Milestone 'Free' Takeover of OnSSI Accounts

By John Honovich, Published Oct 02, 2015, 12:00am EDT

It's getting nasty.

Last month, we reported how Milestone and OnSSI were breaking up. September 30th was the last day OnSSI sold any Milestone 'powered' VMS licenses.

Now, Milestone has ramped up their efforts to wipe out OnSSI.

In this note we examine Milestone's offer, the matchup and what this means for the industry.


********* ** *** ******** 'free' ********* ******** *** software *** *** ***** user **** ** ** a ******* ********* (***** Milestone *** ********* ***** a'****' *******).

** ********, ***** ***** customers *** ** *** support ********* *** *** Milestone *** ******** ** buying * ***** ** support, ***** ** * fraction ** *** ****** Milestone ********* ***** (**** the ********** ******* ** 2 ***** ** ******* support / ********). **** is *********** ***** ********* ****:

**** ******* ********** ********* cost ~**% ** *** original ******** ******* *****, paid ****** (*.*., * $100 ****** ******* ***** cost $** ******** *** service / *******). *** *** ****** ******* **** note. *** ***** ********** paid ******* ** *** negotiating ***** ** *** user, *** ****** ** the ****, ***. *** can ********* ** ************* less. **** *** ***** do *** ******** **** support **********.


** ** *** ********* for ***** ***** ** switch ** ********* ** the *** ***** (***********'* '********') ** ***** *****:

"***** *********, ***** *** Milestone *********, **** ******** to ******* ******* *** support *** ******* *****. This **** **** ***** customers ***** **** ** gradually **** ** *** full ****** ********* **********. The **** ** ********* the ******** ***-***-***** ************ that ***** *** ********* to *** ********* ***** recorder ****** ** *** same ************, ********* *** party *********, ******* ********** cost.... [****] ********* ** ********* ** provide ******* ******** ** all ***** ********* **** valid ****, ***** ***** expiration *****."

Competitive *********

** ******** ** *** takover ****** ********* ** providing, ********* ******** **** being *** '******** ******' that ****** *** ***** customers **** ****. **** means **** ******* ********* features *** ****** ******* they *** ****** ** will *** ** ********* in *****'* *** ********. This ******** **** *********'* larger ***** *** ***** resources ** * ***** subsidiary / **** ******* company ******** **** * powerful ****.

*******, ********* ** ********* requires ***** ********* ** learn / **-***** ***** staff ** *** ********* client ******* ** *** Occularis *** (** ******* using *********'* ********, ***** has *** ***** *** front *** *** **** years), ***** *** *** own *********** ***** *** complexity ** **** ** concerns **** ******* ** features **** ** ****** not ******** ** ********* to ****. ****, ******** with *********'******** **** / ******* DB *** ******/***** ************ *** the **** ******** **** Enterprise *** ***** ****** has *** *** *********.

New ***** *******

* ***** ******* *** been ******* ********* **** OnSSI's *** ****** '********' compared ** *********'* '********'. OnSSI ** ********* ***** *.* version **** **** ** server ***** ***, ******* for *** ******* / mobile ****, ***** *********, expanded ****** *******, ********* a ************ ******** ********* driver. **** ** ***** are ************** ** *** way *** ** ****** to ******* **** **** Milestone.

Cost ** *********

********* ** ********* ***** to **** ***** ** the **** **** **** this *****. ********** **** migrations **** ** **** *********, both **** *** ***** and **** **** ***** the ******* ***** **** receive **** ******* ********** will *** *****.

***** **** ** ****** to make **** ** ** the ****** **** ********** annual ******* ****, **********, perhaps ***** / **** camera *****, ***. ** course, ** *********'* ****** company ***** *** *****, given ***** **** ********* and *********** ** *****, short **** ************* ** not * **** ********.

More *******

********* ** *** *** only ****** ** *****.************'* $** *** ******** offer **** ** **** **** ********** for ****, ** **** do *** *** *** ****** for *** ****** ******* fees.

Race ** *** ******

********* *** ****** **** more ******* ** ****** share **** ******* (*.*., see ********* ***** ****** *** Market ********* *** *********'* **** ** *************). ** **** ***, and ***** *****'* *********, this **** ** **********.

*******, ********* *** *** had * ***** ******** release ** ** ******, instead ******** ** ***** on ********'* **** *********** ****. 

*** ******* *** ****** has ****** ********** ******** (save **********'* ********* *** ***** debatable cloud ******), *** ******* ***** advances ** **********, *** VMS ******* *** ************ left ** *** ****** *** try ** **** ********* from *** *******.

Comments (55)

"However, switching to Milestone requires OnSSI customers to learn / re-train their staff on the Milestone client instead of the Occularis one"

NOT switching to Milestone also requires customers to learn new stuff - the new (and very different) SeeTec recorder.

I would maintain that learning to use a new client would generally be easier than learning to configure and use the new recorder.

How many people configure recorders? How many times do you need to configure a recorder?

Contrast to:

How many people use a VMS client? How often do those people use a VMS client?

Operator use far outweigh admins. And it's not like the admin side of either is so much better than the other (Milestone XProtect 2014 Tested and The New Post-Milestone OnSSI Tested).

An important aspect of new OnSSI recorders is that they all have centralized management with a unified interface, keeping the look and feel of all consistant. The new recorder administrator is simplified, making the learning curve shorter for new installers. Once you know one, you know them all.

The new recorder administrator is simplified...

Translation: The new recorder administrator is different...

To a smoothly functioning department, with documented workflow, standardized procedures and formalized training, changes to the UI and related flows, even if objectively better, are generally not desired.

if <ctrl-f7> doesn't bring up that solo salvo on monitor 7 anymore, it's a tough sell.

Ken, has ONSSI seen a rise in domestic Sales last quarter, possibly due to the new unified interface? If you are free to speak on such matters.

Yes, without getting into specifics, sales are growing nicely. It is partly due to the unified interfaces, but there many new features and benefits supporting the sales increase. For example, we no longer require camera registration or MAC addresses and we have included Smart Camera Drivers for most major manufacturers, that allow newly released cameras to be supported immediately, right out of the box, without having to wait for specific drivers to be written. Integrators have greatly appreciated these new features and also many additional benefits and efficiencies in Ocularis 5.

That viewpoint depends on WHO you're referring to.

Learning a new recorder is integrator/installer intensive, with minimal impact to the end user.

Learning a new client is also integrator/installer intensive, but also has a tremendous impact on the end user.

So in reality, if you're looking for total net impact, it's probably easier to change to a new recorder than it is to forklift in a new VMS system.

Fair point.

So I will flop my position. Though I still believe that a client would be easier to learn than a recorder, making the decision to switch or not has a different impact on each of the participants in the channel (integrators vs customers) - as you point out.

What do you think current Ocularis integrators will want their customers to do?

Which is easier? Retraining a few of their own techs on the new recorder function or retraining all their customers on using the new client?

If I am a customer using Ocularis, I still need support from my integrator and be able to rely on their expertise for training and/or when I have problems.

Since a new recorder shouldn't have much impact on the integrators customer, don't you think the integrators will have at least some bias when it comes to consulting with the customer on whether or not to switch?

What customer would switch to Milestone if their integrator was inclined to keep them on Ocularis?

"What do you think current Ocularis integrators will want their customers to do?"

That's a good point. I don't know how motivated overall OnSSI dealers will be to move to Milestone but if I am Milestone that would be a core element in the strategy of pulling those end users away.

OnSSI dealers, what do you say?

Rumor has it that this information was distributed by Milestone via e-mail on Wed.

@John, Is this your source or is there another? Is there a link to the actual offer that you are aware of?

I am asking because the e-mail purportedly made some other claims that, if true, could be crucially important when deciding on a course of action.

Does anyone have a copy of the offer?

I have not seen an email but I was told by multiple people over the last few days about this.

Security Hive reports

Milestone Cuts All Ties With OnSSI

At the ASIS 2015 Expo in Anaheim, just as the show was about to wrap up after three days, video management software (VMS) leader Milestone made an announcement via a Milestone email blast that the long-standing agreement between OnSSI and Milestone for OnSSI to utilize the Milestone recording engine had elapsed and no further cooperation between the two companies would exist.

If this is indeed true, then ONSSI needs to define exactly in what manner they intend to supply new device drivers written for those owning the Milestone recorder versions of ONSSI.

This is no small matter as outlined here.

In June, ONSSI promised

"There is no time limit. We have an agreement, in good standing, in place with Milestone today with no expectation from our side to change that, or reason to believe that it will change."

Sounds like it may have changed.

The no further coperation is probably technically not true.

For example, OnSSI states, "Milestone is obligated to provide product upgrades to all OnSSI customers with valid SUPs, until their expiration dates."

Milestone is obligated to provide product upgrades to all OnSSI customers with valid SUPs...

Funny, that sounds like exactly what they are doing, no? ;)

Lol, this offer is just a little bit more...

Updates to the 'recording engine' is different than updates to a whole system.

But seriously, if that is technically Milestone's obligation, then what they are offering would meet that.

If Lars has taken what would normally be a huge liability and turned it into a source of revenue, that would be genius.

"You have to take care of our Customers for life!"

"We will, believe me, we will."

Any luck reaching out to Milestone for comment?

"if that is technically Milestone's obligation, then what they are offering would meet that."

The point is that it exceeds their obligation. Their obligation is to provide upgrades to the 'recording engine' that OnSSI incorporates into OnSSI's own system.

Milestone is now offering an upgrade replacement to their own whole system.

I reached out to Milestone but it's the weekend after a trade show so I would expect some delay in response (recall they did answer on the ADI / Milestone issue, it just took time).

To clarify, Milestone is obligated to provide new product releases, bug fixes, device drivers, etc. to OnSSI, for us to integrate into Ocularis and supply to our customers. Althought the recording module in our legacy products was sourced from Milestone, Ocularis is an OnSSI product and Milestone has no access to it.

In addition, the decision to move to the SeeTec recorder has made OnSSI a much stronger company, from technology, geographical coverage and financial positions.

Ocularis 5 is innovative and more technologically advanced than previous versions using our legacy recorders.

The obvious financial benefits of keeping all components "in house"
allows us to provide better profit margins to the channel, reduced MSRPs to the end user and assure the long term health and growth potential for OnSSI.

OnSSI's commitment to innovation remains strong.

Ken, what happens if I am running the legacy recorder and want to add a camera that is supported by Milestone, but not yet by SeeTec?

Can I get an additional channel license on the legacy recorder?

p.s. This is not a hypothetical question

As of October 1st we no longer sell licenses for legacy recorders, so no, it isn't possible to get an additional channel license. But in reality, thousands of cameras are supported by the SeeTec recorder from most major camera manufacturers and the list is growing exponentially with every release (5.1 will be released October 12). It also supports ONVIF.

In this case, we would provide the Ocularis 5 base and client FOC, bring the MS recorder in under the base with the existing cameras on it and, moving forward, provide Ocularis 5 licenses.

This scenario would allow customers to save money on new license purchases, not interrupt any existing cameras or features and minimize the cost of moving to Ocularis 5.

Running both recorder versions together is transparent to the user.

Currently if a camera dies, I can simply change the MAC to the new one.

Will MAC swapping from and to any camera still be supported on already owned legacy channels?

In Ocularis 5 there is no need to register cameras or MAC addresses.

In legacy products, yes, changing out the camera to one of the same model can be done without any effort, continuing on with the same recording. If the replacement camera is a different model, it requires 2 mouse clicks to replace it.

Ken, will OnSSI be officially ONVIF conformant on October 12th? According to ONVIF's official list, OnSSI is not conformant.

John, I am researching with SeeTec and will advise once I have a clear answer.

8 days later with no 'clear answer'.

Some might say that provides a pretty clear answer all by itself.

But in reality, thousands of cameras are supported by the SeeTec recorder from most major camera manufacturers...

Is there a simple list of which cameras ARE directly integrated into Occularis 4.x but ARE NOT yet in 5.0?

This would seem to be of great value, as one could just quickly scan the list to see what problems there might be.

Otherwise one is relegated to retrieving exact model numbers and sorting thru two different lists differing nomenclature. Very tedious and leaves you less than certain in the end.

If SeeTec supports most cameras then the list should be short.

There is no uncertainty and it is not tedious. Currently there are two lists. One for legacy models and a second for Ocularis 5 on the Supported Devices page of our website.

Smart Driver support for Ocularis 5 supports the vast majority of cameras from the following manufacturers.

Arecont Vision, Axis, Canon, Hikvision, Samsung and Sony

Detailed lists are on the OnSSI website.

There is no uncertainty...

Disagree. Model numbers are not necesarily listed in the same manner between the two. It's not enough just to search the model# found in one for the other. x's are often used as wild cards.

It is not tedious...

Disagree. Try looking up 20 exact part numbers and being certain of the answers, because you better be, right?

If there was a black list then you could scan it in 30 seconds.

But better yet, why don't you just have Occularis TELL ME what cameras I have in my 4.x system that don't have drivers in 5.0?

Wouldn't that be the thing to do?

What reader could resist? Curious to see if "There is no uncertainty and it is not tedious," I followed the link.

Your website at:


"Click on your Ocularis model below, then you can select the manufacturer device type and device name to narrow your search."

The link entitled: "Ocularis Professional / Enterprise / Ultimate version 5.0"

led to this web page:

Choosing "All" under "Manufacturers" returned this result:

"Supported Devices"

"for Ocularis Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate version 5.0"

"Search results for all manufacturer"
"0 results"
One cut and paste and two mouse clicks did not seem very tedious. The result seems pretty clear, but would ONSSI care to acknowledge just a little uncertainty?

That's a lot of words to say that the 'ALL' choice in the Manufacturer drop down menu on the supported devices page for Ocularis 5.0 doesn't work.

Choose any manufacturer individually and it returns results.

Choose any manufacturer individually and it returns results.

That's true, it does.

Now choose the same manufacturer in the Legacy driver search.

What Axis cameras are in the Legacy list but not the Occularis list? Should be pretty easy, right? Try it.

They write software at ONSSI, yet they won't write a simple tool to say what cameras in your legacy system are not supported TODAY in Occularis?

Why not? Seriously?

Why not? Simple.

Because no matter how the OnSSI marketing crew tries to spin it, the Milestone recorder platform has FAR more direct camera integrations than SeeTec does.

You are asking OnSSI to actively promote this fact by creating such a tool - which they have no incentive to create - just to make your job easier?

You are asking OnSSI to actively promote this fact by creating such a tool - which they have no incentive to create - just to make your job easier?

Come to think of it, no, I just want them to release the tool. I'm sure similar queries were run in the last 6 months. Maybe one to estimate the total number of licenses at risk, for instance:

SELECT count(*) FROM Legacy_DLK a WHERE a.driver_id NOT IN (SELECT b.driver_id from SeeTec_DRV b)

Though I agree that number is not one likely to see the light of day...

"SELECT count(*) FROM Legacy_DLK a WHERE a.driver_id NOT IN (SELECT b.driver_id from SeeTec_DRV b)"

Running something very similar across the 5.0 vs 4.2-PS/IS/CS supported device lists yielded the following results, but clear and accurate answers remain elusive:

On the 5.0 list: 1331 named models

On the 4.2 PS/IS/CS list: 4801 named models

Comparing 4.2 PS/IS/CS to 5.0 lists: 620 exact name matches

Comparing 5.0 to 4.2 PS/IS/CS lists: 616 exact name matches

Comparing 5.0 to 4.2 PS/IS/CS lists: 35 additional series matches ("xx" models)

Comparing 5.0 to 4.2 PS/IS/CS lists: 651 total matches, as described

The numbers aren't reciprocal (620 vs 616 exact name matches) because the matches were for model names, but some identical model names are for very different models with different manufacturers. These aren't the same across both lists.

As an experiment, I also viewed the 4.2-PS/IS/CS-supported list by manufacturer and compared it to the same list viewed by "all manufacturers." These lists were probably from the same database, presented differently, but even these results didn't agree with one another, perhaps due to unrecognized errors over the two hours or so it took to view the list "by manufacturer" for more than 140 manufacturers.

Because of variations in naming across the lists, plus errors in accessing the information, plus errors in computing the matches, its likely that these numbers provide more confusion than clarity.

Thank, that was very cute, but it glosses over the fact that this ONSSI "oversight" levies a huge cost upon those seeking to understand the gulf between 4.2 and 5.0 supported devices.

For 5.0, you must manually click through the drop down menus for each and every manufacturer. In my case, this took about an hour to view all 5.0 supported devices across more than 50 manufacturers.

While this might be fun for some, I found it "tedious."

When you've manually selected this many entries, there is some "uncertainty" that you haven't missed any.

If the 5.0 "all manufacturers" drop down search had worked, it would have taken only a few seconds to see all 5.0 supported devices. Since the 4.2 versions actually support an "all manufacturers" search, on 4.2 you can verify supported devices in seconds with only a few mouse clicks.

This is what the email we received contains, along with a link to this page for learning more:

Milestone Takeover Graphic

Unique Milestone Trade-in Deal

We are writing to let you know that OnSSI is replacing their system VMS engine. As you may know, the VMS was previously based on Milestone’s core technology. Ultimately, this change will affect how the system is managed.

As our valued partner, we would like to offer you a unique one-time trade-in deal!

We can help you:

  • Help your existing customers protect their investments
  • Migrate customers using Ocularis 4.2 (or earlier versions) to Milestone XProtect® VMS

Use your existing VMS core competence as a Milestone partner

Who was it sent to?

Any integrator or do you have a relationship with ONSSI?

<edit> all Milestone partners, it looks like.

Be aware that you can no longer buy thru OnSSI channel licenes for
Ocularis 4.1 or below. You will have to use Ocularis 5.0 licenses. So you will have to consider moving to the new recording engine.

As an end user I deal with my customers with wide range of tolerance of learning. Ocularis has been the easiest interface I have seen. I do beleive that Milestone is very strong in its class but there are other VMS out there in the same space that can do what Milestone does and more.

Milestone lacks class and knows this is a death blow to ONSSI. Consider Milestones methods in this matter before you buy from them again. As a competitor to both ONSSI and Milestone it would seem odd that I take this position but existing ONSSI partners should consider staying the course and not give Milestone this cheap win.

Christopher Uiterwyk

IPConfigure CEO

Milestone lacks class and knows this is a death blow to ONSSI.

Wouldn't it have made more sense for Canon to have paid a nickel less for Axis and picked up both Milestone and ONSSI instead? Just from a pure Sales perspective?

Isn't that one of the things that a big conglomerate can do for you, something that you might want to do, but can't swing yourself?

The SeeTec merger indicates that a reasonable deal was possible...

Oh, right, ONSSI would have insisted on being run as an independent company...

As an OnSSI channel, we are cautiously moving forward with the new product. Right now it's an absolute nightmare considering the amount of installed product we have out there. If a customer wants to add a camera, we have to either:

A) Install the new OC5 alongside the Legacy recorder on the same hardware, update OC Base, update ALL Clients. Difficult to sell all this labor to the customer for adding 1 camera.

B) Upgrade entire legacy system to OC5, if SUP is current then no software cost but again have to sell this labor & hassle to the customer.

The reduced quantity of available drivers issue is also biting us in the shorts with jobs we are currently closing, that were quoted with the 4.x version in mind.

But the thought of moving to Milestone (believe me we seriously considered this) still means selling this same amount (or more) of labor to the customer to send techs everywhere to install the new Clients & completely re-train all users. That's a $hit sandwich we aren't prepared to eat just yet.

As an OnSSi channel partner .. we are in the same boat ... We like the new product but the most annoying weakness is the lack of drivers. With the Milestone recorder you would add most cameras without even thinking about drivers...OC5 is not there, not yet anyway, and 5.0 came with no Audio and no server-side VMD... 5.1 was announced yesterday and it is supposed to have server side VMD and more drivers. We'll see: we downloaded it ... We will know after lab tests ...

We did think about going wholesale to Milestone but ... the specter of having to train so many customers to a new interface cooled us down ..

I believe that OnSSI needs to ease the migration. This would help them retain a great number of about-to-desist dealers.. For one thing, we need a simple way to import camera list and settings from 4.x recorder to 5.0 ... So far it is from scratch...

The Seetec product is very, very good and OnSSi UI is one of the best I have seen ... OnSSI has a serious contender VMS IMO.. We'll see what they make of that

Milestone is advertising its OnSSI takeover program on Facebook. How weird...

Milestone is advertising its OnSSI takeover program on Facebook. How weird...

Why is it weird? Because it's Facebook?

Do you think that in general Competitive Upgrades are "bad"?

It's weird because it is a Facebook ad. It's weird to promote it so publicly and indiscriminately.

As a wise man once recently said:

"In my experience, it is common for a sales dept to have informal polices in regards to handling certain key competitors, i.e., "we will not be undersold by abc, because of xyz".

And even others outside of the company may have an inkling about those rules of engagement, but nothing they could necessarily count on. Besides they are always changing. Not a sign of desperation, IMHO.

But this offer is different than that in that fact that its a guaranteed 15% discount just if Avigilon quotes the same deal. Its one thing to decide to fight hard against Avigilon on a deal by deal basis, and as needed, another to annouce it to the world.

Its just weird."

Ah, the sweet taste of self-medication...

Though when it comes to weird, no one can top ONSSI:

"Oh you are the one resells someone else stuff...."

Hey, that's not true anymore!

Since that time, OnSSI has been mostly quiet, for good or bad, until this year.

Milestone supplied the space bar to ONSSI's typewriter.

A space bar is a space bar, right?

Seetec is the new space bar. In any event, that was an amazing video, but it's from 5 years ago, so pretty out of date...

Integrator pushing hard for ONSSI to Milestone Conversion business on LinkedIn.

I see you and raise you: "OCULARIS V5 is not back compatible!!!!"

This guy wants to be Milestone distributor of the year!

He can't be pushing all that hard. A simple rebuttal on my part and he took the entire page down. Nothing like standing up for what you believe in.

Speaking of claims, can you clarify this press release?

Pearl River, NY (October 19, 2015) – OnSSI announces that Axis’ Zipstream technology is now supported with Ocularis 5. This announcement reflects the company’s commitment to its technology partnerships and support of technology innovation by leading industry manufacturers.

Did ONSSI actually have to do anything to their product in order to support Zipstream?

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