Favorite VMS Manufacturers 2014

By 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.

Exacq Beats Milestone

In 2011, Exacq was a somewhat surprising second place finisher to Milestone. Now, in 2014, Exacq finished notably ahead of Milestone. Exacq received 25% of the vote to Milestone 16%, flipping the percentages and standings of 2011. Moreover, Exacq only received 1 negative / worse vote while Milestone received 5.

Overwhelmingly, integrators cited Exacq's ease of use:

  • "Best platform I have worked with in over 10 years when it comes to simplicity and reliability"
  • "Easy to deploy and not much training required"
  • "Works out of the box. No configuration needed. Very reliable"
  • "Easy to install, easy to configure, easy for the customer to understand"

Other reasons cited were price/value, broad 3rd party integrations, server agnostic and support.

The main negative was for larger projects with a number of Exacq integrators saying they used other systems (like Genetec) for them. Indeed, Exacq received no votes in the 64+ camera segment of integrators even though they did well in all lower ones.

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Also, a few mentioned their concerns about the Tyco acquisition:

  • "They are backed by a powerful corporate entity that will insure their longevity and continued superior product development (dripping with sarcasm)!"
  • "Not sure since the buyout but was always very intuitive and good support."
  • "I dislike Tyco in this space. They will destroy that company. Remember AD? Robot? Others? Also I see the conflict of interest with Tyco IS and ADT under the umbrella."
  • "The company is constantly developing and improving the product (at least up until Tyco bought them - ask me again next year!)."

Overall, though, Exacq's growth as a favorite has reflected both their torrid sales growth and strong fit for the mid market. Tyco will need to work hard to screw Exacq up but surely they are up for the challenge....

Milestone Solid Second

Milestone still garnered sizeable support, though notably less than in 2011 (from 25% down to 16%).

The number of features offered was the clear rationale of most integrators choosing Milestone:

  • "It'll do pretty much anything you need it to do. There are integrations and add-ons for more situations than I will ever be able to use. And I'm actually a little bummed out about that if you can believe it."
  • "Good feature set, excellent for large sites"
  • "All functionalities, friendly interface, we had only good experience with them"
  • "Sophisticated products" and another who similarly said, "industry Leading, cutting edge"

However, Milestone lost ground among integrators who specialize in 32 cameras or less, an area they did very well in 2011. This likely reflects a number of appliance offerings, like Exacq, who strengthened in the meantime (though Milestone aims to improve its positioning here with their recent Husky NVR line).

Genetec Still Third

Genetec remained in third place with essentially the same ~12/13% it had in 2011. Additionally, Genetec's support was overwhelmingly in larger systems, again having no votes for integrators specializing in 16 cameras or less.

Breadth of features and integrations were standouts among integrators:

  • "Offers a lot of features and reporting tools. Also, it's a unified platform for Video and Access control"
  • "Genetec for larger applications due to flexibility and range of functions."
  • "No. 1 for us, it fulfills all our needs and although costly, works really nice."
  • "Fits the enterprise space that we sell to" and another who said, "Genetec - flexibility and scalability to enterprise platform."
  • "Integrations with other systems made easy and custom code development is supported at a reasonable fee."

No one mentioned Genetec's recent VSaaS offering, Stratocast, which the company continues to struggle to get adoption or even respect.

Avigilon Fouth

Avigilon remained fourth overall VMS, again the only manufacturer to have both their cameras and VMSes in the top 5 of integrator responses.

Ease of use and end-to-end offering were the two key themes from Avigilon dealers:

  • "Quality of video, ease of use and relatively low cost for end to end solution"
  • "The ease of deployment and the fact that they are a one-stop shop."
  • "Our techs love it, customers love it, and almost every demo turns into a sale. We went from shying away from IP video for years to doing almost all IP video once we started using this product."
  • "End to end quality products, inexpensive, super support, 99% meets with customer needs"

In our testing, Avigilon's ease of use is quite similar, or superior, to Exacq's. The major limitations for Avigilon in this vote is their restricted dealer model.

March and NUUO Surprise Next

Appliance / software combo providers March and NUUO jumped into the top tier after not registering in 2011. 

The main theme for both companies was their appliance / box offerings.

For March:

  • "My favorite NVR platform is from March Networks. Reasons for using it is because it is a hybrid box, rack mounted docking station for ease of serviceability, easy storage calculator, & wide variety of compatible IP cameras."
  • "March Command platform is starting to mature and the integration with their native (R5) platform and Command are coming along nicely"
  • "March's products have great reliability, their software packages are easy to configure and install with, and their cameras are some of our favorites"

This is especially noteworthy because March was acquired by minor Chinese manufacturer Infinova in 2011, leading to questions about March's future.

For NUUO:

  • "Needed Hybrid. Required international presence. Worked with me to develop needed POS gateway."
  • "NUUO Titan. Easy to use, expandable, embedded system, high throughput. Disadvantage is making sure the camera side motion detection works with the NUUO"
  • "The first NVR I used, and the cost is right where we need it to be as a small integrator."

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).

Where's OnSSI?

In 2011, OnSSI finished tied for a distant fifth. Now, OnSSI only received a single clear vote and 1 other partial mention.

This matches their general path over the last few years as limited new releases, increasing awareness of them OEMing Milestone's 'recording engine' and no credible appliance series has made them an afterthought in the VMS market.

The Field

There were another 15 or so manufacturers receiving at least one mention. Of those, DVTel received 2 full votes and Network Optix received 3 partial mentions (including 1 full vote), which is notable since their VMS did not exist during our 2011 voting.

Tech Tests on VMSes

For those wanting tests on VMS, see some recent ones including:

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