Testing NUUO's IP Video Surveillance Software

By John Honovich, Published Jun 23, 2009, 08:00pm EDT

NUUO aims to beat companies such as Milestone, OnSSI and Exacq with broader functionalities and product lines at lower cost. What ACTi is to Axis, NUUO hopes to be to the IP video software providers.

NUUO is prominent in Asia but not well known in the West. For instance, at Secutech in Taipei, NUUO had a big booth in the front of the show floor that was consistently packed. By contrast, in the US and the UK, NUUO has some presence but is certainly much less well known.

NUUO reports over 13,000 deployments in 60 countries. [link no longer available]

On a specification level, what's interesting about NUUO is that they offer a lot:

  • Broad camera support (over 500 models from 31 manufacturers)
  • Variety of built-in functionalities including analytics
  • Central management software [link no longer available]
  • Number of product options including NVR appliances [link no longer available], hybrid DVRs [link no longer available] and IP video surveillance software [link no longer available]
Certainly there's potential. The question becomes: Is it good enough to compete against the biggest companies?
In our first in a series of tests of NUUO, we examine their IP video surveillance software offering [link no longer available] (the SCB-IP+). Here's a summary of key findings:
  • The software worked well with a variety of manufacturer's cameras. We tested with the iQeye 752, the Arecont 3105 and the Cisco PVC-300.
  • The software has a lot of functionalities to offer - all built in, including people counting, a variety of analytics, PoS searching, web server/clients for live monitoring and investigations.
  • Event monitoring was difficult to use.
  • The analytics were simplistic.
  • Integrators should change system defaults immediately.

In this screencast, we demonstrate key strengths and weaknesses for live monitoring. Key points include:

  • Live monitoring of multiple manufacturer's cameras was easy to accomplish with main functionalities readily available.
  • The application always runs full-screen which helps keep security guards focused but bad for anyone trying to operate multiple applications on the PC.
  • All playback requires launching of a second application.
  • Events are displayed as pop-ups which can clutter and confuse the operator. Also clicking on events does not link to playing back the associated video which can make assessing events difficult.
  • Web based monitoring works essentially the same and can be formed via Internet Explorer only.

System Administration

System administration was fairly straightforward. NUUO includes a pocket sized user manual that was quite useful for figuring out how to do setup. Installation was simple and there is no camera licensing. Simply plug in a USB dongle that enables a set number of channels.

The main challenge that I found with administration is that many important features are disabled by default plus the software does not run as a Windows service. As such, you have to change the defaults to ensure that functions continue to run in the inevitable case that the application is shut down or the system is restarted.

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Conducting Investigations

NUUO provides a number of tools to conduct investigations including by analytic events and PoS transactions (in addition to standard time and motion based searches). Doing so can be tricky becauase the functionalities are located in different part of the UI (see screencast).

The search results for analytic events does not display a bounding box on what triggered the event so it can be difficult to figure out what exactly caused the event at what particular time (see screencast below). 

Video Analytics Configuration and Use

Video analytics are built-in and provided at no additional cost (foreign object, missing object and people counting being the most interesting three). The biggest constraint is the simplicty or lack of intelligence of the analytics.

They may be useful in sterile environments but I would not recommend them in mission critical areas where analytics have to correct always in harsh climates.

Product Pricing

The MSRP for the IP video software tested in this review is $2,130 USD for 16 channels (about $133 USD per channel).

The Central Management Software (CMS) is sold separately from the base IP video software. The MSRP for the CMS is $2,665 USD for 4 server. Assuming 40 channels per server, this is an additional $16 USD per channel (2,665 / 160).

The approximate MSRP for a central managed NUUO installation is about $150 USD per channel.

Recommendations

For an integrator, NUUO is a product line that's worth considering but not a clearly superior offering. The software provides broad camera support and a lot of functionalities. It also comes as part of a product series that allows you to mix and match software with appliances managed by a single CMS. At its price point, it does offer significant savings to other enterprise options on the market (comparable enterprise management offerings are widely available at $225-$250 MSRP per channel). Also, some of the functionalities provided tend to be difficult to use (event monitoring, analytics, administration).

The market continues to evolve on all sides. As such, it will be interesting to see how NUUO and other providers adapt and evolve.

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