Great test, I have installed it as well, and marked the required field in management client. But when choosing a bosch camera in the search tab, only motion and bookmark is available. Im pretty sure that I installed all material in the bosch software pack, but it was a confusing process, 4 installation files packed as zip. But no readme file telling me if something needs to be installed before another. And no information about the files, system requirements or license. Is it the regular Bosch support team to contact or is it a special mips team?
In my opinion, this shows the weakness of "open platforms" (quotes because it's not really open, but that's another story).
You have this buggy plugin, with a UI that kinda, sorta, looks like the rest of the app, but not quite. There's typos (objekt), and features that flat out don't work, and some that do not work as expected "because of the VMS". So the integration is perhaps not as tight as it alludes to. An uneducated end-user might conclude that "this Milestone stuff is a mess, with bad QA" simply because they consider the plugin an integral part of the platform (which is the intended purpose of a tight integration).
A wise man once told me that customers want one neck to wring, and between Milestone, Bosch, the dealer and the users themselves there are quite a few necks to chose from. You might step up, and offer your own neck, but quite often you'll be impotent in offering a bug-fix since the guy who actually can fix the issue has another guys hands around his/her neck already (clearly a paradise for asphyxiation enthusiasts).
On top of that, the detection is extremely complicated with a lot of hand-holding. The "debounce" parameter shouldn't be necessary for example, so when you do the cost (which includes time to install. learn, maintain and use the system) to the benefit (finding something) I'm not sure this solution comes out on top.
I'm wondering if XProtect is like Windows or more like an XBox?
I can write a terrible, useless and buggy app for Windows, package it, and sell it from my website. At no point will Microsoft review my product, so while Windows is closed source, the platform is "open".
If I want to make a game for the XBox, I have to go through a review process before I even get access to the official toolset. Once my game is done, Microsoft will spend a lot of time reviewing the content as well as the functional quality of the product before allowing me to release it.
You could argue that XProtect is more like iOS; it's cheap and easy to make apps, but there's a gate to pass through (AFAIK there's zero test of functionality or aesthetics), but Apple can shut you down if they want and keep you off the platform if you're too shitty.
The XBox vetting process is needed because the user sees the games as "integral part of the platform". When you buy the console, you assume that all the games will work, and if they don't (for whatever reason), it taints the platform itself. Even if the game works and doesn't crash, Microsoft may even argue that the graphics are too amateurish and not worthy of running on XBox hardware.
Contrast Windows and iOS, where the apps are not generally seen as "integral" to the platform. In other words, when Bonzibuddy.exe crashes, most people blame Bonzi, and not Bill Gates. Neither platform wants nor desires 3rd parties to pretend to be "integral" to the OS. Granted, shell extensions are still possible, but most of the time you launch an app.
So in this case, the plugin seems to be designed appear to be an "integral" part of XProtect, which would then warrant the more strict vetting process - more aligned with a closed platform.
I speculate that Milestone wants lots of plugins (open), but that customers actually prefer tightly integrated systems (which would require to high friction, associated with closed systems).
The way I see it, Milestone is currently acting like Microsoft back in 1995 with XProtect being more like Windows CE than iOS (the XProtect admin UI even nails the look and feel of CE circa 1995). Windows CE was a (large) side-gig, and Microsoft could afford to mess it up and throw it all away, don't know if Canon is going to sit idly by and see Milestone sending XProtect further down that path.
So far, the strategy has worked, but it's not clear if Milestone is succeeding because of the strategy, or in spite of it.
Morten, good thoughts on the tradeoffs and issues involved. I don't know enough about 1990s Microsoft or XBox to discuss that but I'll use a simpler analogy.
Milestone calls this their marketplace. Let's compare it to literally a farmer's market. The organization that runs the farmer's market does not directly pick the food so what happens when the food has problems? The market could just shrug shoulders and say "Well that's the vendor's problems" and it is not an unreasonable approach but if the market wants its marketplace to be successful, it's imperative that the market ensure the quality of the participants and offerings in the market, yes/no?
That Milestone both hosts the market, and is an ingredient in the products sold makes it a lot more critical to handle the communication.
Imagine Milestone being the meat used in all the products sold at the market: Some of the beef patties are delicious, others are taste terrible and some of the sausages makes you flatulent (or worse). Is Milestone to blame?
In an informed and transparent marketplace, the consumer might (correctly) be able to separate the market, meat and final product. But I don't think we have that sort of transparency and knowledge (among end-users). Surely, the dedicated customer can dive in, and discover what's good and bad, but most end-users are not going to do that. They'll see "Verified by Milestone" and not understand that it is almost meaningless. When they realize their mistake the customer is past the point of no return, and they'll just suffer, alone, in the dark, with the bad choice they made.
A suffering, locked in, customer is better than no customer.
To make it even better: Most customers are so embarrassed that they will never admit that they made a costly mistake. So you're not going to hear a peep of complaints out of them.
Granted - over time, they will learn to love the pain, and speak of the pleasure it brings - at least my wife says I will.
That said, the "marketplace" does looks pretty successful - even if you can't buy anything.
When they realize their mistake the customer is past the point of no return, and they'll just suffer, alone, in the dark, with the bad choice they made.
Wow, that's pessimistic!
My experience, in general, is that customers, over time, will take action against companies whose products make them suffer. See Arecont Vision, Pelco, OnSSI, etc.
Some certainly might tolerate it but enough will quit and speak negatively that it undermines the company's ability to grow.
Upleveling, my point is Milestone management should care more about not just the quantity of things in their marketplace but the quality. In the long term, if the Milestone marketplace becomes known for lots of things that don't work well, it's not in their interest.
Difference between what Milestone labels "verified" as opposed to "certified":
"A verified application, hardware or service means that Milestone has reviewed the verification documentation and that, on the date of this review and to the best of our knowledge, the application or service is compatible with Milestone XProtect® version applied in the testing environment."
"A certified application, hardware or service means that Milestone has tested and evaluated in functionality and/or performance for compatibility for Milestone XProtect® video management software (VMS) integration. The results are presented in a Certification Report, written jointly with our Technology partner."