Favorite VMS Manufacturers 2014

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 17, 2014

With the favorite and worst IP camera manufacturers identified, we now turn to the VMS manufacturers.

120 integrators from 20 countries answered the following open ended question:

23 manufacturers received votes with 6 standing out.

Since the 2011 edition, a new manufacturer has taken the top spot.

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Comments (30)

HI John

Is there any feedback on where Axxonsoft came from a rating and response

Kelly

Kelly, Just 1 vote for Axxonsoft. I think this reflects that Axxon has a weak presence in the English speaking world, ergo not many integrators responding have even tried them.

Hi Kelly,

My team does translations for Axxon. I hope this poor rating has nothing to do with translations of their documentation and website, does it?

If you have any feedback, kindly get back to me.

Axxon has hardly any presence in North America, ergo, even if they were the 'best', they are not going to do well in such a survey of integrators.

Same thing goes for VMS providers like Seetec....

I tried Axxonsoft and wanted to like it but it was very difficult to setup and start recording. I know several colleages that tried it experienced the same thing and gave up. I can tell you that documentation is not a problem because nobody ever reads the manual. The software should be written in a way so that it's intuitive to setup and use. This is a problem that Milestone XProtect had and they worked it out in their latest version and hopefully will continue down that path. Would like to see Axxonsoft do the same.

What baffles me here is that Milestone didn't do better than Exacq, not because one is better than the other as I find in many cases it's a matter of personal preference as prices are comperable, it's that Milestone did a big push for the low end not that long ago with GO (free) and Essential (equivalent to Exacq Start in price). It's no surprise that Avigilon didn't do as well as it's not available from the distibution channels.

How did the companies do in sales realative to this survey?

2012 revenue for the two companies was essentially tied, with Exacq reporting $54.6 million USD and Milestone declaring $55.6 million USD. Of course, Exacq sells a high proportion of appliances, skewing their number and Milestone has OnSSI, a sizeable OEM, skewing their numbers.

In terms of growth rate, Exacq has been growing at a far higher growth rate over the last few years.

Since most integrators do average size '10 - 50' camera jobs, features are less of an issue than ease of use, which Exacq clearly wins at. While Milestone's usability has improved a lot, Exacq is super light weight, simple and quick to install, setup and use. Integrator input clearly reflects that.

Along with Exacq, the rise of March and NUUO show the importance of appliance offerings to integrators (of course, as does Milestone breaking their long standing open platform approach to get into the appliance business).

I am curious as to why you feel that appliance offerings are important? I find appliances as an unnecessary propreitary component in what would otherwise be a failry open and serviceable platform. Both Milestone and Exacq function wonderfully on a COTS server, why would I want to put an end user in a box when they can use what they know (Dell, IBM, HP, Cisco UCS)? I am not being smart here, what am I missing? I try to keep my clients off the propreitary train from a hardware perspective.

Maybe you should be curious why Milestone, the 'open platform' company, who for years touted the benefits of software only, would release a series of appliances? ;)

There is definitely a sizeable segment of the market that wants nothing to do with appliances, so you are certainly not alone. This is especially strong sentiment among larger corporations and IT groups.

On the other hand, there are a lot of end users (and integrators) who want to keep things as simple as possible and don't want to worry about setting up or managing third party hardware. At the extreme, you see this in the home / SMB market where kits of cameras and DVRs (or NVRs) dominate. Similar, though not as extreme preferences exist in the mid market of surveillance users.

My position is not that one or the other is 'right' or 'better' but that, as IP expands down market, the desire for turnkey offerings, like appliances, have greater appeal.

Ok, I wondered if there was more to it than that and I thought I was missing something. I certainly understand the "simplicity" component.

Also, do you have enough data to breakdown the results by Dealer Based and Distributer Based products?

Thanks for another good survey, i find the results from all of these very interesting.

Hi John,

Thank you for your insightful report. Do you know if Exacq is just as popular for residential installations or whether a different company is more popular in this market segment, eg SmartVue or perhaps a DIY setup such as BenSoftware SecuritySpy? Thank you.

Luke, I am pretty sure the residential market is completely different, and none of these companies would make even the top 10 of that list.

#1 would be whatever was on sale at Costco last year (kidding, but not entirely ;).

The companies listed in this report have price points and requirements that are just too much and too costly for most residential users.

Dropcam is certainly one favorite for the residential market, because of its ultra ease of use. Then there are a lot of kit suppliers - Lorex (now FLIR) is very common, Dahua / Q-See is strong for higher end residences. Those are just a few off the top of my head.

Thanks John, I mainly see poor-quality analog systems pushed in the residential market because of the higher cost of IP video surveillance. I'm looking forward to the technology cost coming down so that IP video comes within range of more home users. Thanks for specifically mentioning a few systems that may be of interest for residences. That's very helpful information for me.

Dear John;

Can you share respondent geographic & vertical spread?

Regards

2/3rd were from North America, most of the remainder were from EMEA with a handful in Asia / Pacific or South America. Obviously, all of them speak English.

We did not check on vertical, primarily because most integrators server many verticals.

We did ask about how many cameras they deployed on average per site. Here's the results:

That's very fairly typical of what we see with professional integrators with 17 to 32 cameras being the most common.

It would be interesting to break this out by size of deployment- favorite VMS for a 15 camera deployment will probably differ from 500 camera deployment. Exacq wins this race because it is easy and cost effective. Genetec crushes Exacq in functions as you move above 100 cameras-- what's interesting is where Milestone ultimately ends up?

For 16 cameras or less - Exacq was the top voter getter with no clear second place finisher

For 17 to 32 cameras - Exacq still but notably more votes for Milestone and Avigilon

For 33 to 64 cameras - Milestone and Genetec stood out

For 65+ cameras - Genetec and then Milestone stood out, no votes for Exacq

One manufacturer who did poorly noted in a response to me that his VMS was better than Exacq for large systems. I actually think that is a fair assessment.

The challenge, though, is that this report shows segmentation in the market. Being better than Exacq at large projects is not enough to be an integrator favorite. One has to be better than Exacq and Milestone (Corporate) which is a far harder challenge.

On the flip side, it may not even be in a company like Genetec's best interest to care what the 'average' integrator favorite is as they could be better off just focusing on being the strongest at the high end.

In other words, it is much more critical to find one's clear area of differentiation than to worry about 'popularity' polls or sales ranking. It's worth being aware of them, but good purchasing (for users) and good strategy (for manufacturers) is much more about developing an unmatched competitive advantage.

Hi John,

Quite interesting info.

Is there any mention of QNAP, Digifort and Mirasys?

No, no and no.

QNAP is broadly available in North America but is not very good nor very inexpensive, so it's stuck in the middle.

Digifort and Mirasys have very limited North American availability.

As John has mentioned, the votes and rating seems to be on the basis of the size of deployment where a specific VMS has been used by the integrators. Since Exacq wasnt probably used by anyone in the over 64+ cameras segment it didnt get many votes. But does that really mean that the VMS will have performance issues, especially when it comes to stablity and reliability and it is not at all recommended for larger deployments? It would be good to have a comparison of the features and functions of the top VMSs such as Genetec, Milestone, Exacq, etc. and then tabulate the feedback from the integrators against each of them. I would also assume that the responses would vary based on the geography - Has this survey considered the opinion of integrators based in US, Europe, Asia, Middle East & Africa?

For larger scale systems, I don't think the issue is stability or reliability as much as it is 'enterprise features' - like server redundancy, network video walls, integration with matrix switches, total number of advanced features, etc. Those are the things that tend to differentiate them.

We don't have a VMS feature comparison but it is a good idea for a future report.

The survey, like the site, is skewed to English speaking readers / countries.

Is it possible to get the full list of VMS manufacturers that were voted?

For companies who only got one vote or half a mention (e.g., "Our favorites are x and y"), I do not see the value in releasing their names as it really does not say anything substantial about them.

Hi John,

As an integrator, it seems I run into Avigilon alot in our market. I am a newer member to IPVM, and this is really the first time I've asked questions pertaining to a topic. Maybe I can look at older archived articles to find these answers, but figured it may be easier to let you do your job, so I'll just ask away.

Do you see in other markets where Avigilon's strategy is to focus on their competitors pricing rather than their own products and offerings? I would say at least 5 major customers looking to do major projects in the last 6 months have stated that Avigilon representative told them that Genetec was a much more expensive solution, with Avigilon having the same if not more functionality for a "one-time" cost?

Avigilon also focuses on Genetec's service maintenance (SMA), telling potentials that there is never an SMA with Avigilon. I've had potentials go as far as to tell me they would get free upgrades as new service releases came out. Have you heard this in other markets?

Finally,

Is it a fact or myth that Avigilon's VMS works better with it's own hardware despite notating on their website that they integrate with all camera manufacturers.

As an account executive, I proud myself in trying to sell products that have a solid background and no hidden fees per say. If they do, or if i think they may in the future, I inform the customer up front. I've never really been one to bash other VMS manufacturers to "close the deal". Just want some input if possible, and thanks so much for all you and your teams hard work on the site. It really helps this "security greeny" be "in the know" in the industry.

Thanks again.

Billy

Billy,

Excellent question.

Short answer: Genetec has more functionality, better 3rd party support but higher long term costs.

I started a new post / discussion on this to get into details: Avigilon Vs Genetec

John

May I request the position of DvTel VMS. We are deploying DvTel Cameras extensively and will have their VMS called Lattitude.

Regards

Capt Ravinder Reddy

Capt,

They have only 2 mentions in the VMS survey.

Their IP cameras are historically mediocre. Their VMS is historically high end.

At this point, since you have already bought DVTel, the main question is whether you are happy with how it is meeting your needs.

Hi John, I see you have no info for N.I.C.E. or is there any info on them?

Thank you...

NICE did not get any votes.

They do have a high end product but it's expensive and it's in pretty restricted availability so that's why it's not a common pick among integrators.

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