Examining Milestone Corporate Version 4.0

By John Honovich, Published Oct 17, 2010, 08:00pm EDT

The next major release of Milestone's highest end VMS version, XProtect Corporate 4.0 [link no longer available] is scheduled for the end of November 2010. This update highlights key features and positioning of the new version.

Some of the most important additions disclosed so far include federating access to multiple VMS systems, integrating alarm management into the main VMS client (i.e., Smart Client), edge storage support, multi-stage storage management, extended user rights and centralized customizations.

From a competitive standpoint, the most interesting contrasts are likely Genetec's Omnicast Enterprise VMS version and Milestone's own Enterprise VMS version [link no longer available].

Historically, users choosing Milestone for larger deployments have debated whether to choose the Enterprise or Corporate version of Milestone. While Corporate is the newer version and positioned as the top tier, the features offered were relatively close. With this release, Corporate's advantages over Enterprise become much clearer and more significant.

Compared to Genetec, basically all of the new Corporate 4.0 features and functions already available in Genetec Omnicast Enterprise. As such, Corporate does not break new ground but it does significantly 'catch up' Milestone to Genetec at the high end. Nonetheless, Genetec's 2009 release of SecurityCenter maintains Genetec's lead over Milestone with its deeper integration of various security subsystems.

As for the specific features Milestone plans for release in Corporate 4.0:

  • The federated architecture "allow multiple independent Corporate Systems to be accessed with a single username and password" with specific access based on rights assigned. Federation will only work with the Corporate Version of the VMS. For Enterprise systems to be accessed, the Enterprise servers must be first added as slaves to a Corporate system. An additional license will be required for the federated architecture. Pricing is not available yet.
  • "Alarm Manager is integrated with the XProtect Corporate map application and will provide alarm list overview with priorities and instant camera preview and work instructions for the operator." This rectifies a very basic and glaring deficiency in previous Milestone versions that almost all high end VMS systems already support. Additionally, this will eliminate the need to use the add-on XProtect Central application.
  • Edge support will be for fault tolerance rather than permanent long term storage. For instance, if a camera's connection to the Corporate VMS archiver is lost, the camera can continue to record locally to the SD card and then later synch up with the VMS when connectivity is restored. Sony is the first planned implementation. Other IP cameras will need to be added individually as there is no standard for such functionality. This is useful niche feature for high end applications but certainly less valuable than full long term storage on board a camera (which basically is only supported today by proprietary VMS connections - IP camera and VMS from the same manufacturer).
  • A few features will help large scale organizations manage operations. For instance, enhanced user rights can restrict user's access during times of days the operator is scheduled to be on shift. Additionally customization settings for the Client side can now be managed centrally making it easier to optimize the layout and functions for all operators to a given 'standard'.
  • Multi-stage storage management will allow for frame rate reduction over time. This grooming or pruning of frames will reduce storage costs. This is a feature that a number of VMS systems provide (Avigilon, Pelco Endura, ipConfigure, March, etc to name a few). However, it's still a niche feature and provides some differentiated value.

When Corporate 4.0 is released, we plan to conduct a formal test to better understand its operation.

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