OnSSI Ocularis 5 - The Milestone Migration Begins

By John Honovich, Published Apr 14, 2015, 12:00am EDT

Just one week after OnSSI acquired rival VMS developer Seetec, OnSSI has announced the newest version of their Ocularis platform.

In this note, based on speaking with OnSSI, we examine the key changes in product offering, price, Milestone support and competitive positioning.

Ocularis Background

Ocularis has been OnSSI's VMS platform for the past ~5 years. Prior to that, OnSSI was almost purely a Milestone OEM, both client and server side.

As OnSSI developed Ocularis, more of the client application and management sides of the VMS became their own. However, the underlying 'recorder engine', how cameras are connected, how video is stored, etc. remained Milestone.

The current version, until now, of Ocularis was 4.1

New Ocularis

OnSSI is releasing two versions of Ocularis:

  • 4.2 is a continuation of the existing Ocularis (with Milestone as the base recorder).
  • 5.0 is the new version of Ocularis (with Seetec as the base recorder).

Milestone Support

For new purchasers of Ocularis 5.0, only Seetec's recorder will be offered. Milestone will not be available.

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However, users of 4.2 or users upgrading from 4.x, will be allowed to continue using Milestone as the recorder. There are no plans to discontinue support for legacy Milestone users.

Upgrade Process

As it relates to camera support and Milestone continuation, here is how OnSSI explained how the upgrade process for existing Ocularis users would work:

"When you upgrade to 5.0 you have both recorders in the system.  If 5.0 supports all of your cameras, you would just move them to the 5.0 recorder and disable the 4.1 recorder. If 5.0 doesn’t support some of the cameras you are using, you can leave them on the 4.1 recorder until 5.0 does support them."

'Legacy' Milestone and New Benefits

OnSSI is, unsurprisingly, advocating the benefits of migrating from Milestone to the new Seetec recorder.

Indeed, in OnSSI's new website, the previous Ocularis versions (PS, IS, CS, LS, ES) are now filed under legacy products [link no longer available]. OnSSI has three new versions - Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate.

OnSSi emphasized a number of benefits:

  • Lower MSRP / product pricing for OnSSI / Seetec vs old Ocularis
  • Tiered dealer discount structure rather than a flat one used previously
  • No longer need to register MAC addresses
  • Eliminates the old Milestone live / archived DB structure, replacing it with a Seetec offering that they claim extends the life of the disk
  • 256 bit encryption from client to base
  • Camera priority which to continue to record when running out of disk space
  • Simpler SUP maintenance program eliminating balances for cameras added in between years
  • Mix and match between versions remain

Update: a new marketing video from OnSSI on 5.0:

Introduction to Ocularis 5.0 from OnSSI on Vimeo.

Camera Support / ONVIF Support

OnSSI acknowledges that one key weakness is comparable third party support where Milestone has the edge over Seetec and over almost all other VMSes. Indeed, 

OnSSI says they have "over 1,000 dedicated camera drivers, plus manufacturer universal driver support for most Sony, Axis, Hikvision and Samsung cameras." (see new Seetec / Version 5 supported cameras list). Additionally, though Seetec and OnSSI claim ONVIF Profile S conformance and ONVIF members, neither are officially ONVIF conformant [link no longer available].

Seetec / Milestone Matchup

In essence, Seetec is replacing Milestone.

Though Seetec is sizeable in Europe, they have near zero presence in North America. As such, we have no experience with Seetec's VMS software.

The new Ocularis 5.0 is scheduled to start shipping on April 20th and we do plan to test it to see how it does matchup against Milestone.

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