Ubiquiti Protect Video Surveillance Profile

By IPVM Team, Published Nov 07, 2018, 12:35pm EST

Ubiquiti has now been in the video surveillance market for 7 years (see our first coverage back in 2011). In that time, the company's revenue has tripled from ~$350 million to more than $1 billion for the past year.

Ubiquiti's growth has mainly been driven by their success in the overall networking market. In video surveillance, Ubiquiti remains a niche player.

Now, Ubiquiti has released their 'Protect' platform. How will that change their positioning within the video surveillance market?

We spoke to Ubiquiti to better understand Protect and their overall go-to-market including:

  • How is Protect different than UniFi Video?
  • What camera features do they offer?
  • How are 3rd party devices supported?
  • Who will buy Protect?
  • How does Protect compare to the competition?
  • How is Protect sold?
  • How does Ubiquiti support pre and post-sales?
  • What are Ubiquiti's plans for expansion?

Protect ** ***** *****

********'*************** ***** ***** ************, wired *** ******** ******* management ********* **** * single *********, ***** * single ******** **********. **********, the ***** *** *** separated **** *** ***** Networking ********** ******.

******** **** *** ******* platform ** ** ***-*** software ****, *** ** update ** ***** ****** UniFi ***** ********. ***** are *** ****** ************ for ******* ***** *** system ************* ** *** new ******** *** * ***********/***.

New ***** *********

***$*** ***** *** **** Plus******** ** ** ** Ubiquiti *******, ** ***** Access ******, *** ******** a *** *.*" **** HDD *** ***** ***** recording (***** *********** ** 5TB). *** ** *** server *********** **** ** a ******** **** **** Flash *****. ***** *** can ** ******** ********** over * ********* **********.

****** *********** ****, ** is ******* ** *** (or ***-* ***** *******), it **** *** * single ******* **** *** requires ** ********** *** network ****** ** ******* cameras. ************, ** *** a *******-*** ******* ****** to ***** *** **** down ********** ** ***** is * **** ** power, ** ***** ** or *** **********.

*** ****** ***** ***** Camera *** *** **** discontinued, *******, ******** **** they **** ******** ** offer *** ****** ***, support, *** ******** ********.

Limited ****** *********

******** *** * ******* ****** line, ********** ** * models (* *******, * dome, * ****** *****). 3 ****** ***** ********** IR, *** *** ** their ******* **** *****-** microphones.

*** ****** ***** ** the$** ** ****, *****

**** ***** ***** *** the ****, *******, ******** said ******* ** **-****** testing, **** *** *** available ***.

*** ******** ******* ***:

  • ** ******* ***** *****
  • ** ****
  • ** *****-***** ** *******
  • **** *** ** ***** cameras ****** ******** ************ (despite ***** ***** ** wireless **********)

No *** ***** *******

**** ********'* ******* *** recorders *** *********** ******. The ********* / *** do *** ******* *** 3rd ***** *******. ********'* own ******* ******* ****, but *** *****, ********* server-side ****** ********* *** additional ***** ** ******* to *** ***** *****.

***********, ******** ** ******* their ***** ************ ** an ***-**-*** ********. 

Target ******** ****

*** ******* ******** **** *** most ****** ** **** value *** ***** ***** Ubiquiti *** ******** *** wired ********** *** *** looking ** *** * limited ****** ** ** cameras ** ***** ******** network.

******* ** *** **** of *****-***** ****** *******, it **** ** ********* for *** ***** ** justify ********* *** ******** cameras.

Ubiquiti ** ***********

******** ** *********** **** as ****** **** **** and ***** ****** *** consumer *********. **** ****, Ubiquiti ****** ***** ************ and ******-***** ***** ** the ******* ***** *** has ** ******* ******* fees.

*********, ***** *** ***** low-cost *** ********* **** name *********** *** ********* advantage, ** **** ** availability ** ***** ************ like ***. *******, **** NVR-based *******, ******** **** provides ******* **-*******, *** does *** ***** *** cloud ******* *******.

Online *****

* ****** ******** **** is ******** ******* ***** products ******** *** ***** website (** *** ** and ******), *******, ******** remains **** ******* ************.

*** ***** *** **** of ****** ******** ******* continue ** ** * detriment ** ************ ********** interest.

Pre *** **** ***** *******

******* ********** *** ****** is ********'* **** ** non-electronic ******* *** *** post-sales ********* *******. ** is ********* ********** ** reach * ****** ** Ubiquiti **** *** *****. They ********* **** ** the ***************** ******** ****** *** ********* support **** ******** *****.

******** **** **** *** continuing ** ********* **** to ***** ***** ******* for ********** ****.

******** ***** **** **** added ** ****** **** feature ** ***** ******* page, *** ** ** a ****-**-****** **** ** their**** ******* ****.

Expansion *****

******** ** ******** ** expanding *** ********* ***** video ************ ********. **** are ******** ** **** their ************ ********* **-****** towards *** **********, ********* bringing *** ******* *******, larger ******** *******, *** video *********.

***** ******** ** ****** modest *****, *** *******'* overall *********** ******* ** an ******* ****** ** the ********** ************ ******.

Comments (24)

That NVR appliance looks super cool

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Pretty cool, but I'm not sure this whole bundling things into a single appliance trend is what I'm looking for in the security world. I try to stay away from a single point of failure which could take down multiple security layers after something as simple as a power spike. I'm in the electric utility vertical, so it's not uncommon for us to lose equipment due to power spikes that made it through the UPS/other protections.

I haven't found a UPS that can survive longer than a year. Kind of ironic that our power quality is as bad as it is, but that's the nature of the game at high voltage substations and at power plants.

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I have had similar issues with dirty power, I have had to install AC power conditioner then a surge protector in front of my UPS. Most people think a UPS has spike protection in the AC input and that is so untrue.    

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Nope

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Let's install everything into this "Lock Box". It's the best thing ever. This "Lock Box" will do anything you want. 

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Let's leave UBT realm for the IT/MSP/WISP/ISP groups out there. If your technicians are calling into tech support because they have bandwidth issues, cannot enroll an IP camera, fat fingered the IP and do know how to reset well they should just stick with Axis, Hikvision or what ever manufacturer that you feel comfortable with letting your technicians soak up installation hours on basic start up configurations sitting on the phone on with technical support.

Ubiquiti is easy to work on, deploy and troubleshoot. It is not perfect and like all devices has issues, bugs, failures, updates and success. All IT/IoT devices require maintenance and so do security systems. Why do Integrators fail to keep their systems up to date? 

Security Technicians/Engineers/Sales Reps/Integrators: Take off your tinfoil, dolphin splicing, burglar alarm, relay logic out dated analog technology hats and upgrade your IT skills. I laugh when I get a call finding out how long ABC company was troubleshooting simple issues, then say it cannot be fixed because they are not on the DOR or your SSA is expired. Take care of the customer in a timely manner, having the right skillset is key. Do not send your fire alarm tech to trouble shoot a video wall. Do not send your access control guy to sync peoplesoft DB with AD and your Access Control DB. Last but least do not try to sell the manufacturers professional services, wait I thought you were the professional! 

Ok, don't ranting. Ubiquiti is pretty cool, so is Milestone. I think my anger is focused on the shortage of all these super techs integrators are talking about. They don't exist, never have, never will. IT guys taking over, we got this.

 

 

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I get what you are saying in some respects but the UBNT cameras might work but they simply won't work for a majority of the scenarios. Creating a closed system works well for their other systems, such as access points, but it doesn't work for the camera systems. The NVR does look pretty cool, but the cameras are rather ugly to me. 

I guess they are good for the IT person that is asked to install some cameras and is already familiar with Unifi but not the professional CCTV installer that knows IT and also wants to get the proper camera for the customer. 

I would find more value in a UBNT NVR that integrates with all camera manufactures and allows me to mange the cameras in the same manner that Unifi allows me to manage all their other equipment. Or they could allow me to install their cameras on existing installs where one of their cameras might work. Without ONVIF support, that will never happen.

Also, I don't see analytics available for the Protect line.

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Interesting video...however, how does this fit in with Ubiquiti Protect discussion? I did check out the product. I'm sold on the idea, although I'm sure it's much more expensive then any Ubiquiti camera system. I'm not sold on the form factor even though it's equipped with what looks like a fancy blinking dummy camera LED. But I care care as much about functionality as I do with how it looks after installation.

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I was hired to design the surveillance and access control for a Southern California municipality. I used a typical higher-end camera as my basis of design. The city's IT manager was approached by an acquaintance and shown the Ubiquiti cameras. They were incredibly inexpensive, on the order of $75 or so when purchased in a 10-pack (approximate, I don't remember the exact cost), so the City went to an owner furnished procurement and purchased them. The City also utilized the Ubiquiti VMS solution. The installation was completed last August. They're happy with it so far, I'll continue to monitor the system's performance.

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I have a bunch of UniFi properties out there, and it’s been really great except for the lack of a UTM firewall.  Wonder what crucial bit of this is missing and will never be added.  Wish I didn’t have to upgrade the cloudkeys to use the new video system.

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...and it’s been really great except for the lack of a UTM firewall.

What about their USG:

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That's not a UTM, that's their firewall/router. This would be roughly the equivalent of buying a Sonicwall and not paying for any active intrusion prevention plans. To my knowledge they had IPS in Beta, but I wouldn't trust something I'm not paying an annual fee for that includes active definition updates. These units are good for a lot of things and can work in conjunction with a UTM but that additional device wouldn't be managed in the Unifi platform. They work great in homes as they don't lock up like a lot of consumer firewalls do at times.

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What he said.

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What he said.

What you said

and it’s been really great except for the lack of a UTM firewall. Wonder what crucial bit of this is missing and will never be added.

What I said

 

 

 

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These units are good for a lot of things and can work in conjunction with a UTM but that additional device wouldn't be managed in the Unifi platform.

The USG devices that I showed are the devices used with the IPS beta:

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I'm well aware. The keyword here is BETA. I don't run BETA for any of my customers. I wait until the stable version is released. I do test the BETA on a different server for my home system to see if bugs appear. There are also a bunch of tradeoffs when those features are enabled which appear as warnings in the ClaudeSS screenshot you included from Ubiquiti's stories section. DPI is a nice feature and so is hardware offload. This would indicate a processor limitation in the product.

I'm not saying the feature won't get there in the future, but I'm not going to use it at this time. 

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Kyle, I’m not recommending using beta.

U2 expressed wonderment about Ubiquiti’s lack of UTM capabilities/roadmap; although you may have had a clear grasp of what ubnt was releasing, I’m not sure U2 did.

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That's not a UTM, that's their firewall/router. This would be roughly the equivalent of buying a Sonicwall and not paying for any active intrusion prevention plans.

Has it been your experience that just using a vpn firewall device without IPS is not sufficiently secure?

 

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I have been using Unifi Protect since August (as an "Early Access" product), and Unifi Video for a year before that at my home.  Prior to that I used Synology Surveillance Station, and Milestone Essential+ with some older Axis cameras.  Since my home network was all Unifi, it made sense to make the transition.

Where this product really excels, is the mobile app.  Personally, I think it blows away Milestone, Genetec, Exacq, Synology, etc.  My only complaint at this point is that there is no way (that I found) to play back video at 2x, 4x, and so on.  I have never had a VMS app that worked as well as this over lower bandwidth cellular data.  I can easily scroll through hours of video to find what I am looking for.  If I need to export a clip, I can do so with a few taps on the screen, and it ends up in my photos/videos.  In the Ubiquiti forums, they have said many times, they are focused on an excellent end-user experience, and I think this shows.  

The Cloud Key Gen2+ is a solid product, and I think a good value for the money - especially if you are also using it to manage a Unifi network at the same location.  I just received the "Early Access" rack mount kit, which works as advertised and cleans up my installation, but probably a bit expensive for what it does at the current $99 price tag.

I really think the use cases are residential and small business for the product at this point.  Ubiquiti had talked about releasing the software as Linux package or as a Docker container, but decided against that (for now), to the dismay of many.  

For the price, I think the cameras are pretty solid, and for the most part 1080P is sufficient for their use case.  I currently use the standard G3, a few of the Flex, and a Micro.  There are some FCC application documents out there that point to Unifi cameras with greater resolution being on the horizon.  

However, currently there are quite a few missing features.  The NVR records 24/7 and there is no other option.  It is similar to some of the newer codecs with dynamic compression and frame rate.  When there is no movement, the bandwidth scales back.  You set up motion zones and it tags spots in the timeline where motion occurred.  There is no way currently to test the sensitivity of these zones as there was in Unifi Video.  A maximum of 5TB storage and no capability for Raid will make this a no-go for many.  Some folks coming from Unifi Video were looking for feature parity, and disappointed in the initial feature set of Protect.  

This system definitely meets my needs for home use, and I look forward to seeing it evolve.

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 Success story of Ubiquity and other companies offering closed system solutions indicate failure of ONVIF.

 Given ONVIF is ancient, bulky and ugly using SOAP/XML etc,. cutting edge companies like Ubiquity and other start-ups will never adapt ONVIF and they don't need to.

 Same folks behind ONVIF are now coming up with so called SAST stack for IP camera which is obviously doomed for failure as well.

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What?  Let's compare how many ONVIF cameras have been sold vs UBNT.  Hint it's not even close.

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Yes, they are a successful company in many areas. The surveillance products are a draw from IT people that really like the rest of the software in the lineup. The software is good. The camera system may be OK in really small places or if used in larger spaces it was probably installed without a proper design. The cameras are not really inexpensive. The G4-PRO is like $450 and it doesn't appear to be ultra low light. Having an motorized optical zoom isn't really a new feature. Ubiquiti makes pretty solid products but they are generally me too products that make the existing market products better. For example, only a few switches currently support 10Gb where there are a lot of other options on the market. The software is where I believe they really innovate.

In regards to not supporting ONVIF and also not having direct support for other cameras, I have a few questions.

How many doorbell stations can I add to the system?

How many multi-sensor cameras can I add to the system?

Where are my ultra-low light cameras?

How can I incorporate an aesthetically pleasing dome with alternate lens options?

The above is not an exhaustive list either.

You may think ONVIF is ancient, bulky, and ugly, but it does work and works fairly well. I'm not sure of another integration standard that has gained popularity with almost every manufacturer. I like options in choosing cameras to go with the recorder. Ubiquiti is like the Costco of surveillance in that they give you limited choices so you can pick cameras fast even if they may not be the best for a particular application or scene. 

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