Video Insight Gives Away Access Control Free

By Brian Rhodes, Published Sep 24, 2014, 12:00am EDT

Genetec has offered unified access and video for years and Milestone added its own integrated access last year, but Video Insight aims to top them by giving access control software away for free.

In this update, we look into the details and contrast it with other access platforms to see how it stacks up.

Value Proposition

Starting with Video Insight v6, users can add access management for the cost of door hardware only. Video Insight VMS has integrated MonitorCastEDU into both viewing clients and web viewers, allowing users combined access control and video surveillance in one application. Most basic access management features are included like live Door/Lock status, Lockdown, and cardholder detail overlays.

Video Insight is offering this for no additional software cost, with current camera license also including a single door license.

Limitations

The first release will include basic access control features and functionality, but will lack the full depth of controls and integration common to mature access platforms. Video Insight's initial access management version does not include features found in mature platforms like Lenel, Software House, or S2 such as custom reporting, badge printing, and integration with intrusion, intercoms, or fire alarms.

Although the software is free, users must still furnish door hardware and access controllers, currently limited to Mercury Security devices.

MonitorCastEDU Overview

The bundled access platform is Video Insight's own MonitorCastEDU. The promo screenshots below show basic features like door activity alarms, cardholder overlays, and manual door controls are accessible from the main Video Insight viewing client:

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Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Main Viewing Client

Manual Door Control

MonitorCastEDU can be installed onto the existing Video Insight server or be installed on standalone servers. The application requires SQL, and will support SQL 2008/2011 or installs a version of SQL Express if no central dBase is linked.

Mercury Security Support

MonitorCastEDU is limited to Mercury Security hardware. This includes 'Authentic Mercury [link no longer available]' hardware currently being used by other access systems, or by new hardware purchased from Video Insight. The range of supported hardware includes the 'EP' line of ethernet based controllers and their serial connected sub-controller cards.

Dealer Support

Current Video Insight installers and dealers will need additional training to install access if they are not already selling a Mercury-based access system. Video Insight offers monthly training classes for those dealers that costs $500 and bundles a Mercury controller. Tech Support for MonitorCastEDU is no additional cost.

Functional Comparison

While other VMS vendors combine access management into a video client, Video Insight takes a deeper approach compared to Milestone and adopt a similar path to Genetec.

Milestone's Access Module requires a 'parent' access management platform to manage most of the features, and integrates basic reporting and controls into the viewing interface. Another 3rd party access platform is required before the integration can happen.

Video Insight's approach is similar to Genetec, in that the access software itself is an element of the VMS. No 3rd party software is needed or maintained, and in Video Insight's offering is given away for free. Genetec supports a broad range of controllers and door hardware, while Video Insight is limited to certain Mercury Security offerings.

Market Impact

Video Insight stands to gain market share and strengthen its niche in the education vertical with this free access offering, especially for users not currently employing electronic access control.

For many education customers, security budgets are shrinking or near stagnant, and the potential of adding centralized access management into video surveillance for no additional cost is sure to spark interest.

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