Milestone Kills Go, Slashes Express Pricing, Launches Enhanced Version Free

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Sep 12, 2016

Milestone is shaking up the industry again with enhanced free software and a major price drop.

6 years ago, Milestone launched their first free VMS as well as radically cut entry level VMS pricing.

This time, they are going farther.

In this report, we examine the details of the new enhanced free offering, new price cuts, how it relates to the Chinese race to the bottom, and what impact it will likely have.

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Comments (25)

The registration part of essential means the software will stop? Kind of doesn't make it unlimited?

Milestone feedback on registration:

Registration on our website is required within 30 days of downloading. The registered license is active for 12 months. After 12 months, users must re-register online, at no cost, to continue using the software uninterrupted. Once the product is re-registered, additional 12 months are added to the software expiration date.

Also, users are provided advance notice 60 days, 30 days, and the day of expiration (both in the product and via email) – to ensure that they are not surprised.

Unless the registration process is really hard (which would surprise me) does not seem to be much of a burden.

The bigger burden is what to do when you need 9 channels!

The bigger burden is what to do when you need 9 channels!

Can't you just fire-up another 8 on a seperate VM?

Yes, but you won't be able to be logged into both at the same time on the same PC from one Client. Think early days of DVRs.

You can have two clients open though?

Sucks, but for people who don't monitor live out of a SOC and don't have to reveiw clips hourly, it might be an acceptable trade-off.

What about the ONVIF bridge? Build your own front-end to multiple free backends. Charge a nominal amount. Call it "Essentially Free".

ONVIF Bridge will work with XProtect Express and up, but the entry level XProtect Essential does not support MIPSDK integrations. Multiple client instances can be done though.

Lots of Alt-tabbing then. Better off just spending a few dollars for 9 licenses.

I think at that point, the amount of time/effort you invest in trying to get more free channels you will quickly find that it is more cost effective to just purchase the software.

If you were to use it in a project as a free vms - to negate the use of a free bundle camera vms the registration makes it unusable.

I cant help think Milestone are using this to gain a list of customer to go direct..

I had the same thoughts/concerns about the ongoing registration requirement becoming a major limiting factor to integrators actually using this as a "real" VMS.

I don't think Milestone wants to go direct, especially not to customers who cannot even justify paying for a VMS in the first place. It is more likely this is the result of a policy set by a person who does not understand the overhead it creates, and net negative impact to getting more users on XProtect.

Is there a UI difference between Essential, and Express? Other than the list of features on their website there isn't too much explanation about what's different.

Here's a question for Milestone, what makes Essential a better choice than DW Spectrum for these smaller systems. Price is relatively the same now with the price cut.

Essential and Express have the same UI and even the same installer executable.

Feature wise the biggest difference is Essential does not enable 3rd party integrations.

I've never seen DW Spectrum, nor does their website explain what you can get for free (from what I could tell). My guess is Essential gives you a much wider selection of cameras, and the platform has a broader installation base. Maybe more online documentation and KB content? I noticed in a shootout, viewing video used more CPU than others and if you have an Intel Quick Sync capable CPU you can reduce the horsepower needed for live/playback.

If DW Spectrum are similar feature for feature and you're comfortable with it, it does look like a suitable alternative if you're avoiding or jumped off the Milestone wagon.

Here's a question for Milestone, what makes Essential a better choice than DW Spectrum for these smaller systems?

I think now that the price is the same the pressure is on DW to explain why they're better than Milestone.

what makes Essential a better choice than DW Spectrum for these smaller systems. Price is relatively the same now with the price cut.

It's Express, not Essential, that is now relatively the same price as DW Spectrum.

Milestone naming is confusing - quick what's the difference between Essential, Express, Enterprise and Expert? Related: Milestone Comparison Chart

The main thing for Express is the 3rd party integrations - Milestone has far more than DW / NX. So if you need / value that, it's a benefit.

Beyond that, the much more expensive Milestone versions, like Corporate, offer many advanced capabilities (e.g., 2016 Expert/Corporate features).

As for your needs, you are probably fine with DW Spectrum. It is solid for mid sized deployments (other members, see: Network Optix/Digital Watchdog VMS Tested).

Finally, as 3 says, given Milestone's much larger market position in VMS software, that's their overall edge vs DW / NO.

They have long had too many product lines. With Enterprise and Go evaporating this is certainly a step in the right direction. Merge corporate and expert, split the difference in pricing, and I think their product line will be much easier to explain to clients.

Spectrum doesn't have different software packages, so when you get "free" licenses, you get all of their features.

At this point we're not avoiding Milestone, I've never been able to get a rep out to our office for a demo. We've never seriously looked at milestone because their price point was too high and most of our customers didn't need what was offered in their higher end VMS offerings.

Now that it's priced more competitively it's worth looking at again.

Essential doesn't allow for network drive archiving. The archive drive must be a local one. Express doesn't have this limitation. Express supports 48 cams, Essential 'only' 26

The local drive restriction has always made me wonder: if you use Win10 iSCSI to attach to a QNAP/Synology box, it looks like a local drive letter to applications. How does Milestone enforce a restriction like this?

While it IS possible to detect if the drive is iSCSI (see here) I don't think Milestone actually checks for this, so you can probably get away with it but don't quote me on that as I haven't tried.

It looks like we get free CMS for 8xDVR also, no? It is a cool offering and also using Express ( now cheaper ) we could get POS integration also ( Transact) so we might cover a 48 store chain , each with it's own 16 FullHD Cameras, a POS connection ... not bad if so.

Question for Milestone? Will the new version of express allow the export of video in another format other than .AVI? That was a frustrating limitation of the GO product.

GO is (was) the only XProtect version with export format limitation. All other versions (including Essential which becomes free up to 8 devices) allows to export in media (avi, mkv) and/or XProtect (database) formats.

Milestone on Express needs to remove very limiting client access restriction of 5 users..

Agree. It would actually just be easier if they cut their broad product line down so there aren't as many artificial barriers between tiers.

As 4 alluded to above, Enterprise is being End of Life'd. We are working on a separate post for that.

At least, 2 of the tiers are being removed which will help simplify somewhat.

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