VMS / NVR / DVR 2009 Mid-Year Market Review

Published Jul 20, 2009 00:00 AM
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Over the first half of 2009, improvements in deployment simplicity was the strongest theme for video management systems. While few to no groundbreaking features were introduced, more than a dozen manufacturers took steps to reduce the complexity of migrating to IP and deploying software.

Coming out of ISC West, widespread hybrid DVR announcements were one of the industry's overall strongest trends. Such developments were viewed both as ways to help customers extend the life of their existing systems and tactics by incumbent manufacturers to stop the switch to IP video software providers.

On the other hand, IP video software providers offered their own advances by releasing or partnering with providers for pre-loaded NVRs. The most discussed entry was Intransa's NVR series that supports 3 of the biggest software providers - Genetec, Milestone and OnSSI. Many welcomed the elimination of setup complexity with others questioned the value given the price point set by Intransa.

July 3rd

Details on Milestone's Universal Driver

Last week, Milestone announced a Universal Driver for IP Cameras [link no longer available]. While there was a lot of reader interest, most people, including myself were confused about what this really means and why Milestone is doing this now. 

This is not an alternative to the PSIA/ONVIF camera specifications. Technically, the technical implementation is limited to Milestone's own system (see their technical FAQ [link no longer available] for some details). It is also not intended to be a general used interface for other VMS providers. Also, the functionalities with the Universal Driver are limited. According to Milestone, "the Universal Driver only provides basic functionality like viewing the video streams, not managing the camera PTZ, events + alarms, I/O connections, etc."

June 26th

Pelco's Expansion of Hybrid DVR Support

This week, Pelco announced that their DX8100 series DVRs will support IP cameras (software version 2.0). Two points of interest: (1) existing units can be field upgraded to add IP camera support and (2) it's free (no payment for as many IP cameras as can be added).

The maximum number of IP cameras that a DX8100 can add will likely be between 2 - 10 (approximate). The actual number depends on the bandwidth consumed by the IP cameras and the specific model of the Dx8100. Pelco says they will publish charts in their specification sheets on this point. The DX8100 will support Pelco's IP cameras (up to 4CIF) as well as Axis cameras (with Firmware 4.xx). Finally, the new software version will include a Resource Manager that will help integrators determine the load of adding in IP cameras. [This is a nice feature rarely available on DVR appliances and likely needed as hybrid DVRs expand.]

Providing free upgrades to IP cameras for this widely used mid-level DVR series will help Pelco retain existing customers and reduce motivation for a more disruptive move to encoders/software only.  I expect to see more incumbents pursue similar tactics.

Cisco IP Cameras Supported by Milestone

Cisco's IP cameras (2500 SD, 4300 HD, 4500 HD) are now supported by Milestone's xProtect VMS (released in Milestone's new 4.3 Device Driver Pack [link no longer available]). Given Milestone's user base, this will be useful for Cisco. Also, given Cisco's VMS only supports SUSE Linux, this allows easier use with Windows OS.

June 19th

Will Genetec/Milestone/OnSSI NVRs be a game changer?

While the trade magazines focused on HDcctv this week, is the Intransa introduction of Genetec/Milestone/OnSSI NVRs the real disruptive force?  A number of important security industry people tell me they believe it is. This interest reflects the limitations and challenges in mainstream security users in handling software only. As I analyzed in this week's report on the introduction, these products are unlikely to be competitive in the analog/under 32 camera market - a huge segment. However, I have no doubt that this is part of a broader trend where most or all of the software only offerings will provide options for NVR/DVR appliance [primarily because the manufacturers have pre-briefed me on upcoming releases].

Add-On Services for VMS Providers

VMS vendors and integrators are both looking for new services to offer (recurring revenue, etc.) This week, VideoInsight released a series of interesting documents describing their offering including:

  • Live monitoring starting at $25 per camera per month [link no longer available]
  • Health monitoring $450 per server per year [link no longer available] 
  • Extensive list of maintenance fees [link no longer available] 

June 12th

Examining Agilence's LP Retail Offering

Agilence is a LP Solutions / NVR provider that recently received an investment from Pelco's parent company [link no longer available]. This investment was an addition to their Series B which they raised last November. Schneider's investor stated that they saw potential synergies between Agilence and Pelco's products.

Agilence provides advanced Loss Prevention solutions for retailers through the use of integrated PoS integration, Exception Based Reporting and on-staff analysts. While Agilence offers their own NVR, they support a variety of 3rd party VMS systems including Panasonic, NICE, Pelco and AD Intellex. With existing DVRs, their software can be run on Windows PCs - either existing in the retailer or a stand-alone unit.

Key strengths include: (1)real-time, item by item synchronization of PoS data with video and (2) offering on-staff analysts to review the data/video to find security or operational problems. Their on-staff analysts are most attractive to smaller retailers (50 stores or less). A total of about 25-30% of their customers use Agilence's analysts.

See a presentation for details, metrics and business case [link no longer available] for their offering.

The potential I see for Agilence is that most VMS providers (DVRs or IP video software) tend to do PoS integration as a feature/addition. Agilence may be able to provide enhanced loss reduction by optimizing their service for retailers and complimenting DVRs.

Evaluation on TimeSight Systems

The PSA has released a evaluation TimeSight Systems VMS product [link no longer available]. It's an interesting read and good insight into how a large organization like the PSA conducts its evaluation.

The reviewer concludes on Timesight: "This is an extended storage solution versus a video management solution. In it’s present version it’s narrowly focused but focused well."

This is the risk of Timesight we have discussed: Is it good enough as an overall VMS or is it simply a feature (storage optimization) that better belongs to other VMSes?

June 6th

Examining Statistics for Free IP Video Software

The poll from our free IP video software report provided interesting results. Of 126 responses, over 50% said they sometimes or always recommend the use of free IP video software.

I am surprised that this number is that high but it does show the growth in acceptance of free IP video software in the last 5 years. In 2004, basically no one would have recommended it as there will little to no free offerings in the market.

The most common objection from readers is that free software is not good enough today. While I think that's largely true, the point is not about today but how that trend will grow in the future. The potential growth is what companies should be more focused on as they examine future plans.

Expanding Support Services for IP Video Software

The complexity of IP Video software demands causes difficulties for many integrators (especially relative to the simplicity of DVRs). This week, Milestone announced two new programs -  STAR [link no longer available] and ICON [link no longer available] - that provides services to audit and certify IP video installations. While likely helpful for large projects, ultimately IP video deployments need to be simplified so the cost and need for these services is reduced. We discussed the phenomenon a few weeks ago in the discussion, Are You Too Stupid for IP Video? 

May 29th

How to Sell Cisco Video Surveillance

Recently, Cisco released an 8 page guide for their partners on how to sell Cisco video surveillance for small and medium size businesses. Most of it is standard IP video marketing. 

The most noteworthy aspect was their stressing that their VMS software was free (while competitors charged up to $1500). I am not sure which competitors they were referring to (probably Axis) as most small tomedium sized offerings provide free software up to 16 channels.

Range of PoS Support from i3DVR

Manufacturers love to talk about being an open platform and how they can integrate with anything. Unfortunately, they rarely do as much as they claim when it comes to the hundreds of systems that are out there. Recently, i3DVR released a datasheet detailing their 3rd party PoS integations [link no longer available].

Even if you are not interested in PoS, take a look at the sheet. The sheer number of systems and the variety of different interfaces needed should demonstrate the complexity of 3rd party integration.

May 22nd

What is the Price for IP Video Software?

This week, Salient System released a new product offering, called ONE [link no longer available], that offers their IP video software without enterprise management functionality (they now have 3 tiers of products/pricing).  The MSRP for ONE is $125 USD per channel. They also offer a PRO series which provides enterprise management for an MSRP of $225 USD per channel.

This brings up two important points about IP video software - tiering price levels and the value of enterprise management.

MSRP around $100 USD seems to be the common price point for IP video software licenses without enterprise management (e.g., Axis Cam Station, LuxRiot, NUUO are all in this range). [Note: there are other similar product offerings that are free but these are usually only for use with the vendor's own IP cameras (e.g., ACTi, Mobotix, IndigoVision, Vicon, etc.]

By contrast, MSRP around $200 USD seems to be the common price point for IP video software with enterprise management. However, this can go significantly higher depending on the level of 3rd party integration and advanced functionalities included.

Enterprise management - the ability to centrally access, view and manage video resources - is probably the most important element. It's a feature that only a limited number of providers currently offer. However, this is changing and I would expect over a dozen providers to have it by next year (as the market grows).

Examining March Networks Financial Results

March Networks released their Jan-Apr 2009 results, reporting a 2% increase in revenue compared to a year ago. These are non-GAAP numbers and only limited details were provided so it's hard to be conclusive in interpreting these numbers. 

The most important issue for March is the integration of the Cieffe acquisition and their transition to IP video software vendor. This is still in progress. 

I have begun testing March's HD camera and using March's software. I will have more to report in the future.

Overview of ByRemote's Strategy

ByRemote is one of the first companies to enter Managed Video/ Video Surveillance as a Service. Given the high level of interest in this area, I recently spoke with them to learn more about their business strategy / technical offering.

ByRemote has their own VMS software. The provide 2 offerings: hosted, where cameras are directly connected to their software running in their data center and managed, where an appliance with ByRemote's software is loaded on a PC local to the cameras. The MSRP per camera starts at about $20 per month.

ByRemote sells only through dealers (prior to Jan 2008, they sold direct). ByRemote is building a network of dealers who sells the service to end users. Dealers can set their own prices and sell the cameras (the cameras are in addition to the $20 per month).

ByRemote offers continuous recording at a default rate of 1 frame per second. They say they commonly support 4-6 cameras per site with these settings. ByRemote does not use Axis STS.

Setting up IP cameras with ByRemote requires setting up DDNS and port forwarding to enable ByRemote to connect to cameras remotely.

I think this approach, using dealers and requiring on-site setup, will be a niche play. I think the best probability of success for hosted video surveillance is to sell direct, online only and bundle in the cameras for the cost of the subscription. Right now, at $20 per camera plus the cost of the camera and install, the economics are not extremely attractive relative to traditional video surveillance offerings.

Details of new embedded Exacq DVR

Exacq has released a datasheet on its new embedded line [link no longer available] - the ExacqVision EL. As I mentioned at ISC West, I think this product offering has very strong potential: fully hybrid, low cost (MSRP for 16 channels at or lower than $5,000 USD), Linux based and you can mix and match these appliances with Exacq's software only offering. I think the Exacq EL may become the best of the appliance offerings that are coming to market from the IP video software providers.

May 15th

Overview of Acuity - New IP Video Manufacturer

Acuity is a new video surveillance company (1-2 years old) founded by Pelco and AD veterans gaining recent press attention. I received a company overview and live demo from them this week. Here are my initial observations:

Acutiy provides video management software and NVR appliances running only on Linux. They are positioned themselves to compete against IP video surveillance providers such as Genetec, OnSSI and Milestone. I see 3 primary ways they are trying to differentiate: (1) providing their own suite of video analytics, (2) deeply integrating the use and management of video analytics in their user interface and (3) providing security oriented feature and performance enhancements (that leverage their Pelco and AD experience).

Since this was an introductory call, I do not know the specifics nor have I tested the product. The key things to examine in considering Acuity are (1) given that the product is fairly new, how mature and broad are the feature offerings relative to significantly older products and (2) as with all analytics how well do they perform in the field.

May 8th

3VR in Search of Funding

According to VB Research [link no longer available], 3VR is seeking up to $15 M USD in new funding. To date, they have raised a total of $30 M USD. 3VR forecasts 2009 revenue of $15M - $20M USD. Actual 2008 revenue was not disclosed and it is reasonable to assume that it was lower than the 2009 forecast.

Many video surveillance companies, especially the newer IP companies, are in the $5 - $25 M USD annual revenue range. To give a rough sense of comparison, US IP video software supplier Lensec reports 2007 annual revenue of $10M USD, European NVR manufacturer Mirasys reports 2007 annual revenue of $11 M USD, and Genetec reports 2006 annual revenue of $16M USD. Genetec's 2009 revenue must be far higher than 2006 - it's likely double or triple that, given their strong growth. Also, it's hard to compare companies simply by revenue because some are primarily appliance providers while others are primarily software, generating far different margins at the same revenue level.

Video Collection from Milestone Systems

Milestone is building a fairly large collection of videos featuring their executives, partners and speakers at their events. See their directory of videos. Particularly interesting videos include those of their executives, including their CEO discussing how they never sell direct [link no longer available] to end users (which is a controversial but increasing tactic by video surveillance manufacturers).

May 2nd

How Complex is Setting up IP Video Software?

One of the interesting dynamics I see in the industry is between those who are used to deploying DVRs and those who deploy IP video software. As someone who has deployed both, I find IP video to be dramatically more complex. Complexity is not a bad thing, especially when it provides you with more power. However, it does increase cost and forces your people to be stronger technically.

To give you an idea of some of the complications with IP, take a look at a recent blog post on setting up Cisco wireless IP cameras and optimizing security on Cisco's IP video management software [link no longer available]. They both require command line configuration and Linux/Cisco IOS knowledge. That's fine for system administrators and network engineers.  It's also fine if you expect those people to take over running video surveillance.

The big problem is economics. Security techs are less skilled in IT but they tend to be far cheaper and capable of configuring traditional analog security systems in very short time periods. I remain skeptical of the willingness of end users to significantly increase labor costs for video surveillance. Indeed, I know many of the manufacturers who came in from IT are painfully finding out about the reluctance to increase spending and resources on video surveillance.

Examining OnSSI as a PSIM Provider

OnSSI continues to expand its market position to be a PSIM provider. This week, they shared a new video that overviews their PSIM solution with an example in the education market. Essentially, their Ocularis software will provide PSIM functionality and work with their and other security systems.

While OnSSI certainly has an advantage with its existing customer base and theirpartnership with Lenel, the challenge will be for OnSSI to expand the third party support that current PSIM providers already have.

Note: the OnSSI video is being hosted on my YouTube account. OnSSI sent me a link to an executable. I extracted the video and uploaded it. I am happy to do this for any vendor as it is quick and makes it much easier for others to access and see the video. I recommend the use of YouTube or other video sharing sites.

April 24th

Deep Drop in Q1 DVR Sales?

One of the most interesting gossip / discussions at SecuTech was the steep drop in sales for many Asian DVR manufacturers in Q1. A number of manufacturers and their partners commented that 30-40% sales drops were common. A few others said that sales were steady to slightly down. Given the lack of publicly, audited statements, it's hard to get an accurate picture. However, it does seem clear that at least some DVR manufacturers have been hit hard.

The best theory I heard was that a number of weaker Western distributors and re-sellers are under significant financial pressure due to the economic crisis. In response, they reduced inventory and had weaker sales. This could be a leading indicator of some of the marginal providers exiting the business.

Reviewing Bosch's President Remarks on Industry Outlook

Bosch Security President Gert van Ipeeren presented at SecuTech (watch the recorded webinar [link no longer available] from ASMAG). Key points presented:

  • Expects 2009 security sales decline of 5% globally, 10% in US and 2% in Asia
  • Distributors have been reducing stock to improve cash position
  • Encouraged manufacturers to diversify manufacturing and development to hedge against currency changes (probably useful only for the biggest companies)
  • Commented that our industry needs to face the fact that after many years of constant growth, "our industry is not growing anymore." While I believe he was alluding to the entire security market, certainly the fast growth era cannot be taken for granted even in IP video (as Axis' results show).
  • Commented that companies have been forced to scale down due to over capacity
  • Acknowledged that there was 'quite some price pressure'

Nuuo - the Milestone of Asia?

One of these Taiwanese companies that is increasingly focused on building their brand is Nuuo, a video management manufacturer. Nuuo develops IP video software, DVR/NVR appliances and DVR cards. Nuuo claims to support 600 models of IP cameras, more than Milestone (while this may or may not be true, Nuuo certainly has very broad IP camera support).

At SecuTech, Nuuo had a large booth right near the entrance of the show. Nuuo is focused solely on video management and says they have no plans to expand into cameras. The company was founded in 2004 and has over 100 developers.

Read out test results of NUUO's IP Video Software.

HiKVision Strategy and Position

While many are familiar with HiKVision [link no longer available] as an OEM of DVR cards and DVR appliances, HikVision is expanding into a full IP video offering and strengthening its branded business. HikVision reports 2008 revenue of $260M USD with 70% of revenue from China. They claim to have 50% market share in China as well. The company reports 1400 employees with over 400 in R&D. Established in 2001, they are an outgrowth of China's National Research Institute. Currently, they primarily do direct sales in emerging markets.

They currently offer a moderate range of IP cameras with resolutions up to 2 MP. They offer IP video management software in addition to DVRs and hybrid NVRs. The software is fairly elegantly designed (especially relative to stereotypes of Chinese software) and is provided free for use with their IP cameras. Their software currently only supports their IP cameras. HikVision's IP cameras are priced at a similar range to ACTi. The cameras only are supported by a limited number of 3rd party VMS providers though they report they are close to implementations with a number of large VMS providers.

Cisco Re-Structuring in Video Surveillance

Cisco has conducted a limited re-structuring with the goal of fostering a singular platform for video surveillance. The plan, underway, is to unify the two technologies acquired from SyPixx and Broadware. Development efforts are being concentrated in their Northern California offices. Cisco reiterated their commitment to video surveillance and mentioned that, if anything, the importance of video surveillance is growing within Cisco.

April 17th

Examining Price Points for Hybrid DVRs

Over the last few years, the MSRP of 16 channel enterprise DVRs were in the $7,000 to $9,000 range (AD, Verint, March, etc. - products that offered 3rd party integration, centralized management, etc).

In the last few months, with new product announcements and the maturation of newer entrants (like Exacq, 3xLogic, Airship, etc.), the price points for hybrid enterprise DVRs is now falling toward or below $5,000 MSRP.

The other important aspect of falling price points is that all of these units support a fairly broad range of IP cameras, making them very attractive as migration options (see the review of 3xLogic below).

If you are a dealer or buyer of hybrid DVRs, you should be evaluating the prices you be re-evaluating the prices you pay. Competitors, of course, should also take note.

Cernium Expanding into QSRs

new job posting by Cernium indicates that they will be selling their new Archerfishvideo analytics appliance to Quick Serve Restaurants. They are looking to close franchise agreements with large fast food companies like McDonald's and Subway.

QSRs are well known for being cost conscious on video surveillance so it will be interesting to see how Cernium builds their value proposition. The early marketing around Archerfish was about homeowners/small business people getting alerts when they are away. See an interview with Cernium's CEO [link no longer available] where he indicates current pricing is $1495 for a 4 channel analytic appliance with 2 cameras.

Will this appliance become a DVR? I think it is going to have to if they are to sell in the competitive QSR market.

Reviewing 3xLogic's Product Offering

3xLogic tells me they are growing quickly and given their product lineup and pricing, I believe them. They used to be an OEM (CSI Technologies) and in the last year or so, they have begun marketing under their own brand.

3xLogic manufacturers hybrid DVR appliances that support a broad range of megapixel cameras and PoS interfaces plus offers their own CODEC to reduce the bandwidth and storage costs of megapixel cameras. See a list of 10 points they consider differentiators. They are doing a test at a McDonald's and are displaying the use of an Arecont megapixel camera in the order area.

Pricing is very attractive. For instance, the MSRP on a 16 Channel, 480 FPS, 500 GB Video, 250GB O/S, Tower Case is $4,529. That's MSRP for a unit that's fully hybrid. Many manufacturer's dealer cost is that.

Given that they were OEMs previously and do not have a large existing analog base, they are in a strong position to offer competitive products for today's pressing needs (the migration to IP at low cost and broad camera choice) rather than stick to older offerings at higher prices.

Overview of Vicon's IP Strategy

I spoke with Vicon this week. Vicon was a powerful analog company years ago but is fairly marginalized  today. It was only a brief introductory discussion but there were a few interesting points.

Vicon is selling software only in addition to appliances. They now OEM Agent Vi and S2 for analytics and access, respectively.

Vicon is giving software licenses away for free for any Vicon IP camera. This is similar to the model that Geovision, IndigoVision and Mobotix use.

April 10th

Milestone on Standards

This is an excerpt of the standards review in the new product report: In a video interview, Milestone's CEO said they 'will welcome when ready' and they are 'contributing members' to the PSIA/ONVIF but they will not push very hard because it is 'not in the interest of [Milestone] in the short term.' This may not be 'politically correct' but it makes perfect sense for Milestone.

I expect larger IP video manufacturers to delay and de-prioritize rolling out support for specifications. Milestone's the only company to publicly indicate this but that's more likely because of their honesty than because they are alone.

Cisco Upcoming Solution for Video Surveillance

Recently, Cisco's physical security team has been mentioning MediaNet (see an interview with Cisco at SSN). This week, a Cisco partner explained the benefits of MediaNet for Video Surveillance. Basically, MediaNet makes the network intelligent simplifying the network configuration of new video surveillance devices and optimizing the quality of video streaming. MediaNet is a major Cisco initiative aimed at service providers and enterprises for telespresence, video conferencing, broadcast entertainment and IP video surveillance (See the Cisco main page on MediaNet and a webcast discussing why Cisco thinks MediaNet is not just hype).

DvTel Demos

Recently, two videos were released demoing DVTel: integrating Mate with DVTel and an overview of the new DVTel user interface

Envysion Demos

Envysion has released a directory of product demos. Envysion provides managed video which is quickly becoming a hot topic. Envysion's client UI is web based. The UI is fairly powerful relative to the traditional weak web based UIs in security (Envysion's heavily uses AJAX, the same approach common in Web 2.0 sites). I recommend the report generation, my clips and my groups as those features are not commonly available in other VMS systems. 

Salient Server Calculation

Salient has introduced a server sizing calculator. One thing I find particularly useful is that they size not only storage but the number of IP cameras that can run on a given server. How many IP cameras can run on a server is one of the most difficult and common problems integrators face. The answer is generally dependent on a variety of factors, making it hard to simply calculate. However, it's a crucial question to ensure servers are not overloaded.

Mar 27th

What does the Milestone - OnSSI partnership actually mean? "OnSSI and Milestone have signed an ‘ingredient OEM’ agreement." The press release [link no longer available] is available on both company's sites. Unfortunately, this announcement is not clear about the nature and specifics of the relationship. Discussions with both companies did not resolve this. OnSSI and Milestone should publicly clarify the nature of their relationship. Their relationship has been a source of confusion and debate for years (this is partially addressed in my OnSSI Ocularis reviewfrom last fall). In 2009, IP Video is mainstream, both of them are now large companies and they sell in the same markets. Both companies champion the value of being open. They should be open and clear publicly so that partners and end users can simplify their product and partner evaluations.

A look at Honeywell New Hybrid/IP Product Offering

In another sign that everyone is offering hybrid IP, Honeywell announced a new product offering [link no longer available] for IP, megapixel and hybrid VMS. I don't know the details of Honeywell's offering. One immediate question that should be asked is how many third party IP cameras do they support. Many traditional analog vendors have limited support here.

Examine Hardware Offerings from Salient

Salient is an IP video software vendor that offers both software and hybrid appliances. Salient recently added datasheets on their hardware appliance [link no longer available] offerings. Note: Salient's CEO is a long-standing key member of the SIA Video standards process. This is not simply a vendor trying to lock customers into proprietary hardware. The customer demand for providing booth drives this.

Overview of Sony's NVR/VMS

I spoke with Sony this week and they emphasized their focus on selling solutions (cameras, analytics, software, recorders, monitors) rather than products (e.g., being simply a camera vendor). I am skeptical of the customer value of solutions. While I appreciate that selling solutions means more revenue per customer for vendors, the solution needs to deliver more value than simply buying the individual components from multiple vendors. Looking at the Sony NVR/VMS I did not see a high degree of value. Sony has NVR and hybrid NVRs as well as VMS software. It's fairly expensive and lacks many of the high end 3rd party integration features one expects from premium priced products. Expect to see Sony to focus on more solution selling but also be skeptical to how well it may work.

Mar 13th

S2 Product Roadmap /Video Integration

I spoke with John Moss today and got an update on S2. There are 3 upcoming important announcements: (1) thevideo widget, (2) the small site offering (Pronto) and the (3) global offering (not on the website but will provide centralized management across the various S2 product offerings). The video widget is designed to make video integration into S2's client interface easier and more functional. It uses AJAX/Web 2.0 technologies to embed into their web client. They are including an 'explorer widget' that provides a sandbox for third party developers to write their own HTML/javascript code to run inside the S2 web client. On the PSIM side, S2 has definite plans to increase the knowledge management functionalities in their offerings. I see this pattern repeatedly among video and access vendors who continue to add in 'PSIM type' functionalities.

Mar 6th

Examining Intransa's positioning and evolving storage strategy: Intransa and Pivot3 continue to market aggressively their storage solutions. One major positioning difference is that Intransa is focusing more heavily on small camera count deployments and upgrading DVRs. Specifically, they have a relatively new offering called the StarterBlock that starts as low as 2TB - 4TB. It's an interesting approach especially now since customers are going to push to extend the life of their existing systems. This can help hybrid DVR manufacturers in their arguments to keep their products, add in IP/megapixel cameras and simply add the additional storage to the Intransa storage array. The big challenge/alternative to Intransa will be the use of low-cost NAS arrays - the type of consumer devices that you may use personally. These NAS frequently offer RAID and can provide 4TB for around $1,000 in contrast to Intransa where a similar solution would be closer to $5,000. Certainly, Intransa provides more in terms of scalability, throughput, manageability, etc. The question, though, is it worth the extra cost for you?

February 27th

Cisco Joins ONVIF

This week, Cisco (and Panasonic) were announced as new members of ONVIF [link no longer available] - the Axis led IP camera specification group. I was pretty surprised by this, mainly because Cisco contributed the original specification to the PSIA. Honestly, I have been ignoring the standards process for the last few weeks (I see the economic meltdown as more important).  However, I do not see this as a good sign for the standards process as it confuses the situation further. I think the recession will hurt the standards process (at least temporarily) as manufacturers shift their development resources to winning more immediate deals rather than working on long term projects (like non-standard standards).

Cisco Not Going to ISC West

See Steve Hunt's post [link no longer available]. It's a certain sign of retreat for Cisco. Worse, it's a bad tactical move. It's not worth the hundred thousand saved for the significantly bad publicity they are going to take for this. Rightly or wrongly, security users and integrators will take this as a signal that (1) Cisco is not committed to the space and that (2) Cisco is not doing well. Cisco e-mailed me and explained that their physical security team is attending, they will be presenting, speaking and showing their products in approximately 20 company's booths.

March Networks Financial Results

March's Oct-Dec 08 results are in and they are pretty good. March is claiming 12% growth for the quarter [link no longer available]. However, it's probably slightly misleading. In their powerpoint [link no longer available], it looks like this year's revenue includes Cieffe revenue while the previous year's did not. Without that, it looks like March's revenue shrank slightly (maybe 5% or so). That being said, relatively speaking, it's not bad at all (given the sharp drops 20-40% in growth that many IP video manufacturers are experiencing). Also encouraging is the fact that they have been expanding their customer base beyond Wal-Mart. As I mentioned recently, if and when they can get Cieffe and March integrated, they could be a significant threat to Genetec/Milestone.

Digiop Partners With Dell

Digiop officially announced their partnership with Dell [link no longer available]. Dell provides the hardware and the ongoing support for Digiop's hybrid VMS. It's an interesting approach that is likely to appeal to IT departments as well provide simplicity for the traditional security integrator. See a video for more on the Dell/Digiop offering [link no longer available].

GIS Management System for Geovision: Picked up an interesting new page from Geovision's website where they claim to offer a client that shows real time GPS updates from Geovision mobile DVRs [link no longer available]. Geovision continues to interest me because they combine the Taiwanese focus on low cost with a number of advanced software features. The knock on Chinese/Taiwanese equipment is always "yeah it's cheaper but it's less advanced". Geovision is offering a very broad range of video analytics for free and now provide GIS functionalities. The economy may make the Geovision approach increasingly attractive, especially with Geovision's more sophisticated software functionalities.

February 20th

Size of VMS Customer Base

Last week, Milestone announced they have over 45,000 total customers, adding 1,000 new customer per month with at least 1 customer per month of over 1,000 cameras. Also last week, 3VR announced they have over 600 total customers.