Video Insight VMS Overview

By Ethan Ace, Published Dec 08, 2011, 07:00pm EST

From time to time, we have been asked about VMS provider Video Insight. In this update, we will examine their VMS offering, and the potential competitive advantages it may have, including enterprise-level features, such as failover, active directory integration, and more, at much lower prices.

Product Overview

Video Insight offers a single version of their VMS. They do not have a multi-tiered offering, like many competitors. Instead, software is offered as per-camera licensing only, with no base license costs or MAC address registration, which some competitive options require. Video Insight integrators may also optionally private label the VMS with their own name and logo, if so desired. Some integrators may find this to be a differentiator, though many users prefer to purchase only standard software.

Video Insight maintains a competitive list of camera integrations [link no longer available], including some outdated or low-cost models. Video Insight has addes some of these integrations especially for school district projects where budgets may not allow replacement of every camera in the district, and some dated modesl must remain. A modest list of access control integrations are also supported, which includes S2, RS2, and Blackboard, with Lenel projected for the first quarter of 2012.

Pricing Overview

Video Insight has an MSRP of $150 USD per channel, with no base license cost. One year of software upgrades are included in this price, with additional years costing $25 per camera per year. Video Insight also offers a reduced license cost of $50 when taking over competitive VMS systems.

Like other manufacturers cited in our recent discussions of encoders vs. hybrid recorders, Video Insight also offers their encoders bundled with software [link no longer available] at a reduced license cost. These encoders are available in channel counts from one through forty channels, larger configurations than many competitive kitted options. Prices range from $295 for a single-port encoder to $1,995 for a 16-channel model, with the 40-channel chassis/blade configuration priced at $7,995. Video Insight also offers a buy back on encoders, with a $500 credit towards IP camera licenses when a 16-channel encoder is returned.

Aimed at Periodic Users

One of Video Insight's core claims is that they have made their software with the periodic user in mind, such as school principals or business owners who only have an occasional need to seek event video. With this in mind, they claim to have designed the user interace more simply, placing only often-used tasks on the main interface. The left-hand tree view displays cameras, layouts, and maps, but goes a step further and places archived video clips in a folder structure beneath the associated camera. This may speed access to incident video, instead of opening a separate archive viewing interface for search. Without testing, of course, we cannot confirm any of Video Insight's usability claims.

Web/Mobile Client

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Video Insight includes web and mobile clients, in addition to their client software. Unlike many competitors, the mobile client, which is supported on Blackberry, iOS, and Android, is offered at no additional cost. This may be especially attractive in the education market, Video Insight's main vertical, where iPads have seen accelerated acceptance.

Enterprise Features

Video Insight claims a number of features which are often found only in enterprise-level licenses from other VMS providers. Video Insight includes these features at no extra cost, however:

  • Virtualization: Video Insight is certified to run in virtual environments, using VMware, Hyper-V, or Xen.
  • Active Directory Support: User authentication via Active Directory (most common), LDAP, or Novell eDirectory is supported, so IT staff may more manage logins across multiple servers.
  • Multi-Server: Video Insight supports viewing and management of multiple servers from a single client. No management or "top-level" server is required for this. Logon to each server is handled individually, so no directory is required for login.
  • Failover: Automatic failover, either on a separate physical or virtual server, is supported. This feature especially is often not offered, or only offered with enterprise-level licensing.

Competitive Comparison

Given Video Insight's emphasis on ease of use for the periodic user, their main targeted vertical is education, especially K-12. Given their position of catering to the periodic user, this makes sense. While many larger schools have full-time security staff, teachers, principals, or IT staff are often left to handle archived video review in the case of incidents. Since this is likely only periodically required, ease of use is key. 

Compared to other VMS providers, Video Insight's $150 USD pricing is approximately in line with most mid-range packages, though it offers some advanced functionality (failover, Active Directory, etc.) as mentioned above. These features are often found only in packages such as Genetec Omnicast Enterprise or Milestone XProtect Corporate, which may be 50-100% higher in price.

It is definitely expensive for entry-level systems, being about three times the price of Milestone or Exacq's $50 versions, though they do not offer most of the enterprise functionality of Video Insight. 

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