Surveillance Search Shootout

By: Sarit Williams, Published on Oct 14, 2013

Searching for video is the most important function for many VMS users. While they may not have the time or interest to watch video live regularly, whenever an issue arises, they want to be able to quickly and accurately find the issue of interest.

In this report, we share our test results of using search capabilities for Avigilon, Exacq, Genetec, Milestone, Network Optix/DW and VideoInsight, as highlighted in the image below:

Key Differentiators

Searching revealed a number of important differentiators that separated the 'best' from the 'worst' in VMS searching, including:

  • Motion Search Speed / Pre-Indexing: Some VMSes were lighting quick in returning results while others took minutes even for searching a day's worth of video.
  • Thumbnail Capabilties: While most every VMS now has some form of thumbnails, the sophistication and power differed dramatically amongst VMSes.
  • Buffering: Some VMSes made the user wait while video was queued up while others played back instantly.
  • On a secondary level, differences in various UI controls / functions available, strengthened or weakened the VMSes.
  • Three primary differentiators emerged from our testing:

    • Pre-Indexing of Motion: Avigilon, and Network Optix/Digital Watchdog loaded motion events faster than the rest.
    • Thumbnail review: Avigilon and Miletone offered the best use of Thumbnail review with drill down functionality, and customized number of thumbnails and sizes. Exacq and Network Optix/Digital Watchdog were moderately sufficient, while Genetec's and Video Insight were the weakest- Video Insight having none and Genetec's thumbnails were only useable within a tile.

    • Buffering: Exacq, Genetec, and Video Insight took the longest by first buffering any video prior to playback.

    Additionally, a number of secondary, but still important, differentiators were also apparent:

    • Search for camera(s): Avigilon, Network Optix/Digital Watchdog, Genetec all included a search field, while Exacq, Video Insight, and Milestone required the user to manually find the camera.
    • Calender View: Date/Time Controls was the clearest in Avigilon, Genetec, Exacq and Video Insight. Milestone, and Network Optix/Digital Watchdog were the most hidden and awkward to use and find.

    • Motion event playback: Avigilon allowed for joining of motion events to view at once; while Exacq, and Network Optix/Digital Watchdog would jump to motion events for quicker playbacks. Avigilon, Video Insight, Genetec all include a long list of events the user has to individually click and view rather than a timeline graphical view or playback of all events consecutively.

    Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
    Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

    • Scaling timeline: Genetec lacked any visual controls and relied only on mouse wheel interaction for scaling. The rest of the VMSes included buttons that scale the timeline with varying granularity (milliseconds to 4 weeks at a time).

    • Synchronized Playback: Avigilon and Exacq only played back in a synchronized manner without independent playback available. Genetec, Milestone, and Network Optix all offered options to play independently or synchronized within a view. Video Insight, however has two different areas that allow for each mode independently, not within the same view.

    Manufacturer Differentiation

    With respect to those differentiators, here is how manufacturers matched up:

    Avigilon

    Strong across the board. Avigilon pre-indexes motion, offers extensive thumbnail review and does not buffer when displaying video. Motion events are displayed in rows and require individual selection, and it creates one motion event block for timeline playback.

    Milestone

    Milestone's Sequence Explorer is their strongest feature and offers customized thumbnail view as well as time interval selection. Motion Search, however is time consuming and requires a click by click playback for each frame where motion was discovered with a pop-up obstructing the view. Moreover, searching for cameras was non existent and pre defined views were the standard selection mode.

    Network Optix/Digital Watchdog

    All playback and search options are available front and center in the VMS- no need to find where in the application they are. They offer fast pre-indexed motion searches and playback that can be performed synchronized or not. Thumbnail view is available with drill down functionality. A few features such as small calendar icon,single camera row and hour selection were not as clearly seen compared to the other VMSes implementation.

    Exacq

    Exacq's buffering and post index of motion degraded overall search performance. Timeline view showed clear calendar views, scaling options and color coded events. Motion events playback jumped from event to event without user intervention. Thumbnails, however, were dependent on layout view and zoom buttons for granularity were redundant for each thumbnail in view.

    Genetec

    Suffered from a number of functional UI limitations. Genetec has weak thumbnail review and often buffers when displaying video. Loading cameras is done indirectly from a list of event rows and Timeline scaling via mouse wheel; no visual buttons or indication. 

    VideoInsight 

    User Interface was disconnected and scattered with different buttons, options and specific search types in different areas. Moreover, there is no thumbnail view at all and synchronized playback is a totally separate module than the Media Player search options.

    VMS Versions Tested

    • Milestone Enterprise version 8.1a/Smart Client 2013 7.0b 
    • Genetec Security Center version Server/Client 5.2.1045.4018 SR3
    • Avigilon Server/Client 5.0.0.56
    • Exacq Server/Client version 5.8.1.48120
    • Network Optix/Digital Watchdog Server/Client version 2.0.2.4753
    • Video Insight version 5.5.20.5

1 report cite this report:

Milestone Acquired by Canon on Jun 13, 2014
Wow. Industry insiders have been speculating about Milestone being acquired for weeks. But the outcome is surprising. Milestone has been...
Comments (8) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on VMS

Axis HD Analog Encoder Tested on Oct 11, 2019
Two years after declaring "Everything is IP", Axis has released their first HD analog encoder, the P7304, with support for AHD, CVI, TVI, and SD...
Network Optix NxWitness 4.0 Tested on Oct 10, 2019
Network Optix released Nx Witness 4.0, proclaiming new features like a deep learning analytics metadata SDK, increased H.265 support, and UX...
Crisis At China's Largest VMS Provider, Netposa, Now State-Controlled on Oct 07, 2019
NetPosa, which bills itself as the PRC's largest VMS provider, is in a crisis. The firm is pursuing huge unpaid bills from clients, and its...
Vivotek 4K S-Series Camera Tested on Sep 30, 2019
Vivotek's highest-end S-series camera claims "Supreme Night Visibility", "Smart IR II", "Smart Stream II", "WDR Pro for unparalleled visibility in...
RealNetworks SAFR Facial Recognition Profile on Sep 25, 2019
RealNetworks entered the surveillance market by giving away their analytics to schools for free, and is now targeting large commercial users with...
Hikvision Acusense Analytics Tested on Sep 23, 2019
Hikvision touts "The Magic Behind It All" in their new Acusense line are 'deep learning algorithms' inside these cameras and recorders. But how...
Axis Perimeter Defender Improves, Yet Worse Than Dahua and Wyze on Sep 19, 2019
While Axis Perimeter Defender analytics improved from our 2018 testing, the market has improved much faster, with much less expensive offerings...
Directory of 70 Video Surveillance Startups on Sep 18, 2019
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known. 2019...
Vivotek "Neural Network-Powered Detection Engine" Analytics Tested on Sep 17, 2019
Vivotek has released "a neural network-powered detection engine", named Smart Motion Detection, claiming that "swaying vegetation, vehicles passing...
Panasonic 4K Camera Tested (WV-S2570L) on Sep 13, 2019
Panasonic has released their latest generation 4K dome, the WV-S2570L, claiming "Extreme image quality allows evidence to be captured even under...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Oct 17, 2019
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video surveillance company, ever, ranging from the WSJ, the Financial Times, Reuters,...
Camera Calculator V3.1 Release Improves User Experience on Oct 17, 2019
IPVM has released a new version of our Camera Calculator, V3.1, with significant user experience improvements, a new development plan, and an...
Securing Access Control Installations Tutorial on Oct 17, 2019
The physical security of access control components is critical to ensuring that a facility is truly secure. Otherwise, the entire system can be...
Access Control Course Fall 2019 - Last Chance on Oct 17, 2019
Register Now - Fall 2019 Access Control Course. Thursday, October 17th is the last day to register. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access...
US DoD Comments on Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua Cyber Security Concerns on Oct 16, 2019
A senior DoD official said the US is "concerned" with the cybersecurity of Hikvision, Dahua, and Huawei due to "CCP" (China Communist Party)...
Pelco Sarix Pro3 Camera Tested on Oct 16, 2019
Pelco has released their Sarix Professional Series 3 cameras, claiming "more security detail in challenging scenes with excellent low light and...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Oct 16, 2019
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator. The guide below includes instructions, images, gifs, and videos demonstrating and explaining the...
Altronix Claims Tango 'Eliminates Electricians' on Oct 15, 2019
Power supply provider Altronix claims its new Tango power supply 'eliminates the need for an electrician, dedicated conduit and wire runs'. In...
Pelco CEO Out, New CEO Found on Oct 15, 2019
Just 2 months after Pelco was sold, Pelco's CEO is out, with Pelco bringing in an outside President and searching for a new CEO from the industry,...