Milestone / OnSSI Break Up, Go To War

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 04, 2015

Forget about a smooth transition.

Earlier this year, OnSSI, a long-time Milestone partner / OEM, acquired their own VMS, Seetec. At that time, the companies indicated that this would have minimal impact on existing customers. But now that is changing quickly.

In this note, we examine the breakup, why the two are going to war and who is likely to win or lose.

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Comments (30)

ONSSI did lots of good work helping to grow the IP video market in the US. However, they saw this coming and yet decided to build features that had little to no use/demand (http://ipvm.com/updates/1323) and ultimately sealed their fate.

In the long run (2-4 years), Milestone is likely to win. However, I do not think OnSSI will lose many customers through this transition to Ocularis 5.0.

In order for a significant loss of OnSSI business to occur quickly, that would require Milestone and Milestone Integrators/Resellers to work in unison (and immediately) to target OnSSI with a full court press.

I just don't see the leadership for that level of coordination to happen in the current Milestone climate.

We are already picking up ONSSI customers over this situation... it's impacting them now!

Really? That quick? How? Why?

ONSSI 5.0 has taken a big loss in features compared to 4.x/OEM/Milestone and the channel knows it.

Specific features that are a big loss? What are they?

We were told by one of their "Large" customers that motion detection does not exist. We didn't argue with them because we have not seen the software to validate their statement and we were happy to have their business.

(Server-side) Motion detection exists in SeeTec, so that's weird.

OnSSI responded:

Server side VMD will be added in Version5.1 to be released at ASIS. "It will be an improved version of the SeeTec Server based motion detection recording already exist on the SeeTec platform."

Let me understand this...You are a Manufacturer taking business away from OnSSI.....making you a competitor to them.

Yet, you do not know (could not validate) if OnSSI has motion detection or not? This strikes me as very odd, as knowing your key competitors is selling 101.

How long have you been running a successful company??? We evaluate "competitive products” and we don't believe ONSSI qualifies at this time.

I see...the Pelco approach. Look where that got them.

"This strikes me as very odd, as knowing your key competitors is selling 101."

To play devil's advocate, I know lots of manufacturers who know very little about their competitors. Sometimes shockingly so.

Indeed, some manufacturer sales people misunderstand basic points about their own product, but that's a whole other issue...

So while I agree knowing your key competitors is important, it is not odd to see much more basic lack of understanding.

I agree there is surprisingly little knowledge of competitors products in the VMS (and PACS) world. I agree there should be more. See someone else's comments about VMS vendors being stuck in the 90's. I love IPVM.COM, if I time it right I'm at worst the third Loud Voice in the conversation ;-)

I also think it looks like OnSSI is trying to make a significiant course correction while running at full speed. I can imagine the cries of anguish from inside the engineeing team trying to get you a 5.whatever version that makes 4.whatever customers happy. I'm not thrilled they seem to have gaps but I can imagine reasonable people deciding they need to take a deep breath and drive over some product roadmap speedbumps. So I think we should watch for a few moments and see how this plays out. I hope they realize their ASIS booth staff is going to face the Spanish Inquisition so they better have their message coherent...

What will happen with Milestone customers when Canon decides to go with Milestone /Axis end-to-end solution ?

According to them, that's not happening - Axis and Milestone To Remain Independent, Canon Declares

That said, if/when it happens, it's not like they are going to stop supporting anything but Axis, so I am not sure what Milestone customers should do now, except wait.

I doubt it would be worse than it is now for Avigilon custormers, as an example. I am a bit biased as we are distributing Milestone, still i think there are 20% chances that Milestone stays open ... or semi-open if that word exists...

Sorry but I am failing to see how this related to Avigilon in anyway. Avigilon's product is solid as they have there own software and don't rely on competitors recording engine. Hopfully ONSSI can pull through this without losing to many customers.

Well, i kind of brought Avigilon into this, because i consider it quite close. If there were a measure of the "openess" of a software my personal view is Milestone is about 7 out of 10 while Avigilon would be a 3 maybe. Still Avigilon seems to be doing quite ok(ish) so there are enough Owners and Partners who are not so bothered by the closeness of it.... thus our fear that Milestone would go more closed in the future ( maybe down to 5 ) could be a bit paranoic ( maybe it wont get to 5 or 4 or maybe it wont be so bad for Partners once it gets there )... at least this was my (too long) logic.

If there were a measure of the "openess" of a software my personal view is Milestone is about 7 out of 10.

Who is their software closed to?

And for what reason?

First rule of IPVM: Every IPVM post devolves into a discussion about Avigilon.

Seriously, start a specific thread if you really want to debate this. It has little to do with the Milestone / OnSSI breakup.

Ok I did it for you: Avigilon Openness Is Maybe A 3 / 10

Please all comment on that there.

First rule of IPVM: Every IPVM post devolves into a discussion about Avigilon. Seriously, start a specific thread if you really want to debate this.

Your sarKarastic comment may have fallen one post short of its intended target, as I did not even mention Avigilon, only Milestone. :)

Vlad - I don't want to toally derail this thread, but I'm curious why you think ACC is "closed" (or a 3 open-ness ;) )

ACC supports a variety of non-Avigilon cameras, encoders and other software integrations.

What features/functions make Milestone more open in your view?

The Ocularis 5.x seems to be a new VMS all together from 4.X. Event linking, etc. We have Milestone servers and transitioning to a new structure because clients hear there is a NEW version of Ocularis is daunting.

Is the motivation for these companies to develop a product that makes logical sense and user friendly or is motivation to make "their" VMS unique from other companies purely to be unique without any real world application?

Is there a "compare feature chart" of new features from previous releases.

Todd, in terms of the 'compare feature chart', OnSSI said they would provide one. When I get it, I will post it.

OnSSI will lose this battle, they already are, I see it first hand. The 5.0 software is horrific when it comes to motion detection and we have found several issues that are now considered "bugs" that they are "working on". Issues such as motion events not being captured and cameras that simply do not show up in 5.0 when they worked fine in 4.x. Add to this very poor customer service over the past 12 months or so and you have a recipe for clients to defect.

Let me ask you, do you know what it takes to go to 5.0? You do realize it is a total reconfiguration of the platform, not a simple "upgrade", right? Tell a client with 400 cameras on 6 servers that you need a 160 or so hours in labor to convert them and watch the look on their face. Then tell them they need to have enough space on the storage to hold the amount of video for their retention policy plus the new video from 5.0 until the retention policy video expires. Finally tell them when you are all done that thier motion detection will likely not work until 5.1 is out and even then I would be skeptical based on past experience.

They all say the same thing. If I have to have the pain and expense of a reconfiguration I should look at the other options that are out there to ensure I am making the right decision. I can't see OnSSI weathering the storm.

4, thanks. Fasincating feedback!

You mention:

"Let me ask you, do you know what it takes to go to 5.0? You do realize it is a total reconfiguration of the platform, not a simple "upgrade", right? Tell a client with 400 cameras on 6 servers that you need a 160 or so hours in labor to convert them and watch the look on their face. "

To play devil's advocate, OnSSI is saying that you do not need to upgrade the existing 4.x systems. That you can run them side by side with new 5.x recorders using the same client / interface? Is that wrong? Am I missing something?

Good catch John, that is what they say, but we have not actually ran that scenario. We have had enough issues converting small systems that we are very gun shy on just taking their word. We would have to run that scenario in the lab not on a production systems and have not had the resources free to do it (thats why we love IPVM).

Also we have OnSSI reps telling our clients not to go to 5.0, as it has issues, and now my clients are asking me "do ONSSI people talk to each other" as they now hear that they have to go to 5.0 for anything new. I have lost alot of faith in OnSSI and I was one of their biggest flag wavers over the past few years.

In our test of 5.0, we were able to connect to a 4.x recorder (I don't remember the specific version, it was about a year old) as well as a Milestone XProtect Enterprise recorder without issues. Everything worked as expected.

Most cameras we tested supported camera side VMD, but it was definitely a more limited list than in 4.x.

We are the largest OnSSi dealer in our state and have done a few 5.0 conversions already. Here is the deal... In short term, Onssi 5.0 is bad... Real bad. BUT, If they can make the fixes with 5.1, in my opinion it has great potential.

Pros:

No need for live drives decreasing storage costs

Cost

Easier to quote

Doesn't link mac address to camera.

Cons:

No audio support

No mobile app

Motion as stated above

OnSSi has one shot to get it right with 5.1. They are at a fork in the road right now where they can flop or shine.

My $.02

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