IPVM New Features and Improvements DirectoryAuthor: John Honovich, Published on Feb 28, 2016
IPVM's development team continuously releases new features and site improvements. This document lists those items so you can see what has changed and get a sense of the pace and scope of developments. Any questions or feedback, feel free to do so in the comments at the end of email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming 2016 Improvements
The next big feature is a mobile app calculator to make it easier to do designs on-site with one's phone or tablet.
2016 Site Improvements Added
Mobile First IPVM Launch
The IPVM site was totally redone to work well mobile first, to help our members using their phones and on the road. See: Mobile First IPVM Launched.
Report Speedup / Caching
Report loading has sped up ~40% as we implemented caching for key parts of reports to ensure members do not need to wait to read reports.
Blank Canvas Calculator
Many members have asked for a version of the Calculator without the map, in case they want a 'blank screen' approach. This has been added. See: New Blank Canvas Camera Calculator Released
Calculate Camera Model Free
We have made it free for anyone to calculate one camera model (from any manufacturer of the 40+ manufactures we support). This will make it easier for members to recommend to their partners / customers, etc. to try out and use. See: Calculate Any Camera Model Free
IPVM previously had 2 types of articles (updates and reports). We have now unified all articles as reports. The primary user impact is that the URLs are now 'prettier'/'human readable' (instead of numbers, it uses descriptive words, i.e., https://ipvm.com/update/3212 becomes https://ipvm.com/report/camera-tested-here, etc.)
Zoom Optimizations for Calculator Exports
Exporting Calculator presentations (to PPT, Word, PDF) has become very popular. We have optimized the zoom levels of each camera export to make the camera location and background clearer.
Auto References to Existing Posts
We have added an appendix to each IPVM report. that has been referenced by another IPVM article. This is automatically updated daily and ensures you can find relevant / newer information related to an IPVM report. See: Auto References Added To Existing Posts
2015 Site Improvements Added
Calculator 2.0 - Floor plans, Markups, Locking and Lists Added
Import your floor plans into the calculator and overlay cameras on top of them. This helps for indoor designs. Moreover, floorplans can be scaled immediately upon uploading by entering any reference width / distance.
Add markups to floorplans including lines, polygons, rectangles, circles and text. Use this to create your own buildings or add other elements to the map.
Lock cameras, markups and floor plans. Once you have set them up to your liking, flip the lock on and you will not accidentally change them unless you unlock it first.
Live Chat Added
Live chat has been added to IPVM allowing members communicate with each other and IPVM admins in real time. See: IPVM Launches Live Chat
Line Auto Measurement in Calculator
When you add a line in the calculator, it will automatically show what the distance of that line is. This is helpful for planning out distance or measuring the space between two objects / cameras / buildings, etc.
Add 4MP 16:9 to Calculator
Given the increasing number of manufacturers releasing 4MP 16:9 imagers, this has been added as an option in the calculator for modeling cameras.
Easy Naming Cameras on Calculator
When you add a new camera, a text edit prompt immediately appears allowing the user to name the camera, reducing time and effort on this most basic step. If you do not want to name the camera, simply ignore the prompt and continue to work. EasyName Camera Calculations Added
Size and Weight Search Added to Calculator
If you need a camera that is especially small or light weight, now you can find it by specifying the size you want. Moreover, we have compared all camera sizes in our database, ranking them, making it easier to find cameras that are truly 'mini' or 'small'. See: Camera Size Search Engine
IR Range Tool for Calculator
When a camera model is selected for calculation, an overlay is added to the Google Map showing exactly how far the IR specified will cover (i.e., a camera with a 30m IR range will have a 30m red line drawn on the map to show potential coverage area. This will help better designing night time surveillance. See: Camera IR Range Tool Released
Note: a toggle was later added to hide the IR range line for those who do not want it. It can be done by editing the camera (right click on the camera or choose edit from the camera list).
Contextual Menu for Camera Calculated
Right clicking on a camera now shows a contextual menu allowing to edit the camera, center the map on the camera, lock the camera, show all cameras, etc.
Add Cameras Precisely
Instead of hitting the large 'Add Camera' Button on the right top of the map, one can one right click anywhere in the map they want the camera to go and add the camera exactly there. This saves time / effort in precisely positioning cameras.
IPVM has analyzed which cameras are closest in specification and price to each other, based on our Camera Finder database and internally developed algorithm. This can help you save money or find alternatives to a specified camera. See: BestMatch Camera Software Released
Select any number of camera models you want and IPVM will automatically compare the specifications of each camera selected. This helps you see the tradeoffs between cameras you are considering. Try Camera Comparison here.
Camera Images and Details Added to Camera Calculator
Now, when selecting from cameras in the calculator, each camera model shows a picture of the camera as well additional details on form factor, IR range, etc., making it easier to select.
Google Maps Calculator
The calculator now embeds Google Maps, allowing cameras to be added to a map and adjusted. As the camera cover is changed, the pixel density is automatically updated as well as the FoV / Scene preview. Major improvement. See: Google Maps Camera Calculator Released
F Stop Calculator
Added a free F stop calculator that helps users understand the differences in light passing between different lens (e.g., f/1.2 vs f/1.4 or f/1.4 vs f/2.4, etc.). Use the F Stop calculator here.
2014 Site Improvements Added
Camera Type Added to Camera Finder
With the increase of non-IP HD alternatives, we have added a selection for other types, including AHD, CVI, TVI and SDI. This will allow users to select or exclude the types of cameras they want.
Added Vehicle Entrance Scene
Responding to member's request, we added a vehicle entrance scene to the calculator to help for license plate / car applications.
Embedded Calculator Tutorial Video
The calculator now includes a link to immediately watch a tutorial video from inside the calculator. Just click 'Watch Tutorial Video Now' in the upper right hand side.
20 Minute Reminder for Webinar / Classes
Added a 20 minute reminder email before webinars and classes to help remind participants to join. Related, emails are from us and include a direct join link, rather than using a third party service for generic verbose notification.
Select Camera Models for Calculation
Many designers know what specific camera model they prefer (or want to use). This feature allows from selecting more than 3000+ models from 40+ manufacturers for inclusion. The key benefit is that the IPVM Calculator knows the AoV and resolution of each camera, making the calculation more accurate. See: Selecting Camera Models Added to IPVM Calculator
Add Your Own Scenes to Calculator
The calculator comes with a number of preloaded / generic scenes, including a hallway, entrance, parking lot, etc. Now, you can take a picture with your phone or camera and upload into the calculator to use as a more realistic example of the camera's coverage area. See: Camera Calculator Adds Personal Scenes.
Saving Camera Calculations
Calculations can be saved to IPVM / cloud for later retrieval / review.
Controls to Adjust PPF Levels on Preview Image
Users can use up and down arrows to adjust PPF levels, automatically adjusting the camera coverage area zone as well to show tradeoffs between different pixel densities and coverage areas.
Camera Calculator Permalink To Results
Share your camera calculation with anyone (including cameras designed, markups, floorplans, etc.) by clicking on the 'Permalink' header option and copying the link provided. This makes it easy to share designs with co-workers, partners and customers.
Metric / Imperial Calculation Intelligent Toggle
Added a toggle between metric and imperial units for calculator. Initially, calculator checks what country the visitor is from. If from the US, set to imperial; otherwise metric. Users can always adjust and a cookie will be set to keep that unit choice (i.e., a US user who switches to metric, will stay metric on future visits).
Newsletter Subscribe / Unsubscribe Profile Option
Members have always been able to unsubscribe to the newsletter from any newsletter email. We have now added an option to unsubscribe or re-subscribe from their member page profile. This was added because some members who had unsubscribed asked to get back on.
Original Camera Calculator
In August 2014, we released the original camera calculator. This just had a 'stick figure' / single camera view and has been replaced with the far more advanced Google Mapping / multi-camera version today.
Camera Finder Permalink to Results
When searching for cameras using the Camera Finder, you can now get a link to your specific results. Just pick whatever criteria combination you want, then click on 'Get URL to these results' and a permalink unique to your query will be generated. Share with a friend, keep it for future reference, etc. Here is an example, all Axis varifocal dome cameras 1080p or higher resolution.
Pay for Voting
Members will be paid quarterly based on votes they have received for their comments. IPVM averages $1,000+ per quarter in member payment for comments. See: IPVM Pays Commenters, Based On Your Votes
Comments now support voting on 4 dimensions: agree, disagree, informative, unhelpful and funny.
Show Quiz Statistics
After finishing a quiz, we now show the statistics for all other quiz takers so you can determine how you did compared to your peers and what topics industry people have the most difficulty with. Additionally, we show percentile ranking for each quiz so you know how much better or worse you did compared to others.
Pay By PayPal
In addition to paying by credit card, members can now pay by PayPal for membership. When joining, simply select between the two. Existing members can also switch to PayPal using the Update billing option.
Email Newsletter by Time Zone
Member newsletters are now scheduled by the member's time zone to make it more convenient to get the newsletter during their own time. For example, we typically set emails to be sent at 8-10am. Now, the newsletter system will track if you are in Europe or Japan or the US, etc., and send it at 8am or 9am, etc. for your local time.
New Discussion When No Search Results Found
Now, if a member searches for a term where there are no results in IPVM's reports, we immediately offer an option to start a discussion on that topic and let IPVM help find an answer.
Custom News Monitoring
In addition to monitoring 120+ companies, members can monitor their own custom submitted terms. For example, an integrator who specializes in certain verticals, could get alerts for 'hospital' or 'retail', a manufacturer focused on video analytics could get alerts for 'tripwire' or 'computer vision' or 'facial recognition'. Each member simply adds in the terms important to them.
News Monitoring / Spider
A major addition, we now automatically find new information from 120+ companies and email you weekly with a digest of those updates. We use our internally developed web spidering system to deliver this. Learn more about News Monitoring / Updates.
On the test directory, one can immediately filter our 240+ test results for the specific term or company they desire. Also, our advanced search page allows restricting search results to just tests. Learn more: New Feature: Searching Test Reports
Refer A Friend
A unique referral link for each Member allows them to get a 10% credit and their friend to get 10% off a new IPVM subscription. Learn more: New: Referrals - Your Get 10%, They Save 10%
Expand Search Results to 100
Now searching returns up to 100 results instead of the previous 30 to provide more matches for popular terms.
Default to Undisclosed Posting
Certain members must always post undisclosed because their companies bar them from publicly commenting online. This new option allows them to ensure posts default to undisclosed.
Show All Recent Comments on Homepage
On the bottom half of the home page, there has been a section indexing the most recent comments on discussions. We have updated this to include comments on articles as multiple members noted that they wanted to track new article comments as well.
Camera Upload Excel Macro
We have created an excel macro to make it easy for manufacturers to submit their cameras in bulk to our Camera Finder. See Improved Camera Finder Overview.
Fixed Link Bug in PDF Downloads
Group members have an option for PDF downloads of reports. Some reports with links to IPVM articles were not linking correctly. This has been fixed.
Improved Layout of PDF Downloads
Look and feel now more consistent with published papers or books. Here's an example of the improved PDF layout.
Improve Quizzes 2
We now can embed pictures and videos in quizzes, making them more interactive and informative. We also added explanations in the results to each quiz question with details and links to further information so members can learn more and understand their mistakes.
Sorting Comments in Discussions
By default, comments are threaded based on replies to other comments. We added an alternative view to sort comments chronologically so it is easier to see which ones are newest, useful in very long discussions.
Extended Group Management
Group members can now appoint multiple people to manage their account (add/edit/delete users, update billing, etc.). Many members have asked us for this so they can delegate co-workers to manage larger accounts. For details on using this, see: Enhanced Group Member User Management
Style of Quizzes Improved
We improved the layout and styling of quizzes to make it cleaner to take and submit as well as matching our general site styles. See for yourself, by Testing Your Surveillance Current Event Knowledge.
Camera Finder Search Improved
The Camera Finder was radically improved - faster results, single page and better organization. See Improved Camera Finder Overview.
Camera Diff Tool Improved
We have a tool where you can select 2 cameras and it will tell you the specific differences across more than 30 parameters. See: Camera Diff Tool.
Searching Spelling Mistakes
If your search on IPVM has spelling mistakes (like searching Milstone), it will detect it and provide a suggestion for the correct spelling and associated results.
2013 Site Improvements
Embed Videos Into Comments
Members can now embed videos (from youtube, etc.) into their comments. Just click the video button on the comment toolbar and copy the embed code. This is helpful when sharing new products or problems, etc.
Polls By Member Segments
When we post polls (like on the Avigilon win/lose article), we can now track results by segment as well as restrict taking the polls to members in certain segments (e.g., only manufacturers or only integrators, etc.).
Contact Form Improvements
Members do not need to enter in their name or email when using the contact form, it automatically appends that in the message to us. This makes it easier for submission.
Eliminating Duplicate Comments
Course Registration Optimizations
Any member can sign up for a course using their existing card or choosing a new card. Additionally, non members can sign up for membership and a course at the same time. This makes the registration process easier.
Sell Individual Items
We added in the functionality to sell individual items to members. While we have not used it, this may include future things like print books, in person events, hats (just kidding on that one).
Introduce New Group Plans
Group plan options are now available ranging from 3, 5, 10, 20, 40, 80 and 100 members to let larger organizations better share IPVM with their co-workers. Existing members can change plans on the member page ("Change Plan" option). When changing plan, remaining balance from the previous payment is automatically pro-rated and applied.
Images In Comments
Commenters can now images either from their PC, using the upload to IPVM server function, or by inserting a link to an image on the web. This helps people show images of issues they are having or products they are interested in, etc.
Reply To Comments AJAX
Instead of clicking to a new page to reply to a specific comment, we automatically load the reply form right below the comment you are replying to, saving time and hassle.
30% faster loading pages, the IPVM server was upgraded to a 4 core, 8GB RAM, SSD hard drive machine.
Infinite Scrolling of Comments
Eliminating pagination, new comments populate automatically, as one scrolls down regardless of how long the comments are.
Email Reports to Others
Added an option right below report title allowing emailing reports to others. If the email entered is for a member, the whole report is included. If the email entered is for a non-member, the first few paragraphs are sent. See: Easy Emailing Posts
Added Undisclosed IDs
Posting undisclosed has become one of the most used features. A problem that occurred was that multiple undisclosed members would comment on the same discussion. Adding IDs to each undisclosed commenter helps people understand and distinguish between multiple undiscloseds.
Drag and Drop Reordering Comments
On the admin side, we added a drag and drop tool to reorder comments. This is to ensure that comments are appropriately threaded. Often commenters will post a general comment when it is clear they are responding to a specific previous comment. We then drag and drop it to keep the discussion as coherent and orderly as possible.
Comment Auto Optimizations
Comments are automatically optimized to remove extra spaces (after periods, before, etc.) as well as lines in between paragraphs. This keeps comments looking much more professional and consistent.
Login Easier For Repeat Users
We detect if a visitor has previously logged in from the computer they are visiting. If so, we embed the login form right under the article to make it simple for them to login. Instead of finding and clicking the login link.
Add Thumbnails for Results
To make it easier to see what a post is about, we added thumbnail display on the articles directory, test directory and within search results.
Improvements Before June 2013
There are many other improvements before June 2013. A few notable ones are:
- February 2013: IPVM's own internal search, instead of using Google, delivers far more accurate, complete results.
- December 2012: IPVM's own internal discussion group, instead of using LinkedIn, allows for single sign on a single site with a much better user experience.
- September 2012: IPVM's own course management, with tests built-in, integration with live webinars, private discussion groups, etc.
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