Network Optix/Digital Watchdog VMS Tested

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jun 06, 2016

Network Optix is one of the few VMS startups of the past few years (sold in North America exclusively as DW Spectrum), differentiating itself with a novel client packed with uncommon features, claiming "Advanced IP Video Management. Made Simple." 

But is this just hype or does Nx Witness really stand apart from the VMS pack?

Inside, we cover live viewing, search, export, configuration, and more, to find out.

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Comments (87)

We've just started using Spectrum, we've deployed four systems and have been happy so far. I agree that it's enterprise capabilities are limited, fortunately, for us, this isn't much of an issue.

At first, I was annoyed with the lack of camera side motion support. But the rep explained to me that they prefer us to use server side as it indexes all of the motion and helps to improve their recording/motion playback capabilities. Now that we've used it for a while, I am totally satisfied with his answer.

The flexible layouts are cool, but there's too much space between each window. I feel like this is a waste of valuable screen real-estate.

Hi John - You can right click on the layouts window and choose "Change Cell Spacing" or simply press the control key and scroll to dynamically adjust space between viewing cells on a layout.

I take back my last comment....thanks.

Hi John,

Great to read your words of approval.

In fact Nx Layouts are even more flexible than you think at the moment.
Default space between cameras can be varied for each one of them by:

  • Right-clicking the layout free space -> Change Cell Spacing -> (one of suggested options)
  • In Client hold "Ctlr" key and scroll the mouse wheel
  • After that you are free to save the layout in order not to lose the setting

By the way, we're going to decrease "default" Cell Spacing in the future versions.

Sergey,

NX Witness 2.6 was just released. I have 2 questions:

1. Has the "Backup" feature been fixed to perform a COMPLETE backup onto the local NAS? I only migrated one customer over to v2.5 for this reason and yet the system only backs up 90% of the total footage to the archive.

The entire purpose of a backup is to have 100% of the footage on the NAS in the event of a server crash (Hard drive failure).

2. Will a 3rd IOS/Android app be needed to use 2.6 on the Iphone and Android? Currently customers with multi-sites have to switch between 2 apps to see their cameras. I hope that DW/NX created a SINGLE app that can handle 2.4/2.5/2.6

Thank you kindly!

1) We have many sites including our own demo with no such issue.
It looks like an issue(maybe bug) related to your specific setup. You simply can create a support ticket and we would be glad to investigate it.

2) we only have 2 apps. old app is only needed for versions older that 2.4( including 2.4). Moving forward only one app is needed.

Manufacture#6:

Are you saying that when you enable "scheduled" backup recording, it backs up 100% of the footage onto the NAS (Under Backup Storage Locations)????

I have a message that says "Archive backup is completed up to: Wed Aug 31 2016 5:41:35pm (5 week(s) before now).

That means that 5 weeks reside on the local drive (not desired).

If yours completes a 100% NAS backup, then I will contact support immediately.

Thanks!

Ethan,

You can search events and view associated videos with it in Event log, which is available form main menu.

Love the software, wish it wasnt exclusive to digital watchdog. We have a hard time re-selling with a competitors name on it.

Hi Ethan - thanks for putting in the time to do this review.

A few things in your review which we'd like to clarify here at Nx:

Nx Witness' search is relatively limited compared to many VMSes in that it lacks event search (unless events are bookmarked) and thumbnails operate differently (simply showing a preview of the timeline, but not dynamically changing in scale).

Thumbnails adapt to the time being displayed on the timeline. So, for example, if you scroll into the timeline the thumbnails will adapt to reflect the time being displayed in real-time. Or, for another example - if you choose a specific date/time using the calendar search the timeline instantly updates to the chosen time period and the thumbnails will also update. Additionally, they adapt not only horizontally but vertically as the user adjusts the size of the thumbnail.

Events can be searched in the Event Log - accessible by clicking on the Event Log button on the Notifications Panel.

There's also Keyword Search - which searches all live videos by name, model, MAC address, manufacturer and even offline files by name or type.

Oh - and Preview Search - which allows users to drill down into specific areas of the timeline by launching a layout that splits the selected time frame into smaller chunks and can be executed continuously to a minimum time of 10 secs.

One more thing of note is that with Nx Witness' server side motion indexing we can search an entire year's worth of recording in less than 1 second. Yep. Less than 1 second. So we think it's worth the extra 1-2% of CPU usage a user gets when running our server-side motion detection.

Nx Witness allows synchronized multi-camera export with a standalone executable player, common in integrator favorite VMSes, though not found in some others. The export player is essentially a local only version of the Nx Witness client, with all the same playback features.

The executable is not local-only. An exported executable can connect back to any live system, just like the full client. Which we believe is a unique feature.

Nx Witness does not include a simple way to grant/restrict access to specific cameras or servers via configuration. Instead, users are restricted in what cameras they may view by layouts. Those without administrative rights may only see those cameras which are assigned to them in a layout. They cannot see other servers or cameras.

This may be tedious to manage for multi-site customers, as layouts must be continuously updated for different sites/user rights as cameras are added or changed, instead of simply being able to grant/deny access to cameras.

Users are granted access to the cameras/devices on the layouts that are shared with them. Users can then use those cameras to create additional layouts for themselves. They are not limited to the layouts that were originally shared with them.

Fisheye Camera Handling

Something which you did not note/possibly did not know about is that Nx Witness can be used to dewarp still images or pre-recorded videos in addition to live videos. Kinda special.

Timeline Scrolling Distraction
The timeline of Nx Witness distractingly scrolls left at the bottom of the client, displayed by default. With thumbnails displayed (during playback), the timeline is even larger and more distracting, making it more difficult to focus on video. Other VMSes display this timeline in some views, but typically smaller/less obtrusive.

The timeline automatically hides when not in use and can - like all menus in Nx Witness - be hidden by the user at any time. Not sure how this makes it 'more difficult to focus on video'. It's there when you need it and gone/hide-able when you are not actively moving your mouse around the screen. All menus can be pinned/unpinned depending on the operator's preference.

Also surprised not to see any performance commentary. Typically one of our largest compliments is the responsiveness of the system.

Few advanced integrations: Nx Witness has little direct support for third-party systems such as analytics, access control, LPR, etc. Events may be integrated through generic TCP strings but this requires manual configuration.

The HTTP CreateEvent API allows users to integrate any 3rd party system by simply sending an HTTP string (not a TCP string) to any server in an Nx Witness system. It's simple to do - we have a video showing how here.

Additionally - every Nx Witness system comes with the full set of API and SDK documentation built right in and accessible in a Server's Web Interface.

Currently we have integrations to Paxton, RBH, RS2, VCA Technology, Veracity's Coldstore and AllgoVision that we're aware of. The great thing about Nx Witness is that we have many clients that we know have created integrations of their own - completely independent of our support other than the occasional dev support email sent to our team at http://support.networkoptix.com.

I could go on about how many features were not listed here (Audit Trail, Storage Backup, Tabbed Layouts, Customizable Client Interface, One-Click System-Wide Updates, Live Video Text Overlay, Video Wall, etc) - but I think that will be covered in the comments section here by some of our users/own employees. We're quite passionate about making sure everybody knows the full set of features we have and we welcome any questions about why we do something a certain way.

Thanks Tony I would add that the Multi Server video is very misleading with headers like "User Rights Cannot Be Specified for Certain Cameras / Servers" - its just done thru layouts and the really cool thing is they change in real time as the admin makes changes. The video is also unclear that layouts can include cameras from any server in the system and that the Record Schedule can be copied to any and all cameras in the system - across multiple servers !

Finally, to your point on features not listed I'll add the Storage Analytic feature in the Server Settings.

Sorry have to add regarding "Configuration Spread Through Client" - we think its beneficial that its all in the Client and does not require second Admin application.

Also you would think that the single cross platform all-inclusive version with updates included at no additional cost (!) would be a Key Finding !!!

we think its beneficial that its all in the Client and does not require second Admin application.

But there are VMSes that actually have admin/config built in to the single VMS client and have a clearly defined section to display and access admin? For example, Exacq:

I get that since you use it all the time, having config options mostly hidden, requiring to know where to go and click / right click is not a big deal. For most users, putting all admin functionalities in a single section where a viewer scan scan the list makes it far easier to figure out where to go.

And you can still have the existing options just make it easy for the 90% of people who are not going to be using this daily to be able to find everything easily. yes/no?

I understand being early to market has its advantages and other solutions have their way. That does not make it the right way, just their way.

The feedback I get when comes to "making it easier" is DW Spectrum exceeds expectations.

"That does not make it the right way, just their way."

There are UI principles and design patterns, it's not simply opinion. Core to UI is making navigation visible for new and infrequent users. To the contrary, forcing them to figure out that they need to right click on different elements is poor design, period.

Here is an example from our calculator. For doing actions on our cameras, we support both the hidden right click (which is what we as power users always use) but we also support a visible camera dropdown on the main nav bar that shows the same functionality.

I said 'why don't you do both to make power and novice users happy', you responded 'people like us, go away.' That's not good UI design nor persuasive.

Hi John -

Here's my two cents on why we put our menus where they are currently. Keep in mind I'm not arguing that your way or our way is better - but that different opinions do exist and, as all things UX, there is no absolute consensus on a "correct way". The most important part of UX, to me, is consistency in behavior. Choose a method - and stick with it. Like Google's Material Design approach, for example. Consistency of UX brings familiarity and increases the operator's effectiveness as they become familiar with the approach - which is what I think you're arguing above.

  • Our (Nx's) general approach to menus is that we want to put them as close in proximity to the object they are related to as possible. While traditional VMS's may not do this I think our approach makes us more usable because it requires less operator training - part of our goal to be instantly usable. If you right click on something - e.g. a camera in the Resource Panel, a live camera on the Viewing Grid, or the Timeline - you get a context menu with actions related to that item....what could be easier than that? Also - I'm not sure if you noticed - but all of our dialogs operate independently of the client itself - so you can choose camera and launch recording settings, then choose another camera without changing the dialog it will automatically switch to the newly selected camera. Or you can even select multiple cameras and apply cameras across settings. These are things which can we can do by having object-oriented menus.
  • Alternatively the problem we see with a completely centralized approach to menus is that it then requires the operator to learn the jargon of the VMS they are using and understand the relationships between all components in order to effectively navigate a centralized settings list. It also requires a completely secondary interface - which takes users away from the monitoring screen. So I'd say we have an opposite understanding of usability on this point. While you guys may be experts in video management because of our exposure to so many legacy systems and prefer a centralized list to find and tweak all of your settings the vast majority of users - especially end-users - are more likely to enjoy our object-oriented approach. At least that's the feedback we consistently get. Which, of course, comes from new or potential new users and partners.

In general, though, we constantly strive to make our menus more easily understood. I think it's a challenge all software companies face as they get more complex and feature rich over time.

The most important part of UX, to me, is consistency in behavior.

That's a poor way of prioritizing UX.

Consistency is better than randomness but if you 'consistently' make fundamental things hard to find, that's poor UX.

part of our goal to be instantly usable. If you right click on something

Right clicking = hidden. By its very definition, it is not visible and requires knowing or magically guessing that a feature is hidden at that spot.

the problem we see with a completely centralized approach

Total strawman representation of what I said. As I said in my response above, the recommendation is to support both, e.g.:

"we support both the hidden right click (which is what we as power users always use) but we also support a visible camera dropdown"

I give it you, though. You and the Network Optix team are consistent, consistent in making excuses and pushing aside the feedback you are getting.

John,

with all respect, I believe that NX team is not pushing aside feedback we are getting. Too loud statement. We are sitting here with UX designer going through this thread. Again, thanks for your input.

I see your point, too, John. But I just feel that your average user isn't going to be doing server admin or camera settings. That will be either a company admin or the integrator tech, both of which should know the product well enough to know where everything is located.

Your day to day end user will likely never need those menus, so I'm glad they are hidden away. Less likely that they will mess with them.

But not enough every tech is going to be using the VMS regularly either. In many integrators, you have 1 or handful of specialists who know VMS inside and out and use it often, but there are generally X times the number of other techs that will have to periodically use the VMS. For those people, it is going to be a problem. And even for people who use it regularly, it is still more cognitive load than having a single visible spot where all admin functions can be accessed and scanned at once.

It's just poor UI design, easy to address, and not something worth defending.

"Your day to day end user will likely never need those menus, so I'm glad they are hidden away. Less likely that they will mess with them. "

Shouldn't menus that regular users shouldn't be getting too be restricted rather than relying on them being hidden away? Or did I misread something....

You did. They won't have access to these menus. They don't see the server tree. The system menu is greatly reduced. And the camera menu is layout centric only.

You're on the right track here John.

I install & use Nx, and like it, and so do my customers.

However I often have to menu hunt, because I can't remember the context of the setting I want to check or change.

The tree view of all settings would be very useful.

Can you explain more about Storage Analytic ?

What is it and how it works ?

You just saved me 15 mins. I was coming to follow up myself, but you beat me to it.

BTW - DW Site Viewer™ for Apple TV now includes DW Spectrum support

Which is awesome, but I don't like that I am left out of the loop on RMR from the customer. They should have a license key to sell me that I can activate at the server or just give it away for free. Charging via the app store gives me 0 incentive to push it.

Something which you did not note/possibly did not know about is that Nx Witness can be used to dewarp still images or pre-recorded videos in addition to live videos. Kinda special.

Is dewarping recorded video more technically challenging than live?

Ethan,

I would also add, that the Camera Rules can be accessed in the Camera Settings section, its not necessary to go back to the Site Tree, as the video describes. As with most thing in DW Spectrum there is more than one way to access things, including all the hot keys.

Camera Rules

No single configuration interface: Configuration options are spread through different menus, with no central location to configure the system. This may be confusing for new or occasional users, or even those frequently using the system, as they must remember which options are in a given menu.

I'm not sure if I would want all of the settings on one single page? How could you lay that out in a way that was useful? I think going to camera settings for camera settings and server settings for server settings is pretty logical.

Also, when you are in a camera setting window, you can simply click on any other camera in the tree to switch to that specific camera's settings. You don't have to even leave that window. You can quickly compare settings between cameras.

Limited enterprise viewing/management: Users may connect to only one system at a time (though each system may be multiple servers). Those wishing to keep systems logically separate across geographic locations may find this problematic.

You only need to connect to one system at a time, why would you want more than one? If you have multiple sites, you just merge them into a single system, which gives you the ability to manage everything from a single client instance. You keep geographic locations separated by allowing a given user access to only the views you want them to have. Any given user only has access to what you want them to have.

Also, if you have a given user with views and access that you want to copy to another user, simply drag the views from user A to user B and they will have the same views. It couldn't be simpler.

Limited camera side VMD support: Camera side VMD is supported on a limited number of models, with most requiring server side VMD.

I see this as a benefit, as in all motion is homogenized if you will. You get the bonus of Smart Search too. Sure, you need a little more CPU and RAM in the server, but those are usually cheap upgrades.

Few advanced integrations: Nx Witness has little direct support for third-party systems such as analytics, access control, LPR, etc. Events may be integrated through generic TCP strings, but this requires manual configuration.

I agree here. I would love to see some more integration with other third party systems. My biggest wish is to integrate Hik analytics with Spectrum. We also had hoped that Coldstore would be integrated, as promised years ago. But, to be fair, they have also integrated I/O (Axis for one) now and have some limited analytics support with VCA.

Additionally, we found some UI elements odd or distracting, such as the scrolling timeline at the bottom of the client, and event and camera lists, which are transparent, "floating" in front of cameras to either side of the client, instead of docked in place in typical VMSes.

You have a choice of collapsing all of the "drawers" on the tops and sides, as well as the timeline on the bottom. Also, if you have a given layout open and it occupies your entire screen and then expose the tree drawer for instance, all you have to do is double click any white space in the layout to automatically adjust the layout to fit the available screen space. This also works in the opposite way too. Hide the drawers and double click white space and it will fill the space available.

I would much rather have the option to maximize my viewing area for layouts instead of being forced to have the tree, menu, or timeline open all the time.

Nx Witness is available only outside of North America. In North America, Digital Watchdog has exclusive rights to the software, which they sell as DW Spectrum.

Both Network Optix and Digital Watchdog are typically both up to date, running the same version, though DW Spectrum may be slightly delayed in new releases. As of time of writing, both are running 2.5.0.11500.

This is a point of contention for us as well. Nx has much better support (Thanks Sergey!). They have an actual help desk / ticket system. DW simply has a web form that you can submit, but to be honest, their techs know very little about Spectrum.

Also, they are in sync today with version numbers, but it can be a month or more between the date that an Nx update is released and when DW actually releases the same version. This is always a pain.

In the end, it is a pretty amazing system for it's price and age. We have kicked the tires on a few others and nothing is as simple to use as Nx/Spectrum. Our clients love it.

You asked: You only need to connect to one system at a time, why would you want more than one? If you have multiple sites, you just merge them into a single system, which gives you the ability to manage everything from a single client instance.

A simple reason to be able to connect to multiple systems is our example, we are a central station and we have multiple sites we monitor. On a few computers we leave the software up and running and quickly switch between cameras and multiple sites, much faster than having to disconnect and reconnect to each site as alarms come in. It also allows us to know when a system goes offline so we can contact the customer or schedule service, instead of only finding out a system is offline when we try to connect. We can't merge all the systems together because they belong to individual customers.

As I explained earlier, The above statement is false. You can in fact connect to multiple sites at the same time.

It's not realistic to have to have 10+ instances of the client open and have to open each one to check if you are still connected constantly. We have some systems that have that many or more recorders connected and we have a nice list on one side of the screen showing that each is connected, then when we need to check video we just drag the system to the camera screen and can check all the cameras. It would be much easier just to be able to connect to multiple units in one instance, and I'm sure use much less resources.

You must be a monitoring service then, right? I don't think Nx is made, nor targeted/marketed for, that vertical.

You can simply have more than one instance of the client open. Just make sure that instances that are minimized don't have an active tab open as the selected view. If the client has a layout open with 64 cameras and you minimize that window, it will continue to occupy resources. However, a quick way around that is open a blank layout tab before minimizing and the resource hit will be greatly reduced.

The support from DW may be the weakest point here. Maybe we would not have dropped the product if support had come from Network Optix. We ran into a lot of bug and design issues (that since maybe most have been resolved), but support was extremely slow and sometimes I think they just gave up.

Limited enterprise viewing/management: Users may connect to only one system at a time (though each system may be multiple servers). Those wishing to keep systems logically separate across geographic locations may find this problematic.

This statement is false.

If you want to open another connection you can do so by simply Selecting the Menu > New > Window, and then connecting to another Site without any issues.

One other little glitch that we found recently and would like to see addressed is that you cannot on a camera by camera basis address PTZ rights. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue, but since 2.5 was released, the Dahua motorized zoom lens cameras we have installed can now be zoomed via the integrated PTZ controls in Spectrum. If we could disallow PTZ controls on a granular basis vs globally, that would be very nice. Almost every camera we install these days is motorized zoom.

Hi Jon,
All the systems I know have only global rights.
meaning that I can set a right to see/operate a camera or not but I can't set specific rights to a camera and different to another camera.
In what other system can you do that
?

Itamar, I am also unaware if others have this level of granular control of camera rights per user. It would be a nice feature to have. Another, what I would think to be simple, feature is user groups. That way you could quickly assign user rights to the groups instead of the users, just like AD.

Itamar, if the below example is what you mean, Geutebruck has very granular rights restrictions you can implement on a per camera, per user basis.

If we could disallow PTZ controls on a granular basis...

As a work around, can't you go into each camera's settings and restrict it there? Or maybe that's what you are doing now?

Yes, we can create another user at the camera level, but that invites us to make an omission. The cameras in use are 3MP or 4MP Dahua cameras. There are probably in the range of 30 units. After creating the new user, we have to be sure to change the creds in Spectrum as well.

I have been made aware this feature/fix will be addressed in version 3.0.

Agreed it's a pain.

Is the motorized zoom actually used for anything/by anyone besides initial FOV adjustment and focus?

If not, maybe just restrict the default user locally without creating a new account. Then you wouldn't have to change the VMS, though you would need to reenable if you needed to adjust the zoom again.

Does Dahua let you mass copy configs to multiple cameras at once?

Yes, Dahua has a tool that copies everything, EXCEPT user accounts and network settings. Which is exactly what needs to be copied.

We have been using DW-Spectrum in a large and growing production system since 2013 when we replaced the Exacq system running on custom built servers and workstations.

The criteria for this decision, aside from DW's more favourable license model, was the sheer number of platform integration choices(meaningful to us) lacking in other products. Namely that we have it deployed as a private cloud with managed services, monitoring, automation and provisioning.

Our DW server components run as KVM virtual machines (64Bit_Linux) which store video over a distributed network file system (glusterfs) just as they did in the Exacq system. We enjoy a lower error rate and increased read performance. Additionally, Spectrum affords higher VM density per host when compared to Exacq's orphaned 32 bit only Linux server or Windows platform only VMS servers.

Spectrum's newer failover and backup features dovetail nicely with our somewhat atypical deployment.

So far DW-Spectrum has scaled well with our needs and continues to offer well contemplated features and performance optimizations across all of their platform offerings. We prefer Spectrum's easy to use, open, well documented API/SDK features over a host of separate so called "Enterprise" license bound analytic / access control plugins and decoupled configuration utilities.

Our use case is for operator intensive live and forensic review. Operator decision calls on live viewing activities need to occur rapidly as does reconstructing an event / incident that spans many hours / cameras from storage. Spectrum offers unprecedented speed for this type of navigation once the operator becomes accustomed to the interface. Layouts need to be well considered by the admin and layout customization needs to be strongly emphasized when training new users.

Ok, I've been using DW Spectrum since 2011 and I made an executive decision to move all my systems over to DW after meeting Wade Thomas/CEO.

Here is my detailed list of PROs/CONs that should be considered:

PROS:

Easy to install - 1 program, installs in minutes

LINUX Support - Very important PRO. Depending on if a customer needs to see REAL-TIME video output from the recorder itself decides whether to use Linux or Windows. I always pair a DW Blade Server (Linux) with a DW Cube Server (Windows) so that I have load-balancing and redundency. With Linux, no more BSOD and reliable operation. You can safely perform housekeeping and updates without taking the entire system down.

Add an ONVIF camera instantly - It's nice for the software to quickly find/add the camera into the system. After the camera is discovered, you'll have to manually put in the proper username/password to connect and see video

Trial-Demo embedded - A 4 IP license trial can instantly be activated so you can test/play with the system. Recording will cease after 30 days, however, adding a license key takes seconds.

Great Motion Detect Recording - The variations of sensitivity adjustments are quick and easy. NOTE: the trigger of motion detection is based on the motion of the "low" quality stream. If the camera only has one video stream, you cannot use this feature.

Easy Native Exporting - Exporting to a .nov file allows you to select multiple cameras so that the video is synchronized and in RAW file format. This is great for law enforcement officials because they can use the DW client to playback the RAW video and then choose to export to .avi

Custom Layouts - By far one of the best features of this software. I've created custom layouts that make the camera system look superb! Giving the end user some nice templates make this software stand out. Be sure to "Lock Layout" to prevent users from accidently closing windows and then saving that modified layout when exiting the client software.

Rebuild Index Feature - With the amount of hard drive failures and replacements, this feature will allow you to rescan/rebuild all of your data following a failing/failed hard drive swapout. This ensures that 100% of the video (GREEN LINE footage) is accurate and that you can rebuild everything after a system issue.

IOS/Android Support - Downloading the app and entering 4 pieces of information gets you up and running within minutes. Be aware of which "DW-Spectrum App" you are downloading depending on what version of software you are running.

90% of my customers are running V.2.4.X on their smart devices. The newly released V.2.5.X requires a NEW APP and hours of migration for the amount of users connecting. If you are installing a brand new system, then this is easy.

CONS:

Cannot set Resolution/Codec - This limitation is the biggest headache of the software. If you install a 5M camera, but want to pull a 1920x1080 resolution with MJPEG, you are out of luck. There is an "Expert" feature to shut off AUTO-CONFIG, however, it does not work correctly because the software has to scan and identify the camera before you can add it into the system. and checkmark the Expert settings. By the time you do this, DW Spectrum already made/cached the resolution settings into memory.

NO PTZ/PRESETS on IOS/Android - The native apps only display snaps of each camera until you double-tap for live video. Playing back in IOS will not allow you to fast forward or rewind. There is a "DW Mobile App" available for PTZ, however the entire app is complicated to setup and use. Out of all the customers that I introduced the app to, not one liked the app. As a result, I had to move the customer to another platform for simple PTZ and presets.

Poor Documentation - Their documentation is based off their older software and doesn't properly explain their new features such as "Archiving" via FTP/SMB. Tech support even had issues assisting me because they had no idea that you need to have at least 64GB of drive space available on a NAS device to perform backups. To date, I still do not know how their archiving system works.

64 Camera display limitation - The work-around is create layouts, however most customers like to see everything on one screen even though they cannot see the images.

Poor VFLEX Integration - It is possible to link up DW's VFLEX DVR with Spectrum. However, the DVRs had problems with "NO DATA" constantly popping up during live view. Even with the latest firmware, the DVRs continuously went off live and actual hard reboots had to be conducted. If you want to integrate an Analog Decoder/DVR system, use a Hikvision DVR and simply pull RTSP streams from it into Spectrum. I've lost hundreds of dollars in revenue do to troubleshooting integrations issues between their VFLEX devices (7 devices had to be pulled out). Tech support made a comment that "The DVRs weren't designed to work with Spectrum", so I knew then that I was screwed.

Complicated Layout Replication - In order to copy layouts, you must create a master layout, save it, and then drag it each individual users. If you have dozens of users, this process can take a long time. Beware that if you delete/re-add a camera that is part of a layout, it will disappear permanently. At that point you must rebuild the layout and then re-drag it to every user account.

No Multi-Screen - Most companies like to spread cameras across 2 monitors. The only way you can do this is to launch a 2nd window in the program. This becomes an issue because if a security guard closes and then reopens the client, only 1 window will load. Their video wall is entirely different from this simple request.

SUMMARY/COMMENTS:

The DW Spectrum 2.5 works great for small MOM/POP shops, delis, and residential housing. However, for most advanced customization (Codec/Bitrate/Resolution tweaking) you should consider another platform.

The Failover option is by far their greatest asset. If a server completely fails, cameras are moved over to the remaining servers. This is great for a load-balanced operation between 2 servers and hard-drive clusters.

This Failover feature release made up for the disastrous v2.2 to v2.3 release that took place from 7/2015 till 9/2015. Over 250 IOS users were unable to properly view their cameras on their Iphones due to a software issue. I lost 7 customers and 175 IP licenses because the software wasn't properly beta tested before it was released. I'm praying that this never happen again and that DW properly tests their software to ensure smooth performance between versions.

FYI, If you update old 2.4 mobile app to new version and after install new 2.5 mobile version - all data is migrated automatically.

Why not incorporate IOS/Android 2.5 to be BACKWARD-COMPATIBLE to 2.4 servers?

The reason being: there are hundreds of users who cannot/will-not reinstall a 2nd app and then re-enter their credentials. For customers with multi-site locations, it's a complete nightmare to assist non-technical users (security guards, property managers, store owners, residential users) with entering all of their locations into the phone.

Also, 90% of users will not remember their password because it's entered only one time during configuration. (Even though you tell them to NEVER FORGET their password, we both know they do)

The upgrade is almost automatic from the end user perspective, at least on iOS (haven't tried Android). When they launch the 2.4 app, there will be a popup prompting them to install the new app. If they accept, it launches the App Store page for the 2.5 app. After the 2.5 app installs, all of their sites are automatically copied to the 2.5 app. You don't need to re-enter credentials.

I take a blame for this. It was hard made desition to significantly(!) speed up release.
All our sales people were against introducing the new app.
Moving forward we never plan to introduce new apps.

Any guess as to when we will see dewarping in the app?

Jon,

Feel free to give me a call to discuss my guess.

Thanks,

Patrick

Thank you fo detailed feedback!

Cannot set Resolution/Codec - This limitation is the biggest headache of the software. If you install a 5M camera, but want to pull a 1920x1080 resolution with MJPEG, you are out of luck. There is an "Expert" feature to shut off AUTO-CONFIG, however, it does not work correctly because the software has to scan and identify the camera before you can add it into the system. and checkmark the Expert settings. By the time you do this, DW Spectrum already made/cached the resolution settings into memory.

Since 2.3.1 ( 2.3.2, 2.4 and 2.5 versions ) software does not configure cameras automatically during discovery stage. So you can install software, then go to the expert tab, disable auto configure option and you have no issues. You can even disable autoconfiguration during the installation process.

NO PTZ/PRESETS on IOS/Android

You'll have it soon.
In general, the mobile app experience should be much better with 2.5 and we are going actively improve it moving forward.

Indeed if old (2.4 mobile app is updated to newer 2.4 version), all data will be migrated to new 2.5 mobile app automatically.

Complicated Layout Replication - In order to copy layouts, you must create a master layout, save it, and then drag it each individual users. If you have dozens of users, this process can take a long time. Beware that if you delete/re-add a camera that is part of a layout, it will disappear permanently. At that point you must rebuild the layout and then re-drag it to every user account.

Completely solved in the upcoming release. Once the layout is shared with multiple users you can change it at one place and it auto-replicates everywhere. No more layouts rebuild. Also, groups are added. In general user rights become more advanced on one side, but easier to manage on another.


This becomes an issue because if a security guard closes and then reopens the client, only 1 window will load.

In next release, once the same login is used on the same machine, all windows will be restored automatically.

Thank you Sergey for replying. Do you have an ETA for the next release? Historically, DW releases major updates every 6 months or so.

I think you should better talk to sales people on timeline and features.

You know engineers tend to express a lot of enthusiasm while talking about the timeline, new features and such:-)

I'm just an engineer and was asked to avoid answering such question. Please better ask sales people.

B...I mean U5 feel free to give me a call to discuss the current ETA. Thanks, Patrick

Cannot set Resolution/Codec - This limitation is the biggest headache of the software. If you install a 5M camera, but want to pull a 1920x1080 resolution with MJPEG, you are out of luck. There is an "Expert" feature to shut off AUTO-CONFIG, however, it does not work correctly because the software has to scan and identify the camera before you can add it into the system. and checkmark the Expert settings. By the time you do this, DW Spectrum already made/cached the resolution settings into memory.

Nx Witness always grabs two streams from a camera - the highest resolution stream the camera offers and a second stream at a much lower resolution (e.g. 360p).

The highest resolution stream is grabbed from a camera because of this simple reason: If a customer buys a 5M camera the base assumption is alway that the customer wants a 5M resolution. To us here at Nx it makes little sense that a person would invest in a 5M camera and then use a 1080p stream. If they wanted a 1080p stream they could simply buy a much more affordable 1080p camera. Better for performance and better for the old pocket book.

That being said - the Expert settings feature allows users to ignore Nx's default settings and configure the camera to stream whatever resolution the integrator/user prefers - and then have Nx Witness act as the bucket that catches the stream.

The second, lower resolution stream is used for server side motion analysis and is always recorded by default. This gives Nx Witness its performance edge on the client side as it allows us to use adaptive scaling for both CPU and network optimization.

Again - it can also be disabled/configured in the Expert settings section.

Going back to the original point - we do this for users. Another base assumption we have - and one that is proven by anonymous usage statistics we gather from participating systems - is that most users use the cameras they purchase in their original configuration. The most likely reason? It's simple.

Poor Documentation - Their documentation is based off their older software and doesn't properly explain their new features such as "Archiving" via FTP/SMB. Tech support even had issues assisting me because they had no idea that you need to have at least 64GB of drive space available on a NAS device to perform backups. To date, I still do not know how their archiving system works.

I assume you haven't been to http://support.networkoptix.com - where we have a full set of feature documentation, FAQ's, past version release notes and downloads, and a bevy of helpful installation/configuration information for all features. If you're referring to the context-sensitive manual - I tend to agree. It's an engineering document written by our dev team and will be phased out over time in lieu of a more helpful in-client manual. Like all good things iteration = improvement and you'll see this improve with upcoming versions.

64 Camera display limitation - The work-around is create layouts, however most customers like to see everything on one screen even though they cannot see the images.

I'm interested to know how viewing more than 64 cameras is an actual useful feature. Human channel capacity (e.g. "The Magical Number Seven") limits the number of concurrent one-dimensional stimuli an operator can pay attention to. A 64 camera view, therefore, offers no benefit to an operator and, rather, is detrimental to the ability of an operator to respond to critical events by introducing a higher level of complexity than the human brain is capable of dealing with. So if you're asking for a more-than-64-camera-view capability because of the desire to try and view more cameras concurrently - that's a bad concept.

If, however, you are trying to display the most cameras possible to impress a boss...well then I guess I get your point. The number of cameras on a screen is actually limited to 24 on a 32 bit operating system and 64 on a 64 bit processor in order to maximize system responsiveness. Nx would never, however, recommend people create layouts with so many cameras - because it's simply not an effective way to operate a control room. Using the Nx Events & Rules engine to set up logical events that alert operators to events would be a much better approach.

Thanks for your feedback "Undisclosed Manufacturer 5". Would be more interesting if you guys weren't undisclosed - we'd love to know exactly who is providing the feedback.

Tony, your response is quite condescending, and not at all the way you should treat someone who provided as much feedback as they did.

To us here at Nx it makes little sense that a person would invest in a 5M camera and then use a 1080p stream... Better for performance and better for the old pocket book.

I'm sure U5 knows that 2MP cameras are cheaper than 5MP. Regardless, there are MANY valid reasons for wanting to use a 1080p stream on a 5M camera (that you already own)

  1. Aspect ratio
  2. Frame rate limitation
  3. Network or Storage considerations

U5 says he has problems with the documentation and still doesn't understand archiving, you reply:

I assume you haven't been to http://support.networkoptix.com - where we have a full set of feature documentation, FAQ's, past version release notes and downloads, and a bevy of helpful installation/configuration...

Why not then point him towards the exact document he wants?

I'm interested to know how viewing more than 64 cameras is an actual useful feature....by introducing a higher level of complexity than the human brain is capable of dealing with.

Who said there was just ONE brain? Video walls can have many people looking at different views at the same time, no?

If however, you are trying to display the most cameras possible to impress a boss...well then I guess I get your point...

Is that type of rhetoric necessary?

Anyway, it sounds like U5 IS the boss. He made the "executive decision" to go with Nx, right?

Would be more interesting if you guys weren't undisclosed.

Can you blame him?

Nx Witness always grabs two streams from a camera - the highest resolution stream the camera offers and a second stream at a much lower resolution (e.g. 360p).

The highest resolution stream is grabbed from a camera because of this simple reason: If a customer buys a 5M camera the base assumption is alway that the customer wants a 5M resolution. To us here at Nx it makes little sense that a person would invest in a 5M camera and then use a 1080p stream. If they wanted a 1080p stream they could simply buy a much more affordable 1080p camera. Better for performance and better for the old pocket book.

* The point of my CON is that there is no user control to change resolution below 5Meg. This is important because at 5M, there is a chance that you cannot get 30fps from the camera. As a result, the lower resolution of 3M allows a max of 15fps and at 2M you can actually get 30fps.*

That being said - the Expert settings feature allows users to ignore Nx's default settings and configure the camera to stream whatever resolution the integrator/user prefers - and then have Nx Witness act as the bucket that catches the stream.

*I will re-try configuring a Basler camera that has been defaulting back to different resolutions by Mediaserver when restarted*

Poor Documentation - Their documentation is based off their older software and doesn't properly explain their new features such as "Archiving" via FTP/SMB. Tech support even had issues assisting me because they had no idea that you need to have at least 64GB of drive space available on a NAS device to perform backups. To date, I still do not know how their archiving system works.

I assume you haven't been to http://support.networkoptix.com - where we have a full set of feature documentation, FAQ's, past version release notes and downloads, and a bevy of helpful installation/configuration information for all features. If you're referring to the context-sensitive manual - I tend to agree. It's an engineering document written by our dev team and will be phased out over time in lieu of a more helpful in-client manual. Like all good things iteration = improvement and you'll see this improve with upcoming versions.

*I was referring to Digital Watchdog's website because I am unable to purchase Network Optix licensing in the states. I am looking for the V.2.5.X Operations Guide (PDF) that will explain everything is fine detail. I checked out support.networkoptix.com and couldn't locate this document*

64 Camera display limitation - The work-around is create layouts, however most customers like to see everything on one screen even though they cannot see the images.

I'm interested to know how viewing more than 64 cameras is an actual useful feature. Human channel capacity (e.g. "The Magical Number Seven") limits the number of concurrent one-dimensional stimuli an operator can pay attention to. A 64 camera view, therefore, offers no benefit to an operator and, rather, is detrimental to the ability of an operator to respond to critical events by introducing a higher level of complexity than the human brain is capable of dealing with. So if you're asking for a more-than-64-camera-view capability because of the desire to try and view more cameras concurrently - that's a bad concept.

*Believe it or not, I have a customer in NY who likes every camera on one screen. YES, there is no possible way to see video. However, he knows which camera is which, so he simply likes to double-click a window to go full screen. Since multi-monitor support is only available in the future, he is limited to 64 cameras. I cannot add more cameras until either the max-display count is increased, or multi-monitor becomes available. Users want SIMPLE and EASY.*

Hi U5 - See my comment on Luis's question regarding how to change resolution. Short answer - it's possible, but not ideal because of the reasons I outline.

Regarding a "user manual that describes everything in fine detail" - that's not really our approach. We outline individual key features and we also cover the architecture of the system as a whole. We write articles for the support portal based on user questions - so if you have a question that is not covered currently we'd love to hear it and we can write a response and publish a new support article for all of our users to use. The support portal really is our centralized knowledge base and will continue to be so moving forward.

Regarding the 64 camera limitation - we may modify this at some point as computers' graphics capabilities improve. Many of the limits - including the 128 camera limit on the server side and the display limitations - are based on observations our QA and Dev teams make in terms of system performance and usability. Shortly speaking - we value user experience more than the ability to fulfill the odd/outlier requirement.

Hi Undisclosed 4.

I'm just being open with our position on why we do things and the thought process behind them. It's our own internal thought process and isn't meant to be condescending in any way and if it was I apologize for that. I wrote what I wrote with a notion that it was understood that these are my personal thoughts (given that I put my name on them) and were to be taken as open discussion points rather than criticism of feedback.

To clarify:

I'm sure U5 knows that 2MP cameras are cheaper than 5MP. Regardless, there are MANY valid reasons for wanting to use a 1080p stream on a 5M camera (that you already own).

I'm sure that U5 also knows those reasons - and would assume conversely that it was understood we also have considered these potential use cases - and yet we still do not find them compelling enough to alter the way that we do things currently. It's just our stance. Per my comment. Could change in the future but the explanation given above is an explanation of why the software currently has that limitation.

Regarding documentation - my response wasn't meant to specifically address "Undisclosed Manufacturer 5"'s specific technical issue regarding archiving - which could refer to a number of features in our software. It was, rather, to point the person to an alternative set of documentation that perhaps they were not aware of. Additionally, I specifically agreed with "Undisclosed Manufacturer 5" regarding the offline manual.

If you're referring to the context-sensitive manual - I tend to agree. It's an engineering document written by our dev team and will be phased out over time in lieu of a more helpful in-client manual. Like all good things iteration = improvement and you'll see this improve with upcoming versions.

With regards to camera limitations:

Is that type of rhetoric necessary?

Wasn't meant to be rhetoric. Again - just the way we think about things. Video Walls is a good point - but our Video Wall application runs one client instance per monitor - so a video wall with 64 cameras per monitor would still be - to us - not useful.

Regarding not disclosing their identity - there was no blame. There was a statement that it would be more interesting if they weren't undisclosed. Which remains true.

As pertaining to the question about being able to record at a lower resolution than what the camera is capable and this response...

"I'm sure that U5 knows those reasons - and yet we still do not find them compelling enough to alter the way that we do things currently. It's just our stance. Per my comment. Could change in the future but the explanation given above is an explanation of why the software currently has that limitation."

.... I'm not clear so could you please clarify: I thought what you said in another post previous to that was that it defaulted to the highest resolution possible, but it could be changed in advanced settings. But in the above quote it seems to indicate you cannot adjust recording to be a lower resolution.

Can you say specifically if it is possible or not to record at a lower resolution than the camera is capable of.

"The highest resolution stream is grabbed from a camera because of this simple reason: If a customer buys a 5M camera the base assumption is alway that the customer wants a 5M resolution."

As a side comment, a problem I see sometimes with manufacturers is whenever they do something or limit something based on an idea they know better than the installer or customer, it often ends up being a problem because there is always an exception to the supposed rule. I hope you take that as constructively as it was intended.

It isn't a simple answer is all. Nx can only set your recording resolution as the cameras maximum, which is the default Nx setting. You can choose to override this by using Expert mode. After enabling Expert mode, you can then change your cameras stream setting manually through the camera interface, but not through Nx. So, Nx has two settings:

1) Auto (max resolution)

2) Manual (what ever the camera is currently configured as)

Thanks, Jon. I think your clarification is simple enough.

Hi Luis -

Thank you for the question.

.... I'm not clear so could you please clarify: I thought what you said in another post previous to that was that it defaulted to the highest resolution possible, but it could be changed in advanced settings. But in the above quote it seems to indicate you cannot adjust recording to be a lower resolution.

I can definitely see how this could be confusing.

Originally Nx Witness/DW Spectrum would go out and aggressively modify any auto-discovered cameras the moment it was installed in a network with cameras. So our team would go do demos for people - and accidentally modify all of their existing camera settings on the network. Not very pleasing if you can imagine, as the customer/partner would then have to go back and reset all their cameras to their original configuration.

In Sergey's response above he was speaking specifically to a feature we added during the installation to address this problem - the "Allow system to optimize devices settings" feature.

Broadly speaking we have two ways to address how to modify camera stream resolution settings - which I think is the case you're describing - a global approach and a device-specific approach:

Global Approach: Allow Nx/DW to Optimize Device Settings

During installation user are given the option to "Allow system to optimize devices settings."

If "Allow system..." is left checked during installation of an Nx Witness or DW Spectrum system then once the system is installed any time a camera is auto-discovered the first time it is viewed on an Nx/DW client Nx/DW will modify the camera settings to maximum resolution. This is the most common use case we see.

If "Allow system..." is unchecked during installation then Nx/DW will capture the camera's existing settings and will not modify the camera settings. This is a use case more specific, in our opinion, to integrators who are either migrating an existing system to Nx/DW, or pre-configure cameras ahead of installation or on-site during installation for specific targeted resolutions.

The "Allow system to optimize devices settings" check box is also available post-installation in the System Administration dialog (see below) and can be unchecked at any time.

Device-Specific Approach: Expert Settings Tab

Alternatively, if a user does not uncheck the "Allow system.." feature during installation (for whatever reason) and then later on wants to adjust the camera to stream at a lower resolution they can use the Expert Settings tab on the Camera Settings dialog to "Keep camera streams' and profiles' settings." This would allow the user to configure the camera using a camera configuration tool or camera web page - and then Nx/DW becomes the bucket that captures whatever stream the camera is sending. (see below images).

This is called the "Expert" settings tab because it requires users who understand the implications of what they are adjusting - and that qualifies them as an expert in our book.

So our default approach is to use the maximum resolution of the camera as manufactured with the understanding that most users buy 5 megapixel cameras to capture 5 megapixel streams. Alternatively we allow users to pre-configure their cameras and use the "Allow system..." approach or to retroactively modify cameras using the Expert Settings tab for maximum flexibility.

Hopefully that explanation is clear - if not let me know where you still have questions.

As a side comment, a problem I see sometimes with manufacturers is whenever they do something or limit something based on an idea they know better than the installer or customer, it often ends up being a problem because there is always an exception to the supposed rule. I hope you take that as constructively as it was intended.

Absolutely agree with you here. And as a manufacturer I would add that our team isn't just made up of software developers. I myself worked in Systems Integration and project-specific deployments for many years and know exactly what you mean.

When I say our "base assumption" I mean the basic principle we have. One of the challenges we all face is balancing the needs of the many vs the needs of the few.

From the data we collect and the makeup of the market as a whole I think we can all agree that IP video is becoming more of a commodity and a "plug & play" product as it replaces analog cameras. As such we have tended to favor simplicity over complexity in our approach thus far.

One thing I think you will all see as the product continues to develop is more granular control of connected devices and systems - and the debates we are having here are debates we have daily in our team. We love to hear feedback - from integrators, other manufacturers, and end-users.

Tony, as laudable as your detailed response was, I have to say Job Dillabaugh's reply was simpler and more to the point. :)

As for your response to my feedback, I appreciate it.

What can I say - I'm a substance over speed type of guy. ;-)

I have to say Job Dillabaugh's reply was simpler and more to the point.

Yea, those without the patience of Job, should preferth the answer of Job.

It's our own internal thought process and isn't meant to be condescending in any way.

Ok. I accept that you don't mean to be condescending. But, IMHO, you come across as such, and considering your position you may find it helpful to try and see things thru the customer's eyes a little more. See Sergey's post as a more respectful yet equally informative example.

Saying something "makes little sense to us" is tantamount to questioning someone's intelligence. Because you are not making the product for your own use are you? And even if the suggestion was actually idiotic, such language makes your customer less likely to give you any feedback going forward.

Even now, I don't think you understand the issue since you say:

I'm sure that U5 knows those reasons - and yet we still do not find them compelling enough to alter the way that we do things currently. It's just our stance. Per my comment.

When the truth is that you WERE compelled to alter the way that you do things currently as Sergey indicates:

Since 2.3.1 ( 2.3.2, 2.4 and 2.5 versions ) software does not configure cameras automatically during discovery stage.

U5 may have not known this, since he is apparently talking about an earlier version where you had no way to stop the automatic configuration. You could have said

"Yes, we agree, and we changed it."

As for the video wall you say

our Video Wall application runs one client instance per monitor, so a video wall with 64 cameras per monitor would still be - to us - not useful.

Why not if you had a SOC with 4 people, 64 cameras and a 80 inch 4k monitor? One monitor that always shows everyone all cameras. Each screen would be around 480x270 resolution.

In any event, instead of explaining how no ones brain can handle it, and implying that he is just trying to impress "a boss", you could have said:

"We haven't had any demand for a matrix of that size. How do you plan on using it?"

then we have

There was a statement that it would be more interesting if they weren't undisclosed. Which remains true.

Interesting to whom? You. Not your customer.

Do you know how much companies pay in surveys and focus groups etc. to get the kind of feedback that you received from U5 for zip?

U4 - appreciate your passion, if not the substance, of your arguments.

Thanks! I appreciate the feedback.

Is there a particular argument that I can provide more substance for?

Because you're a passion over substance kind of guy? ;-)

Hi U4 -

Again - try not to take things personally. If something "makes little sense to us" it's because it makes little sense to us - maybe not to everyone. I'm sure some people think it makes perfect sense. People think a lot of things. I'm not talking about the entirety of what is or is not to be thought and whether a person's thought processes are correct or incorrect - simply what we think.

See my post in response to Luis Carmona above about the camera configuration question - hopefully that clarifies things for you.

Regarding your 80 inch 4k Video Wall question: 4 people staring at an 80 inch monitor with 64 cameras = 16 cameras per user.....again - doesn't make sense...wait for it...to us. Because of that whole human channel capacity issue. You can disagree with us! It's totally fine.

In our opinion it would be much more effective - both from a cost and situational awareness perspective - to have 4 operators working independently on their own screens responding to events, and pushing critical events to a shared monitor for group awareness and collaboration rather than have everyone looking at the same 80inch 4k monitor covered in tiny videos. But again - that's just our opinion and people's opinions differ.

The "impress a boss" statement stems from the fact that many of our clients in Asia have specifically asked for a Video Wall feature "to impress their boss." It was also an attempt at levity. Apparently an unsuccessful one.

In our opinion it would be much more effective - both from a cost and situational awareness perspective - to have 4 operators working independently on their own screens responding to events, and pushing critical events to a shared monitor for group awareness and collaboration rather than have everyone looking at the same 80inch 4k monitor covered in tiny videos.

When did I say they didn't have their own workstation?

It is helpful to have a large monitor (or several grouped as one logical monitor), with a fixed layout of all views if possible, 24/7, in an SOC. This allows the operators working on their own workstations to always have visibility into the whole enterprise, even if their own terminal has various windows open on it. It also helps anyone entering the room to have an overview without asking anyone to do anything.

Even if one can see little more than a thumbnail, it can still be useful by showing that there was a recent event detected and in what zone.

Have you never heard of such a design?

Such a logical monitor can be as large as one likes using common video wall software which presents as one device, they also can have extremely high virtual resolutions.

I've heard of such a design. And I've designed and worked on a 14,000 camera system from the ground up with 98 police stations, each with its own video wall and operating center.

And when they attempted to show every camera in the system it was a nightmare and proved not very useful. Took 6 hours just to load camera lists. Granted it was older technology but the usability issues were the main problems. The integration of video and events with an Active GIS solution used to drive the video walls was a much more elegant path the client ended up taking.

Which is where my opinion comes from - the realities I've seen working in extremely large systems and customer feedback from those systems.

Again - you're welcome to disagree. No one solution fits every user or situation. The 64 camera limit, as mentioned above, is currently our limit for the reasons I've listed above - performance and usability.

Took 6 hours just to load camera lists....

...The 64 camera limit, as mentioned above, is currently our limit for the reasons I've listed above - performance and usability.

Look at me, acting naive by trying to tell you what your system should do. Of course you know far better than anyone what it's capabilities and limitations may be.

In this case, I can understand a manufacturer limiting something not because it can't be done, but because it can't be done well. For example some VMS companies limit the number of client connections to the VMS server, while others tell you "we have no limits", but they don't tell you up front the performance hit it puts on the server.

They could make camera displays unlimited, but it would show very low or poor performance which the software might get blamed for but is not their fault. Makes a bad impression on the software while not being their fault. It's a touchy area.

In this case, I can understand a manufacturer limiting something not because it can't be done, but because it can't be done well...

Totally agree.

It makes me feel foolish for acting like it was just some random power of 2 limit, arbitrarily chosen long ago and stubbornly clung today, instead of the well considered performance threshold that it is, forged in customer battle and fine-tuned from the feedback of extremely large real-world deployments.

In fact, after doing the math on the failed police video wall, i.e. listing ~150 cameras in 360 minutes, I'm impressed that they have set the limit as high as they have, but apparently there have been substantial gains wrung out of their infrastructure to allow this number such a lofty magnitude.

Just an added note - the project referenced above was not an Nx project. It was with a previous product.

As I also mentioned in previous posts limits will and always do change over time.

As both of you have noted above the 64-per layout limitation is in fact a hard-coded limit our Dev & QA teams have set in order to prevent a bad user experience.

Appreciate the conversation, guys. Really not trying to tell integrators or other manufacturers how to think about their own projects/products. Just wanted to make sure you understand why we have these limits the thinking behind them.

For one client with many cameras, we simply used one workstation with four displays and open one window on each display and it's been working fine. On most occasions when on site, the tabs containing 64 cameras are almost never open. Instead, there are desired tabs displaying fewer cameras per screen. One benefit of higher camera counts per layout would be when using a map for physical location of cameras on a campus that have more than 64 exterior cameras. The map feature is fairly useful. The feature I have wanted the most is to just be able to create sub category lists per server so I can organize cameras in folders if I desire. I fully understand that I can search to find anything, but this feature becomes for useful with higher camera counts.

I also have a comment/request about the v2.5 iOS app. Was there a reason to remove the ability to separate multi-sites locations in the app? The previous version kept servers segregated in the view, where v2.5 lumps them all together now.

Jon

Servers were removed to simplify the view for most of the customers.
In next version we have layouts in mobile app so your problem will be solved.

Just for clarity, next version means 2.6? Thanks for the reply.

next after 2.6
2.6 is already shipped

Sergey,

Is there any indication as to when dewarping of fisheye cameras will be supported on the app? There was a hint at one point that this feature would be supported when the new platform was to be released around 2014. However, the client was rebuilt instead to add more features while the app took a long time to get rebuilt. The newer app is nice and iOS at least supports playback. However, it would be nice if the app supported dewarping in the near future.

I was told by Tony it would be addressed after v3.0.

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