Milestone XProtect 2014 Tested

By Ethan Ace, Published Sep 03, 2014, 12:00am EDT

In this third entry in our ongoing VMS test series we provide in-depth explanation and analysis of Milestone XProtect Enterprise 2014 [link no longer available].

Inside this report, we have 40+ minutes of video screencasts providing clear explanations of Milestone VMS features including:

  • Applications review
  • Viewing cameras
  • Customizing and saving layouts
  • Controlling PTZs and digital zoom
  • Manual recording and screenshots
  • Basic playback controls
  • Using timeline search
  • Using Smart Search
  • Discovering and adding cameras
  • Configuring resolution
  • Setting recording framerate and schedule
  • Configuring dual streaming
  • Adding users and groups
  • Configuring motion detection

And more. This sample video reviews XProtect's playback controls:

 

Additionally, we review Milestone's pricing, licensing and dealer availability inside.

Related Tests

For Milestone's parent company's products, see our Canon IP Camera Test 2014.

Milestone XProtect has seven versions [link no longer available], far more than most VMS providers, adding more options but also complexity in picking amongst them.

 

Of the seven, six are versions of their XProtect, a Windows based traditional VMS, and one is Arcus, their newer 'embedded' VMS. Arcus is not covered here.

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Amongst the XProtect versions, Go, Essential, and Express support only one server with varying camera counts (up to 48 in Express). Professional allows for more than one server with a limit of 64 total cameras. Enterprise, Expert, and Corporate all allow for unlimited cameras and servers. Only Expert and Corporate allow for true enterprise management across systems, with others requiring changes to be made on each server individually. 

The videos below were recorded using XProtect Enterprise, and reflect a common Milestone user experience. Expert and Corporate use a slightly different Management Application which allows global changes to be made more quickly, whether on a single server (changing resolution, framerate, etc., on all cameras on that server) or multiple servers (setting schedules or changing user rights to multiple servers at once). Expert and Corporate also have a number of more advanced features (such as rules, redundancy, edge storage, multicasting, etc.) that are not covered in this report. Live and Search operations are substantially the same.

XProtect Application Overview

In this video we give a short overview of the XProtect Smart Client and Management Application, how each operates, and which functions are included in each.

Live View

In this set of videos we review live view operations in XProtect Smart Client 2014, including adding and removing cameras to layouts, saving views, instant replay, PTZ controls, and more. 

Adding Cameras to Views 

Milestone XProtect requires users to enter setup mode to add and remove cameras. Any changes made to cameras in the layout revert the next time the view is opened unless saved in setup. 

Removing Cameras

PTZ Controls

PTZ cameras may be controlled via on screen buttons, the mouse, or joystick. PTZ presets are accessed via the bottom menu in the camera pane. Presets are stored either on the server or camera. 

Digital Zoom

Custom Views

Manual Recording

Manual recording may be triggered from the live screen via a buttom on the bottom menu. Manual recording duration is set globally, defaulting to 5 minutes. 

Live View Snapshots

Snapshots may be saved, printed, or copied to clipboard via buttons on the bottom menu. 

Full Screen Mode

Users may remove the top menu and camera tree by pressing either the full screen button, located on the top right of the user interface, or F11 on the keyboard.

Instant Replay/Independent Playback

Independent playback may be initiated from the live view for any camera, via a button on the bottom menu.

Playback

These videos review search and playback using the XProtect Smart Client.

Playback Controls and Options

In this video we review the basic controls used for playback, including forward and reverse playback, frame by frame, and more.

Time Line

We review the timeline, how to select specific times, and start and stop selections for export in this video. 

Recording Search

Recording search lists all recorded sequences from a given camera or cameras along with a pop-up preview so users may select a period of time for further review.

Smart Search

Smart Search is Milestone's pixel based search, allowing users to find changes in specific regions of archived video with adjustable sensitivity and search interval. Searching all frames is most accurate but may be time consuming.

Thumbnail Search

Milestone's thumbnail search is referred to as Sequence Explorer, found on a separate tab from timeline search. Thumbnail size and interval are both configurable.

 

Configuration

Finally, in this set of videos we review configuration of Milestone using the XProtect Management Application.

Camera Discovery

XProtect may detect specific cameras on local networks or other subnets or set to search for all manufacturers. This process may take 5-10 minutes, depending on which manufacturers are selected and how many addresses must be searched.

 

License Activation

Configuring Resolution

In order to change camera resolution, users must click through multiple menus to camera video settings to change resolution, not immediately obvious to untrained users.

 

Configuring Framerate and Recording Mode

Framerate and recording mode may be set individually or globally via template.

Dual Streaming

XProtect Enterprise allows for a second camera stream to be used as a dedicated live stream, configured separately from the recording stream. Corporate and Expert versions allow for more than two streams.

Adding Users and Groups 

User and group rights may be granularly configured with access to specific cameras and applications, live, playback, and setup functions.

Server Side Motion Detection

By default, XProtect runs their built in server side motion detection on all cameras. We analyze how this impacts server CPU load in our VMS Server Load Fundamentals.

Camera Side Motion Detection

Users wishing to use cameras' on-board motion detection must creat motion start and stop events in the VMS, and configure the camera to record on event, not motion.

 

Access Control Integration

XProtect added an access control model earlier in 2014 which allowed for event monitoring of integrated access systems. We cover this in detail in our Genetec and Milestone Access Test. The video below covers the basics of live monitoring:

Camera Integration

XProtect's supported devices list includes over 3,000 cameras and encoders from over a hundred manufacturers, as well as ONVIF Profile S. Support differs slightly between Corporate/Expert and Enterprise/Professional/Etc. versions, but not substantially, and both are kept up to date.

Licensing Costs

Users should refer to Milestone's product overview [link no longer available] for details of specific features supported and third party integrations. 

Maintenance Costs

Software upgrade plans are required if users wish to keep their XProtect installation up to date. Device packs are available without a plan. Costs vary by version, generally amounting to about 18% of base and camera license cost if purchased a year at a time. Multi-year plans reduce this percentage, from about 15% in a 2-year plan to 12% for 5 years.

Channel

XProtect is sold through distribution and direct to certified dealers. Versions up to and including Enterprise are found online and can be purchased without certification. XProtect Expert and Corporate are available only to certified dealers.

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