Genetec Criticizes Milestone

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Feb 26, 2012

Genetec and Milestone are fierce rivals in the VMS market, continuously competing for similar large scale surveillance projects. In that space, advanced technical features are key differentiators. To this end, Genetec recently published a list of functionalities that it believes VMS systems should have. Interestingly, quite a number of these are obvious criticisms of Milestone specific implementation issues.

In this note, we review the 5 main points, providing an assessment of how significant each one is for practical use.

Here are the 5 core criticisms Genetec implicitly makes of Milestone's VMS:

  • Must license by MAC address of camera/encoder
  • Requires restarting server services to make configuration changes
  • No ability to upgrade camera firmware from VMS client
  • No ability to configure the key frame rate of each camera
  • No support for multicasting from camera

Licensing Differences

Claim 1: Video Management Software(VMS) must be licensable per total number of camera connections, not by MAC

Milestone requires users to submit MAC addresses for each camera to be licensed on a system, activating the licenses only for these MAC addresses. Comparatively, Genetec licenses Omnicast and Security Center by total number of camera connections, regardless of MAC address. Cameras may be removed and replaced without any change in licensing. 

When a camera goes down and must be replaced, the Milestone method of licensing will slow service. The technician must remove the old camera, install a new on in its place, and then wait to receive an updated license before it can be activated. If the replacement camera is a "loaner" unit, this must be done twice. Genetec users do not have this issue.

Counterpoint: Unless the installation has a large number of cameras, the time penalty for licensing by MAC address is not significantly more than licensing by connection. While connection licensing may simplify maintenance for larger deployments, this will not be a major factor for most surveillance systems.

Configuration Changes without Services Restart

Claim 2: Any configuration changes do not require the server services to be restarted

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

Milestone requires that services be restarted after making configuration changes, while Genetec does not. This means that after many settings are altered, recording will stop momentarily, while the services restart. For some users, especially in critical infrastructure and municipal markets, this interruption will simply be unacceptable. For other customers, it may not be as serious. However, restarting services introduces the possibility that one or more may not properly restart, which may lead to increased troubleshooting.

Counterpoint: Previous Milestone versions required an admin to remember to restart services which was a problem. However, now, when exiting the management application, all Milestone versions explicitly prompt admins to restart any time configuration changes have been made. This makes it unlikely that an admin will forget or make an error. For most users, a brief restart is not a practical problem.

Ability to update firmware of IP camera or encoder

Genetec Omnicast and Security Center offer the capability to update a unit's firmware directly from their config tools, while Milestone users must go directly to the camera's web interface or use manufacturer-specific configuration tools. While this is not necessarily a large timesink, it simplifies firmware updates, since users only need to work in the Genetec interface, instead of looking up and entering each camera's address. For users with multiple camera manufacturers, this may have more impact, as it eliminates the need to learn multiple manufacturer's web interfaces.

Counterpoint: Mass firmware updates can often be accomplished by using camera manufacturer's free management applications (e.g., Axis Camera Management).

To minimise network traffic, the VMS must have ability to configure the key frame interval (I-frame) per second

Milestone does not allow users to adjust key frame interval, while Genetec does. This was discussed in an earlier Genetec Blog entry, also ostensibly a knock against Milestone. In this article, they claim that Omnicast and Security Center's ability to configure I-frames reduces bandwidth and storage needs 2-3x versus "Product X", which uses a set key frame interval of one second.

Counterpoint: Our testing shows changing I-frame rates may not really save much storage. For instance, longer I-frame intervals are often offset in an increased P-Frames size. Specifying longer I-frame intervals may negatively impact video quality and increase indexing (search/retrieving) difficulties. The I-frame interval is best left at defaults unless the user has tested and validated the use of specific I frame internals with the selected camera in the camera's actual location.

Video Management Software(VMS) must have the ability to manage multicast directly from the camera

Lastly, one of Genetec's key marketing claims is their multicast support. Multicast is supported in Omnicast and Security Center directly from the camera, or from the server, while Milestone only supports multicast from the server, and only in their XProtect Corporate version. When multicast is supported only from the server, each resolution that must be streamed to clients may increase server load.

In many cases, this is a non-issue, as it is rare that numerous viewers require multiple resolutions. However, in some large applications, this may be a key feature. For example, in a municipal setting, multiple resolutions and framerates are desirable, such as one stream for clients in the operations center, one for clients elsewhere on the network, one for recording, and one for remote clients on mobile devices or in-car mobile data terminals. Creating all these stream types on the VMS server will most likely increase load, so it is therefore preferable to configure these distinct streams on the camera, to avoid this reduction in performance.

Counterpoint: As stated above, the ability to multicast directly from cameras, rather than servers, offers little to no benefit for the vast majority of surveillance deployments. Additionally, multicast in general is not applicable as multicasting requires appropriate hardware and network design to accomodate this.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on VMS

VMS Export Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Sep 13, 2018
When crimes, accidents or problems occur, exporting video from one's video surveillance system is critical to proving incidents. But who does it...
Dahua Low-Cost 4MP Camera Tested (N44CL52) on Sep 10, 2018
4MP use continues to increase, especially in low-cost models, according to integrators in our 2018 Resolution Usage Statistics. We bought Dahua's...
Directory Of 110+ Video Management Software (VMS) Suppliers on Aug 30, 2018
This directory provides a list of Video Management Software providers to help you see and research what options are available. Listing...
Inputs/Outputs For Video Surveillance Guide on Aug 24, 2018
While many cameras have Input/Output (I/O) ports, few are actually used and most designers do not even consider them. However, a good understanding...
Luxriot VMS Profile on Aug 23, 2018
Luxriot is more popular than Hikvision and Milestone products according to ASMAG which was probably even surprising to Luxriot. The company has...
Synology Surveillance Station VMS Tested on Aug 22, 2018
With so many low-cost NVRs and enterprise VMSes, is there any place in the market for NAS-based VMSes? Recently, IPVM bought a Synology NAS for...
SNMP / Network Monitoring For Surveillance 2018 on Aug 21, 2018
Surveillance systems typically rely on the the VMS to report issues, but this most often just means knowing a camera is "down" with no warning or...
Video Analytics Integration Guide on Aug 16, 2018
Video analytics is hot again (at least conceptually) but integrating video analytics with VMSes can be challenging. This is especially significant...
ISS VMS / Video Analytics Company Profile on Aug 16, 2018
Who is ISS? In the past few months, they had one of the craziest ISC West promo items in years. Then, they hired industry veteran and ex-Dahua...
Cut Milestone Licensing Costs 80% By Using Hikvision and Dahua NVRs (Tested) on Aug 13, 2018
Enterprise VMS licensing can be quite expensive, with $200 or more per channel common, meaning a 100 camera system can cost $20,000 in VMS...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
Hikvision USA Starts Layoffs on Sep 18, 2018
Hikvision USA has started layoffs, just weeks after the US government ban was passed into law. Inside this note, we examine: The important...

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