Visio For Video Surveillance Design

By IPVM Team, Published on Feb 20, 2018

Many integrators have standardized on AutoCAD for camera layouts but new users may be overwhelmed by its learning curve. Microsoft's Visio Professional offers many of AutoCAD's core functions in an easier to use drag and drop package.

In this report we look at Visio for surveillance layouts, including:

  • using Visio stencils
  • camera manufacturer stencils
  • versions/pricing
  • floorplan compatibility
  • strengths/weaknesses
  • comparison to other tools

Visio ******

*****'* **** ************* ** drag-and-dropping ***-***** ******, ****** "stencils", **** ****** ***** page *******. ***** ******** a ****** ** ******** for ************ *** ********, including ******* ****** *******, card *******, *** *********.

***** *** *** ******** Ribbon **** ********* ***** in *** ****** ******** since **** ****. **** should ** ******* *** navigation ** *** *****, especially ***** *** ******** with *** ******** **********.

**** **** ***** *** two ****** ** ********* for *****. ** *** focusing ** ***** ************, because ***** ******** **** not ******* **********, ** Security *** ****** ***** Plans.

Manufacturer ********

**** ****** ************* ***** Visio ******* ****** ** their *******(**** ********,****** ********,******** ******** [**** ** longer *********])** ** **** ** create ****** ****** *****. This ********* *** ******** of ******** ******* ** Visio, **** ****** **********, Field ** **** (***), and **** ***** ***** specific ** ****** ****** models.

*** *******, **** ******** stencils ***** ***** *** drag *** ****:

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

**** ***** *** ******'* coverage **** ** ** enabled/disabled ***** *** ** useful ** ***** ******* to ***** *******:

Not *** ************ ******** ***** *** ********

***** ****** *** ** change *** ******* **** color ** *** ***** to ******** ************* ******* different ****** ******/************ ***** on *** *******. ************'* stencils ** *** ******* this ***** ****** **** in *** ***, *** also ********* ****** *** camera ** ****. ** have **** **** ****** using ****** **** ****** with **** ** *** manufacturer's ********.

***** ******** **** ********* on ******* ************'* ********. One ******* ** **** is, **** **** ******** down **** ** *** camera, *** **** **** show *** **** ***** to, ** ***** *** camera **** ** ***** missed ********* ** *** installation ****** ** *** camera. **** *** ** very ********, *** ** often ************** ** ***** camera ****** *****.

Floorplan *************

******** ***** ***** (****, png, ***), *** *****, in ******** ** *** CAD ***** *** ** imported **** *****. **** gives ***********, ****** ** matter **** *** **** format ** *** ***** plan ** ********.

*** ******:

*** ******:

Other ****

***** **** ******** ******** stencils *** ******** ******* rack ********. **** *** be **** ******** ** both *** ****** *********** as **** ** ************* of ******** ******** **** determining ************ ** **** space **** *** ******* or ******** ** *******. Visio *** **** * primary **** *** **** purpose ** ** ***********.

Visio *********

***** *** ********* *** end ***** ** ******** integrators *** * *** reasons:

  • ******* ******** ***** **** other ************
  • ***** ** ****** ************
  • ****** ** *** *** non-engineering *********** ** ******** without *** ********
  • *** ******* ********* **** and ******* ******* ******** in ******** ** *******
  • *** * ***** ** business ******** *** ***** outside ** ****** ****** drawings

***********

*******, ** *** ******* drawbacks ******** ** ************ specific *****:

  • ****** *** ***** ** not ******* **** ******* (look-through-walls ******)
  • ** ********* ***** ****** Editor (******* ****) *** markups ****** ***********
  • **** ************ ******** ** not ******** ** *** effective *********
  • ********* **** ** ******* to *** ** *** formats *** ******* **** non-Visio *****
  • ******** ****** ******** ** a ********* *******
  • ** *************** ****** ** Microsoft *** ************ ******** stencils

Versus ***** *****

***** **** ****** ************* provide **** ****** ****** tools (****, *****, *******), this ***** **** ******* use ********* ** *** end **** *** ******** integrator's ******* ** *** camera ***** (** ** 2012, *** *% ** our ****** ** ***********).

*** ******* ****** **** for ************* *** *** projects ** *******. **** its ************ ******* *** document *******, ******** ******** camera *****, *** ********** availability ** ********* *** Engineering *****. ******* *** offer **** *-* ******** of * **** ****, limitless ************* ** ****** and ******, ******* ******** detailed ********, * **** higher ******** **, *** has * **** **** complex ********* **** ** necessary *** **** ****** Layout *******.

** ******** **************** ****, ******* ** ** be * ********** ******* tool. **** *** *********** features **** ************* ******, revision *******, *** **-***** 360° ********, ***** ********** noted *** * **** valuable ******* **** ***** system ******. ******* *** use ** *** **** the ********* ** ** complex **** **** ****** and ******* ***** ********.

Versus **** ****** **********

*** **** ****** ********** includes ******* ******** *** found ** *****:

  • ***** ******** ** *******:*** ********** ************ *,*** ****** ** cameras** ** **** *******. Visio ****** ******** *** available **** *** * handful ** *************.\
  • ** ***** *************:************, *** ********** ** models ******* ******* ************** of ***** ** *****, not ****** ** ***** stencils.
  • *** ************ *** *******: The ****** ********** ******** PPF ************ **** ** real **** (******* **** FOV) *** ** *******, along **** ******** *** sample ****** *** *******, night, ***** *** *****, and ********** ** *******.
  • ********** ***** ********:***** *** ****** ****** image ******** *** **** camera, ******** **** ********* Calculator ********, *** ********* in *****.
  • ******** ****** *******:********** ******** *** ** easily ******** ** ******** file *****, **** ** PDF, ******, **********, *** Word. ******* ******* ******* a ****** ******* ** Visio.

*******, *** ****** ********** lacks ******* *** ******** found ** *****:

  • ** ***** *******:*** ****** ********** ******** only ************ *******, **** no ****** ** ******* access, *********, ** ***** symbols ********* ** *****.
  • ** **** *******:*****'* ******* ** ****** rack ******* **** ***-**** stencils ** *** ********* in *** ****** **********.
  • ** ******* ********:************, *** ****** ********** does *** ******* *****'* network *********** ********, ***** may ** ****** ** many **/** ************ ***********.

Visio **** **********

*********** ****** ****** ****** software **** **** ***** slightly ***** **** ******** to *****, **** *********** on ***** ******** ***** (Network *******, **** *******, Flow ******). ******* ** now ************ ****, **** a **** ******, ***** 3-D ****** *** ****** interface.

  • ********* ***** ************ ****:$***.** *** - *******
  • ******** ******* (******* ************ Only ** ** ****):$****/**** (** $***/*****)
  • ****:$*** – *******, **** $100 ****** ***********

Comments (30)

If you're looking at Visio or AutoCAD I would strongly recommend looking at D-Tools for your quoting software as the quote and design are married together. You can have your quote open on your left monitor and Visio open on your right monitor and drag parts from your quote onto Visio.  

I only watched part of the video, but that seems like a great option for someone who is looking at updating (or buying their first) quoting tools. Do you use D-Tools?

We are currently demoing it.  I am very impressed as this will make our quoting/design process way more efficient, accurate and we will have designs for every project. 

I agree, the online demo we had with them are pretty impressive. It's up there, but very robust. We just haven't determined if we need to pull the trigger on the expenditure. But as the systems person I wouldn't mind having it.

Tried it and I think it would be a very good tool.  Our issue is that you have to have someone manage the data, input parts etc. or it doesn't work.  We couldn't afford the software and the time to manage it in order to use it properly.

D-Tools already has 2 Million parts loaded which you can download and import right into D-tools. I was able to important about 4000 products in a couple of minutes.   I have tried a number of quoting tools and D-Tools is by far my favorite. 

But you still have to load all your pricing, right and maintain all that.  Also didn't have live links to vendors like Quotwerks does which I find a great feature.

Etilize hasn't been very useful for us as most of our products are not sold through "online" distributors.   

Syncing straightforward as once you download the products you then use the sync tool to match your pricing with the products you have loaded.  We have all of our pricing in CSV files so it is very easy to sync with the product. 

I would agree on Etilize.  It's helpful, but when you can directly link to D&H, Ingram and others, I think that's where is starts saving time and money.  I wish more distributors and manufactures that sell direct would allow that kind of integration.  Takes a big chuck of the management out of it.

I wish more manufacturers would make it easy to load pricing or work with an Etilize service but I am not holding my breath hence why we are switching.  

Since you use Quotwerks for you quotes what do you use for design and schematic software? 

Autocad and Visio.  That's what I thought was slick in D-Tools was there mapping, layout and connection tools.

Yea that is what has me so interested.  I love the fact I can start a quote from Visio.  Lay out all the parts on the plans and they automatically get added to the quote. Also, all the stencils are all included and the Visio/Cad files are married to the quote so you don't have to manage user access to the files. 

Also really like how everything starts with a location and a system. You can then create quotes based on location and system.  Example Location- Front Door:  CCTV cost, Intercom cost, Access cost, Intrusion cost.  Makes it much easier for the customer to understand what they are paying for and its basically no work on our end to output quotes like this. 

Does the data subscription which is optional has the manufacturers for the physical security systems .

Can you share with us what are the vendors included in your library if we get this option ? 

what is the cost incurred on this subscription as well ?

Great article and interesting to know. For ourselves, where our jobs can range from $10K to over $1million on single sites, and multi-million across a single customer's multiple sites, we've always used Visio and it has done well enough for what we need. When we get AutoCAD files, we just use the free converter to make them into PDFs which we import into Visio.

We're not against AutoCAD, we just haven't been able to find very easily people who are trained on it, and with Visio having met all our needs, there hasn't been the impetus to invest in training and buying the software.

Indeed, with that really high price (to us) for AutoCAD now, if we ever really did need AutoCAD work, it would probably be cheaper to outsource it to a temp contractor as needed. 

I didn't know Axis Stencil shape allowed for blind spot areas. We'll have to check that out.

I know both AutoCAD and Visio and I prefer Visio. All the customers and co-workers always found Visio much friendly and prints are easy to read

With Visio you can link your Excel estimator along with Microsoft Access together and have a customized datasheet BOM with graphical criteria you create. Downside is you have to put time into building this library, however any object library software will require to build all your templates and blocks(remain unique). Riser charts and time pipes also are easily merged with Excel's charts and the use of Excel's powerful formulas allow you to be creative as you want to be. Access is good for importing all the manufacture price sheets, usually in excel including data such as Part#, Description and Cost and then accessible to Visio.

If you want to be effective with .dwg floorplans you will still need to us AutoCAD to clean up before importing into Visio, only import what you need or Visio can be a burden knocking down layers not needed in your floorplan. Again having adept knowledge of the entire MS Office suite is what can make Visio powerful. If the hard spec is AutoCAD, Revit, Navisworks or Solidworks then step up to the plate, software is not hard to learn it just requires time.

I totally agree that part of Visio's true value is its ability to share data across other Microsoft office apps, and comfortable look-and-feel to those other apps. I'm guessing that the majority of users do not build that functionality to any scale.

If the hard spec is AutoCAD, Revit, Navisworks or Solidworks then step up to the plate, software is not hard to learn it just requires time.

The problem with this is many integrators do not have the time or money to invest in any of those tools, especially considering the learning curve specifically of AutoCAD and Solidworks (I used both extensively in college), I cant comment on Revit or Navisworks. Even if you have a $75000 job, and it takes a week of an engineer's time, plus the cost of AutoCAD, that's roughly $3500 additional cost the company has to eat, or find a way to bury in the job. That's almost 5 points of margin out of the job, right off the top.

An alternative software that can be used is JVSG.  It overcomes many of the shortcomings of Visio for CCTV survey and also shows a 3D field of view. It should be noted that it is used only for CCTV, and cannot be used for network or rack diagrams. We are currently using it at our company.

 

We also use JVSG from several years. In last update, IR and night vision are included.

Thanks for sharing. Very useful information. Of course, no one can beat powerful AutoCAD but for my use Visio would be enough. I can see two more plus points using Visio:

a. It shall save us license cost because we already have Microsoft agreement which includes Visio.

b. We shall be able to use collaborative tools like SharePoint and I am sure being Microsoft product, it shall be very easy to integrate and create workflows.

Does anyone know wether the standard Visio is sufficient for designing video surveillance, or if only Professional have the required features needed for this?

I think the only real difference is the number of templates and stencils that come with Professional versus Standard. Last time I looked it seemed that was the main difference. We've been using Professional from start for the past 10 years or so. But you can find plenty of free templates online and from many manufacturers, and some pretty nice premium ones for sale. So I would say most likely yeah, Standard would be fine. And if you do eventually find a need for Pro, that should mean you are doing enough business to justify the cost.

You can get various subscriptions for Professional, mine is at 15 per month in comparison to other subscriptions I/We are paying for... :D

In regards to differences from Standard, which maybe someone can take a look regarding drawing in scale. If you need to move a shape or group of shapes accurately there is this tool in Professional, not sure about Standard.

View/Macros/Addon/Visio Extras/Move Shapes...

You could definitely get by using Standard, but there are some limitations in the templates included and supported when it comes to Electrical and Engineering templates and stencils. Here is a chart from Microsoft that shows the differences Microsoft - Visio Comparison Chart

I have been using a product called System Surveyor.  Very handy design tool and cloud based.

Tony I have been using System Surveyor as well for the last year and it is a fantastic design and layout tool. The best I have used to date and the monthly cost for our company is well worth it for the time saved compared to other programs. Extremely intuitive and the ability to import pdf floorplans and even a photo of a floorplan, document etc is a game changer for us. I absolutely love the platform and hopefully IPVM can do a review in the near future.

This might be a bit off topic, but it seemed relevant.  Since moving from the contractor world to the Federal Gov't world, I have been dealing with the planning and design of a lot of construction and renovation products.  There is a HUGE push in the architectural and construction space to get everything into REVIT.  You can build a lot of detail in there also, and you can include price in an object, so once the design is complete you just print out ready made schedules with whatever level of detail you wish.  

If I were to venture a guess,i would say that a lot of these firms will be 100% on REVIT and will refuse and other file type in the next 5-7 years.  

I totally agree that REVIT has the potential to take over the CAD front in which it pretty much already has. I would still urge people to use all types of CAD drawing software as you gain many different perspectives due to the learn curves of each platform, at least for me it helps me think outside the rows and columns that dictate your next sequence of moves or logic. 

Now there are some people that simply need to attend a class and be instructed step by step AutoCAD/Revit standards, with a mentor/mentee structure in order to master their class. Good for them, glad I don't have that issue nor would I want to get caught up in drafter politics. Every see a bunch of old grey/bald AutoCAD guys argue?, hilarious.

Thinking in code is very much like thinking in scale and dimensions and engaging in both is very rewarding, mentally. Revit for the win, if you are new to the game make sure your future firm is actively using it so you can too. 

Last I would still advise learning as much as you can with all Autodesk, Solid works, Navisworks platforms as well as the drag and drop, align, rotate software such as Bluebeam, Visio, Rhino 5. A chef does not always just want to fry, one must also boil, bake, smoke, sauté, grow, sell his own food. Eating is optional.

I totally agree that REVIT has the potential to take over the CAD front in which it pretty much already has.

This is pretty bold.  Not saying you are wrong, but Revit is not the only CAD package being used for building design & architecture tasks.  Are you using Revit for estimation take-offs and red-line drawings too?

 Every see a bunch of old grey/bald AutoCAD guys argue?, hilarious.

You just described my family reunions!  :)

 

Currently using REVIT as specified communications with the other trade engineers Civil, Structural, Electrical and Architects. Security spots and dots are minimal, however raceways to EOL devices based on other infrastructure routing is easier layered as a whole in Revit versus individuals riser diagrams. Risers are quintessential however if the LV hardware real estate is shared it is much easier for a lead engineer to segment each trade's design.

As far as your family reunions, I can easily start a fight at the Bunn coffee maker at 6am in the morning, walk away unscathed and then watch the oldies marinate and stew all day.

Outside of Revit, I use all the applications provided by my company or needed to get the job done. I know not everyone can know it all ( I don't) but it helps to play multiple sports rather than just one. HINT: most sports center around something that is somewhat ROUND.

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