Integrators' Top Complaints on VMS SoftwareBy: Ethan Ace, Published on May 31, 2012
VMS platforms are one of the most polarizing topics in the surveillance industry, with practically everyone having his or her own favorite. However, all VMSs have limitations, whether technical or operational, with many issues shared across the industry. To learn the biggest challenges faced by integrators, we asked the following question of respondents in our Spring 2012 survey:
Users responded with many different answers, but some concerns stood out:
- Using existing networks and hardware
- Up-to-date and in-depth camera support
- Third-party integration challenges
We examine each of these in more detail, with quotes from integrator respondents, below.
Existing Networks and Hardware
Using existing networks and hardware was by far the most common integrator concern. As we have discussed multiple times in the past, working with IT departments can be challenging, both politically, dealing with overly restrictive policies and people, as well as technically, when out-of-date or misconfigured hardware is used. These issues lead many integrators to deploy separate networks, as shown in previous surveys.
- "Local customer network ? IT Dept."
- "The biggest problem with deploying a VMS is dealing with the customers IT department. The more you can stay away from IT and deploy your own dedicated network the better."
- "Installing the system using the client's IT infrastructure."
- "If the VMS is deployed on a customers network, there are a lot of unknown variables outside of our control we have to deal with. Good communication with the owners IT department from day one through the end of the project is a must for things to go smoothly, but even then we are dependent on the customer supplying what they are supposed to before our technicians can get the system running properly."
- "The biggest problem we run into is if the owner would like the VMS installed on his existing machines. They often dont understand or listen to what problems could arise."
- "Whenever you have to ride on to the customer own and existing Network where IT security might be in place."
- "The biggest pain we experience is when we are trying to load the VMS software on a customer-provided server. Even though we send them the system requirements well ahead of time, we find that they wait until the last minute before ordering it and it is not configured correctly or that the decided to re-task an existing server that does not meet the VMS hardware requirements."
- "Customers wanting to use thier own PC's. Where possible, we build the hardware required to run the VMS as we know then its capable of doing the job, but sometimes we'll come across a customer (typically small market) who says they have an old PC in the back they'll use to try and lower costs a bit."
- "Not many, only sometimes when a customer's bean counter puts pressure on their IT guys to buy lower end products for servers/storage/networking equipment. Otherwise no pain/challenge, just fun doing the work."
- "IT infrastructure"
- "For me simply making the parties involved understand the dependancy on the network, it is unrealistic to add a 400 camera deployment to a network that is already maxed out. What you sometimes find is that the network layer can cost double the price of the security project to sort out! On big systems you need more advanced network features like routed multicast which is only possible using high end L3 hardware."
- "Customer networks, or their impression of what their network is, are larger problems then deploying a quality VMS product…"
Support for current cameras was next most common among integrators. This involved both the time it takes for new models to be supported, and the level of integration offered with existing cameras, supporting all features of the camera.
- "On occasion, a camera or encoder has not truly offered all the functionality initially promised, such as bi-directional audio or motion-detection triggers under a given CoDec."
- "Software compatibility with the newest cameras. We often find the camera manufacturer has shipped a camera with the newest firmware that isn't currently support by the VMS. Finding the compatible firmware and loading that onto many cameras is often very time consuming and frustrating."
- "Typically, interoperability problems due to firmware/service pack incompatibilities."
- "# 1 is for the VMS provider keeping up with current releases of better cameras...or a certain brand. For example, we feel sometimes the overall system gets (dumbed down) if the VMS platform limits the use of the cameras features."
- "If anything it would be the timespan between a new camera release until the VMS manufacturer get it supported. But when using major brands that is usually not a problem."
Integrations with third-party systems were the final most common concern of integrators. Most commonly these integrations were promised and not delivered, or malfunctioning, due to version changes or upgrades.
- "The biggest challenge in deploying VMS software is integration with other security systems that are not currently supported by VMS."
- "when the advertised integration to another manufacturer's product has disappeared because the new version ships with different underlying structures."
- "When company promised us to integrate the device and we promised it to customer, but after long time and the installation, company told that they can't fully integrate it"