Testing Super Low Cost VMS (Xeoma)

By Sarit Williams, Published Jun 27, 2013, 12:00am EDT

VMS software for less than $3 per channel? Prices have certainly come down over the last few years, but a relative newcomer is pushing them even lower. FelenaSoft's Xeoma charges no more than $19.95 per channel and under $10 per channel for 32 cameras ($299.95), down to a few dollars for hundreds of channels.

Plus, the software is being actively developed every month.

Xeoma is an easy to use, quick to get started VMS, among the easiest we have ever seen. However, it has few, if any, advanced / professional feature. And while third party direct integration worked with multiple cameras (requires using exact Stream URL or 'Manufacture Auto Select' option), ONVIF did not (even though it was claimed).

If you are looking for something simple that's inexpensive for home / small business use, Xeoma is worth considering. For more than that, it is interesting to see how they developed their UI to simplify the user experience, but likely unattractive for deployment.

Xeoma Overview

This <2 minute video gives a big picture overview of the Xeoma VMS. We recommend you watch it:

Key Advantages

Beyond price, which clearly is the standout 'feature', the biggest other driver is simplicity of use. Here are a few specifics:

  • Software: Lightweight application- exe was 14.2MB, and dmg was 10.5MB (no database, all flat files.  An issue for large organizations where users/settings would need to be shared, also no Active Directory integration)
  • Easy to use interface geared towards non-techies via schematic type of building camera configuration/attributes (End user manual is built into the software via hyperlinks and pop-ups and can easily submit an issue via software, instead of another site)
  • Enterprise features such as duplication of camera schemas (mass add) and mass configuration changes. (available in more costly VMSes usually)
  • Unitor feature: seam together streams from completely different cameras into one thus recording object's movement as one video rather than several different camera archives.
  • Low level control: via the added H.264 decoding acceleration checkbox users can transfer high CPU processing to the video graphics card. The RTSP checkbox allows for searching of H264 streams (transmitted through rtsp protocol) over MJPEG streams search, which is the default search. (In contrast, other VMSes hide those options and may sometimes choose the wrong option for end user's environment or client.)We did NOT test these options.
  • Email capabilities work with most email servers such as Yahoo, Google, etc. (compared to other VMSes requiring a SMTP server)
  • Runs as a service on all three platforms, but must be installed first
  • Android app beta version available -no iOS app (having mobile apps is becoming common requirement and other VMSes offer both) 
  • Remote viewing: options include Webserver capability via Network port forwarding (no ActiveX required) or a multi server connection to another Xeoma server.

 

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Key Disadvantages

Fundamentally, this is a borderline professional VMS, at best, lacking many critical enterprise functionalities: access control integration, alarm management, video analytics, network video distribution. 

Moreover, ONVIF support, though claimed, did not work with any of the 3 ONVIF cameras we tried plus the manufacturer confirms that they have not run the official ONVIF conformance test. 

Beyond those big structural ones, a number of features are missing and or weak, including:

  • No archive search: no date/time, calender feature or the ability to search across multiple cameras
  • No digital zoom via software, has to be a PTZ capable camera with optical zoom to use.
  • No Maps
  • No ability to TAB between entry fields, frustrating for avid keyboard users and is apparent when configuring settings via UI.
  • Passwords are in clear view in UI, both in password fields and URL of cameras connected to via VMS (security issue)
  • End user manual is built into the software via hyperlinks and pop-ups. This results in nested child pop-ups, which are annoying, some area tooltips will disappear once shown 3 times, others will always remain.  
  • No iOS app available
  • SMS capability is an add-on service that costs ~1.3 cents per message- added cost, albeit low. 
  • Raw video files are proprietary .xem files, play via Xeoma or export in another format from software. 
  • Support: Company is located in Russia and support via email only; adds a delay in response given hours of operation are 1AM-10AM CST.

The video below show some of these in action:

 

Installation

Installation options for Windows, Linux, Mac and Android are available. From clicking the install file, it takes less than 15 seconds to see a live image as the software immediately starts a camera scan on the network and adds all cameras it can (ones without security). No need to press any buttons.

Test setup:

We used both the runtime (temporary) install on MAC (OS X 10.8.3) and the full Windows Software (windows 7, 32 bit). We used four cameras: isight (built into the MAC), Axis, Bosch, and Ycam.  

Conclusion

Overall, Xeoma is a great option for those looking for an extremely low price for a VMS.  It allows for non-technical users the ability to configure the basics, while allowing advanced users the ability to control the behavior of the low level functionality, to limited degree. It lacks some basic - must have – functionality; in addition to enterprise level features. These missing components determine whether a product is a serious contender when compared to other entry level VMSes like Milestone and Exacq. On the other hand, Felenesoft is a fast moving company with new features every two weeks and may become more of a threat in the coming years given the low cost paired with some additional features.

 

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