Training: VMS Fundamentals

By: John Honovich, Published on Feb 11, 2013

In this special report, we provide over 2 hours of unique video training on the fundamentals of selecting and using Video Management Systems. This report is the second in our training series (The first, a pre-requisite for this report is our IP Video 101 guide).

Who is this training for?

This training is designed for:

  • End Users (Security and IT managers)
  • Sales and Marketing Professionals
  • Security Technicians looking to transition to IP Video
The training looks at a wide range of key elements in Video Management Systems, explaining their use, limitations and options.
The training uses demonstrations of numerous real-world VMS systems to show the range of approaches on the market.

What does this training cover?

We have segmented the training into a series of individual videos focusing on the following key sections:

  1. VMS Basics
  2. Live Monitoring
  3. Alarm Monitoring
  4. Investigations
  5. Installation / Upgrading
  6. Camera Support / Configuration
  7. Server Config
  8. Load / Scalability
  9. Using Analytics
  10. 3rd Party System Integration
  11. VMS Pricing
  12. Basics

    This video is for those with minimal experience in using or reviewing any VMS system and provides an overview including:

  • Deployment Options
  • Edge vs Server based VMS
  • Key Functionalities
  • Key Differentiators

For more in depth coverage on these topics, see the following advanced tutorials:

Live Monitoring

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In this video, we examine the key options and functionalities in performing live monitoring of video surveillance systems, including:

  • Thick Client vs Web Client
  • Picking, Displaying and Controlling Cameras
  • Maps, Video Walls and Virtual Matrixes
  • Optimizing Remote Viewing

Alarm Monitoring

In the video below, we examine how alarm monitoring is performed in VMS systems and contrast the options available for security operators. The video discusses:

  • Use and Type of Alarms
  • Lack of VMS support
  • Integrating into VMS systems
  • Options for other security systems


In the following video, we examine how to conduct investigations and the options available to do so, including:

  • Types of search - time, motion event based
  • Playback controls
  • Synchronous vs asynchronous search
  • Exporting and Players (proprietary vs open)


In the video below, we examine the key issues in installing and upgrading VMS software, including:

  • OSes supported
  • Size of installation file
  • Pre-requisites
  • Licenses
  • Upgrading issues

Camera Configuration

In the video below, we examine key issues in using and configuring IP cameras with VMS systems, including:

  • Proprietary vs 'Standard' interfaces
  • Adding and Discovering cameras
  • Basic vs advanced configuration
  • Need for camera web configuration

For more on camera configuration, see:

Server Configuration

In the video below, we examine a wide range of issues involved in configuring a VMS server, including:

  • Storage setup
  • Recording setup
  • Scheduling setup
  • Users, permissions and group setup
  • Enterprise management setup

Load & Scalability

In the video below, we examine how and why VMS systems can become overloaded including:

  • Client side concerns
  • Server side concerns
  • Key factors impacting scalability

3rd Party Integration

In the video below, we examine the process and options for integrating VMS systems with 3rd party security systems, including:

  • What is needed
  • APIs and SDKs
  • What is claimed vs what is available
  • Examples: Pos, analytics, access control, PSIM


In the video below, we look at using analytics within a VMS system, including:

  • Where to run analytics
  • Connecting analytics to VMS
  • Current support levels
  • Demoing key functionalities


In the final video, we examine what prices you might pay for various VMS options, including:

  • Pricing levels examined
  • Software vs appliances
  • Free vs Paid
  • Licensing options - per channel, per server, per connection, etc.

Between 2010 and 2013, the biggest change in VMSes has been pricing. On the one hand, pricing for low end VMS systems has declined, from ~$100 to $50 per channel or even less. Also, annual support licenses have become far more contentious as VMS software usage has expanded to traditional clients unused to paying them.

Future of VMSes

For what's next, see our report on the Future of VMSes.

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