19, 2017
Axis continues their push into niche markets, especially audio, with network speakers, an IP horn, and video door stations. We bought and tested...
Manufacturer Favorability Guide on Jul 19, 2017
This 120 page PDF guide may be downloaded inside by all IPVM members. It covers our 20 manufacturer favorability rankings and 20 manufacturer...
$8 Billion Utility Georgia Power Enters Surveillance Business Offering Avigilon And Genetec on Jul 19, 2017
Utilities are typically considered major customers of surveillance integrators but one utility, Georgia Power, with $8+ billion in annual revenue...
Knightscope Laughs off Robot Drowning on Jul 18, 2017
A day after a Knightscope robot drowned, Knightscope has issued an 'official statement' making fun of the issue: The implied message is that...
Microsoft Video AI Cloud Services Examined on Jul 18, 2017
Microsoft has released one of the most amazing video analytics marketing videos ever. In it, they detect oil spills, track individual people giving...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact