VMS Live Video Shootout

Author: Sarit Williams, Published on Aug 06, 2013

Viewing live video is the first and most fundamental feature of video management systems. In this study, we tested 7 VMSes, comparing and contrasting features and the ease of use of the offerings.

We evaluated Avigilon, Exacq, Genetec, Milestone, Network Optix/Digital Watchdog, OnSSI and Video Insight to understand those differences and recognize what operators can expect using each VMS.

The image below shows a glimpse of each VMS side by side:

We found 9 main differentiators: 

  • Screen Default - What is first shown to the user impacts their experience
  • 16:9 vs 4:3 Aspect Ratios - How a VMS handles different aspect ratios (such as HD and SD)
  • Creating/Selecting Views/Layouts - How sets of cameras can be accessed and displayed
  • Dragging and Dropping Cameras - What ways cameras can be selected 
  • Camera Options in Live View - What information and tools are provided
  • Instant Replay - How quickly or easily can a user access recently recorded video
  • Camera Tours - How operators can watch multiple cameras over time
  • Send Live View to Others - How operators can share important video feeds in real time
  • Instant Manual Recording - How operators can immediately record key incidents

******* **** ***** ** *** ***** *** **** *********** ******* of ***** ********** *******. ** **** *****, ** ****** * VMSes, ********* *** *********** ******** *** *** **** ** *** of *** *********.

** ********* ********, *****, *******, *********, ******* *****/******* ********, ***** and ***** ******* ** ********** ***** *********** *** ********* **** operators *** ****** ***** **** ***.

*** ***** ***** ***** * ******* ** **** *** **** by ****:

** ***** * **** ***************: 

  • ****** *******- **** ** ***** ***** ** *** **** ******* ***** experience
  • **:* ** *:* ****** ******- *** * *** ******* ********* ****** ****** (**** ** HD *** **)
  • ********/********* *****/******* - *** **** ** ******* *** ** ******** and *********
  • ******** *** ******** ******* - **** **** ******* *** ** selected 
  • ****** ******* ** **** **** - **** *********** *** ***** are ********
  • ******* ****** - *** ******* ** ****** *** * **** access ******** ******** *****
  • ****** ***** - *** ********* *** ***** ******** ******* **** time
  • **** **** **** ** ****** - *** ********* *** ***** important ***** ***** ** **** ****
  • ******* ****** ********* - *** ********* *** *********** ****** *** incidents

[***************]

Screen *******

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

  • **** ****** / ******* *********: *********, *******, ********, ***** *** ***** ******* *** ******** buttons, **** ****** *** **** ******* *** **** ***** **** to ****, *** ******** ********* ** ****** ************* ** ******** the **** **** *** ********* **** ******* *** ** *** added *******.
  • **** ***** / ******* ********* **** **** *******: ******* *****’* ** ******** * **** ****, *** * bottom ******** **** **** *** ** ****** **** **** * clicks.
  • ** **** ******: ***** ********' ** *** *** **** ************, ****** ******* *** **** streams **** * ****** *** ********. **** ***** **** * full ****** **** (*******) *** * “******** ****” **** *************. This *** ** * *** ************ *** *** ***-********* **** to **** *** *******, ***** *** ******* *** *** ******* available **** ******** ********** **** **** ** **** ***.

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

16:9 *** *:* ****** ******

******* ****** ***** ******* ** ********* ****** ****** ** *** maximizing *** **** ****** ** *** ******, ** ** ******** how **** *** ******** ***** ******.

  • ****: ********’* ****** ***** ******* **** *** **** ********* *** less ********. **** ******* *** **** ** ****** ******** ** horizontal - *** ****** **:* ***** (******* ** ****) ******** with *:* ***** **** ********** *** **** ****** ** *** layout. 
  • *****, ********* *** ***** ***** *** * ****** ** ****** 16:9 ** * *:* *** * ******* ** **** (***** will ****** * ***** ****** ***** ** *** ******* ***** of ******* **** * ******** *****, ** ** */* *** 4:3, *** ** **** ****** **** **** *:*). 
  • ******* ***** *** *** **** *** **** ******* ******** ******* depending ** *** ******'* *********. **** ******** *** ********** **:* and ***** ******** ******* *** *********, *** ********* ***** ******** cameras ** *** ******** ******* *** *******.
  • *****: ***** ******* *** *** ***** ** ********** **:* ******* to * *:* ****** *****.  *** **** ***** **** ** use *** “***** ****** ***** ******” ** **** *** ******* redraw, *** **** **** ***** *** **** **** ********** ****** space ******* *** *******.

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

Creating/Selecting *****, *** *******

****** ******** *** ********* *** **** ** *** *** **** operator’s *****- *** ***********- *** *********. **** ***** ***** *** customizations *** ** *** ****** ** ***.

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

  • ************* *******: ******** *** ***** ******* *** **** ************* ******* ********** by ****** ** ******** ****/******* ************ **** ******** ****** ******* (though ** ****** ** ******* ** ******** ***** ***** **** version).
  • ********** ********* ****: *******, *********, *** ***** ******* ******* *** ******* ****** templates ******* **** * ****** ****** ****** ** ** ******* 100 ***** *** * ****** ****** ** ********* **** ******* ranges ** ******* (******* *** ***** *** ** **, ***** max ** **, ***** ******* *** ******** ** ***). ****: Genetec *** ********* **** ***** * ****** ****** ** **** layouts ** ****** ****, ******* ************* ***** ******* *** **** modification ** *** ***********, ************
  • ********: ******* *****'* ******* ******** *** * *** ** ** cameras (** ********** *****) ** ***** ** *** ** ****** layout ** * ***** **. ** **, ** ***, *** most *********, *** *** ***** **** ****** **** ** ****.

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

Dragging *** ******** *******

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

  • ** ****** ****/**** *** ******* ** **** ******* ****** *****: ***** *** *** **** *********** ** ********* *** **** ** right ***** *** ****** * ****** ** *** ******- * clicks *** ****. (** ****** ****** ******* ** *****)
  • **** ****** **** **** *** **** ** **** ******* ****** panes: ** ********, *****, ******* *** ******* *****, *** **** can *** *** **** **** *** **** **** *** **** pane, *** **** **** *** **** ****** *** ****** ****** to ****** *********. (******** ****** ** ******* **** ********* ** Enterprise *******, *******/********* ******* ******** ****** ** ****** ** ****)

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

Camera ******* ** **** ****

** ****** *** *** ****** **** ** ****** **** ****/**** and ******** ***** *** ***** * *** ***-*** ** ****.

  • **** *************: ***** ******* *** **** ************* *** ******’* ***** overlay ** ******** ****/****/***** **** *** **** *************, ****** **** account *** ****** **********. *** *******, ***** ** **** ********** when ** * ******** *********** (*** *****) ** **** *** details ***** *** **** * *****/**** ** **** ****** ** in * **** ********* ***** **** ***** *** ** ******.
  • ***** *************: *****, ********, *** ******* ***** *** ******* *** timestamp ** ** ****** ** ** *** ****** *** ** to ******* ** *** **** ****.
  • **** ***********: *****, *********, *******, ***** *** ******* ***** ***** many ******** ******* **** ** **********, ***, **** ******* *** others ** ***** ******** ** ***** *** ****** ****** ** Genetec. ** ********, ******* ***** ****** ******** ******** ****** *** **** ** *** ****** ** *** ********** because ** ********* *********** ** ****** ** ******- ********** *** troubleshooting. 
  • ***** ***********: ***** ******* ****** ****** ****, ****** ****, **** focus, *** *** ******* ** ****** * **** ****** ***-** for * ****** ****.

Removing *******

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

  • ******* *** ***********: ******** *** ** ******* **** *** *******- simply ***** *** *** ***** * ******: *****, *******, *** ***** right ***** ** ******** ** ****** *** ******.
  • ******* *** *********: ********* *** ***** ******* ******* *** **** to ** **** ***** ** ****** * ******-******* ********** ***** and ** ** ********* *** *** ******, *** **** **** view *******.

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

 Instant ******

*********, ********* *** **** *** ******* ** ******* ** * camera's **** ** ********* *** * ****** ***** ** ** event. ** ********** *** ****'* **** **** ****** **** **** view ******* ****** ** ****** ******** *****. ***** **** ******** UI ********** ** ********, ******* *** *****, **** *** *********** different **********. ***** *** * **** ** ****** ****** ****:

  • *** ***-**: ***** *** ***** ******* - **** *****, * ***** click **** ***** ****** * ****** (*** ******* ** *** view) ** * ****** ****** ****** ** ** ********, ****** it **** ****** ** * ***-** (***** *** ** ********* or ***** ** ******* ******). ********, *** ****** ***** *** 5 *** ** ******* **** *, * ***** *******. ***** ******* offers * ****** ******'* ** ****** ******* ***-** **** ****** be *********, *** *** ** ***** ** ******* ******. ** viewing **** **** *** ******, ** ******** *** **** ** set ****** ******* (*** ******* *** ****** *****:*/*/*). *** ****** will ****** **** *** ************ ******** ** *** ****** **** no *** ** ***** * ****** **** ******** ** ****** it ** ** **** ** **** * **** ****- ********** and **********)
  • ******** ****: *******, ********* *** ******* ***** - ******* *** ********* ***** for **** * ****** ****** ****** ** *** ******* ****** the **** (******** ****** **** **** ** * ****** ** a ****** ******** ***** *** *** ******* ** **** ** show * ************ ****) ** * **** *** ***** **** live *** ****** ** *** **** ****. ******* ***** ******** * timeline *** ** *** **** **** **** ****** ****** *** immediate ******** ******* ****** ** ***** ***** ** ****** * specific **** ********. **** ** ******* ** ** **** **** alternatives *** ***** **** * ******* ********* ******** ***** *** be ***********.
  • ****: ******** ****** * **/**/** ****** **********, ** ******** ******* replay ******* ***-*** *** *********** *****, ****, *******. 
  • *** ********: ***** ****** *** **** ** ********** **** **** (* frame ** * **** ** **** **** *** ******* ****** a ****)** ***** ****** ****** ** **** * ******** ******* for *** ******* ** ****-** ********** ****** **********.

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

Camera *****

***** *** *** ********* ******* *******: *****/******* ** * ***** and ****** ********* ****** * **** ** * ******. ***** are * ****** *** ***** **** ****:

  • ******* **** *******: *******, ********* *** ***** ******* ***** *** tours/carousels/camera ********* ****** * **** **** ********* *** *** ** * ****** ******. (******* and ********* ***** *** ********* ***** ***** *** **** ****** within * ****** **** ** ****. ***** ******* ****** ***** server ****** *******) 
  • ******* **** *****/*******: ********, ***** *** ******* ***** ***’* ***** the ******* ** **** ***** ****** * ****/**** ** * layouts *** **** ***** **** ******* (******* ***** **** ******* through *** ******* ** * ****** ****)
  • ******* **** * ****** ******: ******* ***** ** *** **** limited ** **** ******** * **** ** ********* ******* *** added ** *** “***** ****”, *** ******* ******* *** * camera ********/**** ****** * ****** **** ** * ******. ***** will ***** **** *** *** ******** ******** ** ******* ****** a ****.
  • ******* ******* **** ***** *******: *******, ********, *** ***** ***** for ******* ** *****/*****/******.  *** ******* ***** **** ** * seconds *** ****** *** *************.

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

 

Send **** **** ** ******

************* *** * *** ****** ** ******** **** ********** *** that ******* ** ********* **** *********** ***** ************ ** ********* operators **** *********** ******* ** ********.

  • *** ********* ** ***** *** ******* ***** ** ***. ********* allows * **** ** ***** **** ** ******, *** *** logged ** *****. ******** ****** *** ************* ******* ** **** to ******* ****, *** **** ** **********.
  • *****’* “**** *****” ****** ******** *** ******** ** **** * push ***** **** ** ***** ****** *** ******* **** ****** video ******* ********* *** *** ****, ***** ***** ** ****** missed ** *** ********. ** ********,*** ****** **** **** *** same **** ******** ***** ** ***** *** ******** *********.
  • ******* ****** ******* * **** **** ** ******* ****** ** user ** *******, ***** *** ****** * **** ****** ** a ****** ****** (***** ******* ***** * ****** ****** ** a ****), *** ** **** **** ** ** ***-*** *** the ********* ***** ***** ** ****** ** ******. 

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

Instant ****** *********

**** * ******’* ********* ** *** ** ****** ********* ****’* triggered ***, *** ******** ****** **** *** ****** ** ****** manually ** *** ***** ** ******** ** ******** ** **** view.

  • ******** **** *****: ** ***** ****’* ********** * “**** *******” *** ******** a *** ***** ** ***** *** **** ******.
  • ***** **: ********, ***** *******, *****, ********* *** ******* *** ***** * manual ****** ****** **** * ******* * ****** ****** **** (30 ****** ******* *** ***** *******).
  • *********: ******* ***** *** * ‘*****’ ****** ********* ***** *** cameras **** ****** ** ******* ********* *** *** ******* *** it ******** *** ******* ** ******* ** *********- *** ******* the **** ** *** ****** ****** ****** **** *** ******* are *** ********* *** ** *** ********** ** **** ******* when ******** ** ***** *****.

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

***** ******* ********

***** **** ******* ** ******* **** **** **** **** ****** streams; ******* ** **** ********, **** *** ***** ******* *** also *********. *****, ********* *** ******* ***** ******* ****** (* pane ****** * ****** **** *** ** **** ** ****** another ****** ****** * ******), ******** ***** (***** *** *********) in ***** ** * ****** *** ** ******* ****** * built ** ****** ******** **** *** ** **** *** *************. 

********, **** *** ********* ** ***** **** ****** ** ********** keyboard ********* (******** ************* ** ****), *** **** ** *** VMSes ******* * ****** ** ******** *******, **** *** * few *** *** **** *******: 

  • ********, ********* *** ******* ***** *** ** ******** ******
  • ******* ***+*** ** ******** ******, ****+* *** *** ** ***** and **** **** *******
  • ***** ** ****/**** ****, ** ** **** *** *** *** goes **** ******
  • ***** ******* *** ** ******** ****** (*** **** ** *** your ***** ** *** ***)

Manufacturers ********

******* 

*******'* ******** ****** ******** ***** ***** *** **** ***** **** tips ** **** **** *** ******** ***** ** ******** *** customize ***** ******- ***** *** **** ** ****** ****** *** the ***** **** ********** ** ***** * ****** ** ******** options *******.  **** ******* ****** ******* ******* **** * ****** camera ****** ** * *** ** ** (** **** *** drop ****** * ******), ** ******** ** ****** ***** **** customized ***** *****. *** ****** ****** ****** ******* ********* **** the ****** **** ** *** ********* ******** ******* ********** **** to ****** **. ****** ********, *** ******** *****, ******* ** whether *** ****** ******** ** ** *** *** ****** ******** creation ** ******* ** ** *** ****** ***** ***** ******* advanced ******. ****: ******* ******* *.* ******.

********* 

*********'* ****** ********* *** *** **** ************* ** *** ***** reviewed *** ******* **** *-*** (***** ****** *** **** ****?) and **** **** ********* ** *:* *** **:*, ****** * mixture ** **** ****** **** * *** ****** ** *** a ***** ****** (**** *** ***). ** ********, **** ***** ******** *******: allowing ***** ** ***** * *** (**** ********* *******- ***** as ****) ****** * **** ** * ******, ** ******** to * *** **** *******, ********, ****** *** **** ******. The ****** ** ********** ******* (**** **** *****) ** ****** layouts *** ****** *** **** ***** **** ********* ******* ** commonly **** ** *********.  ****: ******* *.**/*.** ***** **** ******.

********

**** *** **** ****** ** ***** ********** ** ******** ********** templates *** *******, ** *** ******** ***** ******* ***'* **** to ******* ***** *****. ** ****** *** ***** ********** (******** ** Exacq's ****** ****** ***** ** **** *******) **** *** ******* to "****" * ****** ******** ** **** ****** ** ****** adding/removing *****. *** ******* ** *********** (********** ****) *** ****** ****** as **** ** **** *** **** ****** * ****** *** also *********. ********'* **** ************* ******** *** *** ****'* ********* ** save * **** (*** ******) ** *** **** ******* - upgrading ** ******** ** * ****. ********, *** ******* ** apply * ****/**** ******* **** ** **** ** *** ******. Note: version *.*.*.** ******.

***** 

*** ***** *** *** ***** *** *** ******* ** ********* the ***** ******** ***** ******* ****/****/****/****/**** *** *****. *****'* *********** ** creating ** ***** ******* ** ******** ****** ** ** ******** was **********. ****, ******* *** ******* ** ****** ********** ****** templates, ****** **** ******* **** ********'* ******** *******. **** ****** details *** ** ******** **** * ***** ***** ** **** view, *** *** ******* ** ****** * ****** **** **** requires * ******. ****: ******* *.*.*.***** ******.

*****

*****'* ****** *** *** **** ************ **** **** ******** ** the ***** *****. ** * *** **** ** **** *** it *** ***** ** *** **** ***** *** ****** **** estate *** *** **** ****** *** ******** *** ********* *******/*****/******* was *********. ****** ********** **** *** **** **** ******** * hierarchical ****** ********* *** ****'* ***** *** ** **** ********* of ****** *********. ** ********** ******** ********* *** ************ (***** have ** ** **********), ** **** **** *** **** **** and **** ** *******. **** ** ***** *** **** ** user ****** *** ****** ***** (***-******* ** ***** ** ******* ** user) ****** * **** ** **** ** * ********** **** of ******* ** ****** **** (*-**). ****: ******* ******* *.**/*.* ******.

** *******/******* ********

** *******'* ******* ** ****** ******* *** ********* **** *** other ***; ** ********** ********* ** ***** ** ***. **** allow *** **** ** ****** (*/**/***/***) *** ****** ********** ** the ****** ******** ** ** ***. ***********, *** **** *** define ******* ** ** * *:*, **:* *** **** *** cell ******* ******* **** ****** (****-*****). *** ********* ** ****** a ****** ******** ******** ***** **** ********* ********* *********** ** cases ***** *** ******'* ****** ********* ****'* ********* *** ** the ****** ** *** ** ****** ***. ****: ******* *.** tested.

***** *******

***** ******* ******** ******** *** ***** ******* **** ********* ****** ratios. *** *** *** *** ******* ** ******* ****** ***** is ******** *** ***** * ********* ** *** *** ****'* screen *****. ******** ******* *** ***** (***** **** ** *****) requires ****** ***** *******, *** ********* *** ******* **** **** are ******* ** **** *** **** ****** **** ***** ***** (Exacq, ********) *********. *** **** ** **** ****** ** **** to ****/*** *** ******* ** * ***-** (*** ** ******* by ******** *** ****** ** ********* **** ****/*******,) ***** ** harder *** *** ******** ** ******. ** ******** *** ****** record ******, **** ********* ** ********, ** ********** *** **** default ** ** ******* ** ****** **** - ****** *** tool *** ************ ****** "******". ****: ******* *.*.**.* ******.

Comments (28)

There are some additional features for Exacq that you missed:

1) You can press also Alt-Enter to go into full screen

2) You can put the soft-trigger to record the video as an icon on the top of the screen. You can customize the icon but you cannot put it on the screen for each camera.

3) Each of the cell panels in Exacq will conform to either 4:3 or 16:9 based on the stream orientation. If you have a majority of 16:9 or 4:3 streams on the screen at the same time it will switch the whole screen to either 4:3 or 16:9.

Thank you Undisclosed for adding those. Yes, each VMS has many more features/options/shortcuts/client customizations for each client.

When a user can't find an option, that's really on us. Really. It's our responsibility to make sure that anyone can find every feature in the application without reading the manual or calling the vendor. In this review, it seems that a few features were not obvious, and therefore reported as missing.

One such example is that Ocularis only offers "step by step" instant playback. In fact, you can simply hold the button down, and the video will play forward or reverse. We totally blew it on that one - the tooltip doesn't help at all. I feel embarrased by that.

Another example is the shortcuts, we offer a fairly broad range of shortcuts (including maximize a viewport and minimzing the application), but from the review it seems as if we offer almost nothing except some PTZ commands.

My takeaway from this is that we really, REALLY, need to offer some sort of introductory video to go along with the install. The untrained user is simply missing too many things, and will (rightfully so) get the impression that we offer a very limited featureset.

As an idea, I suggest that IPVM should consider letting a vendor give you a brief introduction beforehand. An introduction, or some questions in an email should not allow the vendor to assert undue influence on the review, but it might clear up some misconceptions and avoid these from being purported as matter-of-fact.

And with that, I just became IPVM's #1 whiner. Thank you and good night.

You should consider adding other VMS manufacturers: AD, AMAG, Geutebruck, Lenel, Pelco, Salient, etc.

This was a good look into the vaious VMS offerings. This may be reveiwed elseware or planned in the future, but what are the offerings for getting contact closure alarms into these systems or third party integrations. I have been testing and looking into HD Witness specifically and tried to send them an email and was told my information would be forwarded to Digital Watchdog which I have not heard from. I was rather disappointed to find that in North America it will be handled by Digital Watchdog and not direct. They also didn't return my VM and never answered the phone the times I called. They did respond via email however. They just never answered my questions about the actual product.

Geutebrueck, Pelco, and Salient would be a good ones to add, and I think they have mentioned that they will be doing add ons in the future. But AD just OEMs Exacq, AMAG OEMs from someone in Israel, and Lenel hasn't been relevant in Video in years.

I think in addition to Geutebrueck, Pelco and Salient, they should do ipConfigure, NUUO, Aimetis, OpenEye and VideoInsight. Problem is, they only have so much time on their hands for tests.

Of the ones tested, only Video Insight and Network Optix are not currently industry leaders. But with Sarit's experience in Video Insight and Network Optix's main selling point being the live video experience, I think they were good additions.

Morten: "As an idea, I suggest that IPVM should consider letting a vendor give you a brief introduction beforehand."

Morten, as an idea, I would suggest you talk it over with people in your company before making such allegations. Indeed, I reached out to Moshe and Dan and they connected Sarit with an SE inside OnSSI, who did give an introduction and answered many questions.

As for the rest of your post, I am not sure what parts are sarcastic or not, so I will not respond.

Manufacturers, if you have issues with a test, send a factual email (to john@ipvm.com) on what they specifically are and we will review and correct as appropriate.

As for covering other VMSes in this test series, the answer is no. While we might substitute one or two products over time or for specific tests, we are going to stick to ~6.

We could test 12 VMSes at once but that means it would take twice the amount of time, cutting our release rate in half while making the reports even longer and more complex than they are already. Plus, there is diminishing value in testing others as there are only so many readers interested in specific VMSes and most follow a similar pattern to the 6 we are testing here.

That said, as we have already explained in the VMS Test Plan, we do plan to test many other VMSes individually. At that time, we can then cross reference the individual VMS to the patterns found in this series (e.g., in the individual test report of Pelco DS, when we cover their exporting functionality, we will contrast to what we found in the exporting test report).

No sarcasm intended, I merely saw some functions that weren't being used as intended. I mean what I say when I say it's on us that some features are missed. It's on me that the UX doesn't let the user understand that something is possible, and it only makes it worse that you spoke to someone inhouse.

I'll investigate what happened, clearly we have a problem on our end and I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

As a technical trainer for OnSSI, I want to point out some inaccuracies/misconceptions in your review of Ocularis 'Live View' functionality.

Screen Default

Ocularis is designed specifically to minimize the 'clutter' of the GUI. As you note, everyone else uses side panels (which take up valuable real estate).

Full screen vs 'Windowed' mode (to make the GUI resizable) is a setting in Client Setup (under Views menu). Access to Client Setup is controlled by the system administrator at the user privilege level. We provide the flexibility to allow those installations who want to give their users control over these settings as well as those which would prefer to restrict their users’ access to these settings.

Dragging and Dropping Cameras

While it is true that Ocularis does not allow 'dragging and dropping' within the GUI, your reference of '3 clicks too many' ignores the fact that dragging and dropping also requires 3 actions (click, drag, release over new pane). Though dragging and dropping can probably be accomplished a millisecond or two faster.

Camera Options in Live View

You don't list Ocularis at all in the 'Most Information' or 'Least Information' paragraphs, yet Ocularis Client includes FPS, Resolution and Compression levels right on the GUI for each camera feed (hover mouse over pulsing green square in top left corner of each camera pane - immediately to the left of the camera name).

Also, the camera names (which can take up real estate in both Views and in Maps) can be 'aliased' to show shorter (or descriptive) names to the Client user that are different than the actual camera names on the recorder.

Instant Replay

As Morten already points out above, this function is not simply frame-by-frame as was indicated. Clicking the directional arrows (that appear when you hover your mouse over the camera pane) moves forward or back one frame. Clicking the arrow and holding it will allow streaming playback.

Camera Tours

You correctly point out that our 'Carousel' can only cycle individual camera feeds through a single pane. However, during Carousel configuration the administrator has the ability to set/change default dwell times and also set a different dwell time for each camera in the Carousel.

In addition, the Carousel pane in Ocularis Client provides additional controls (hover mouse over camera pane to see) to manually cycle through the cameras in the Carousel. End users do not have to wait for the set dwell times to auto-rotate the cameras through the Carousel pane.

Send Live View To Others

You correctly note that our 'Push Video' functionality requires a Push Pane component in the recipients Client view. You note this as a negative (in comparison to the others who do not require this), yet Ocularis does not require a 'confirmation response' from the receiver like the others who have 'push' functionality. Positives and negatives can be subjective.

Also, Ocularis allows up to 8 monitors per Client PC. With this hardware functionality, end users are not limited to using one screen (i.e. by using one monitor as a 'push video reciever', they are not forced to use Push panes in a view with other cameras' live views (enabling end users to 'notice' the push more easily than they could if the Push pane was mixed in with the other cameras).

Instant Manual Recording

Here you are just plain wrong. Ocularis Client offers instant manual recording functions (per camera). When the camera pane is right-clicked, there is a red button that appears in our Circular Control menu (top left). Clicking this button overrides any camera schedule/setting and records full-time for 300 seconds by default (this setting is editable in the recorder (Cameras & Storage/RC for Properties/Manual Recording). Once the set time for Manual Recording is reached, the camera reverts back to the default settings from the recorder.

Additionally, there is a 'record' indicator in the top right of the camera pane which will visually confirm the full time recording override setting (it lights up red whenever recording is occurring).

While we do have 'soft triggers' which can start manual recording, the far easier way to simply override recording settings is to right click the camera pane and click the red button.

Other Notable Features

"Moreover, with the exception of OnSSI that offers no keyboard shortcuts (they do offer for PTZ related shortcuts only)"

This is demonstrably incorrect. In Client Setup (in Views menu), there are two tabs for configuring shortcuts - Keyboard and Joystick. Keyboard shortcuts are configurable for 54 different Client functions and those same 54 functions can be assigned to 32 separate joy stick buttons (though I've never seen a joystick with that many buttons!) :)

Additionally, keyboard and joystick shortcuts can be configured by each end user (if allowed by the system administrator). Therefore, CTRL-F can have one function for Joe but a different function for Sue based on their own preferences. Or the system administrator can control that everyone has the same set of shortcuts. The intent was to provide the largest range of flexibility to allow our users to implement our software as best suits the needs of their organization.

Manufacturers Overview

"No keyboard shortcuts for maximization, no left pane for easy drag and drop of cameras and manual recording required setting up events."

Having 'no keyboard shortcut for maximization' ignores the fact that our UI design is already in maximization 'mode' (we don't use panels in Live mode). You mention this 'lack of function' in a negative light in 'comparison' to the others who use panels (and therefore might need a keyboard shortcut for maximization).

You are corect that we don't have 'easy' drag and drop... instead, we have 'easy' Right Click/Replace. 'Easy' can be subjective.

Ocularis Events can certainly be configured to manually record video - but this is not a requirement to do so. The much easier way is listed above in the Manual Record paragraph.

When I was watching the demo video, I realized some VMSes take 5 seconds or more to populate and display camera live view on the video pane, is it really how long they take?

It would be great to compare the video call-up latency (for single camera and camera tour) on those VMSes. Imaging how many cameras a operator has to switch everyday.

Undisclosed, ignore the latency in the call up of videos. We were not testing that aspect, and it can be impacted by where the cameras physically are.

Call-up latency is an issue but I suspect it's less of a strict VMS problem than it is a networking issue and/or client PC problem. I think it's worth testing at some point.

If this delay happens after first run of software, then yes - it is camera/network issue. In other cases it is software design issue, I believe.

Full disclosure, we are an active OnSSI Channel Partner and intimately familiar with the product.

Have to concur with Marty, the reviewer missed or mis-stated a lot of functionality.

That being said, I greatly appreciate these types of reviews as they give us insight into how other VMS's approach the same types of end-user needs, and (obviously) pokes OnSSI into action to improve their product. This is only good for us and our customers.

Marty, Morten,

First of all, we spent hours working with OnSSI's appointed technical representative. Our information (including the 'errors' you claim) is based on speaking with him. Secondly, as OnSSI has confirmed, he has left the company.

OnSSI needs to get organized and ensure their representatives understand their product. We are not going to send copies of our reports for approvals to various people within manufacturers. It is entirely reasonable that a manufacturer appointed technical representative should know their product and be able to properly communicate it.

That said, we take issue with a number of your claimed issues, specifically:

Screen Default:

  • Your comment: “..everyone else uses side panels (which take up valuable real estate).” This is not an inaccuracy in our report; it's simply your opinion. By contrary, our opinion is that not having side panels makes it much harder for users, especially untrained or unfamiliar ones, to find cameras and key functions. We can certainly disagree here but that's not an error of the report, just a difference in opinion.
  • I Talk about ONSSI’s Windowed mode and how to get to it both in the text and in the video. And there isn’t a pre-defined keyboard shortcut; the user would have to set that up- i.e., customize.

Dragging and dropping cameras:

  • While the option to right click and change a camera is possible in ONSSI as I already explained in the text and video, the differentiator was the ability to drag and drop, hence the reason ONSSI was DIFFERENT than the rest here: “No camera tree/list nor ability to move cameras across panes“
  • Your comment: "…your reference of '3 clicks too many' ignores the fact that dragging and dropping also requires 3 actions (click, drag, release over new pane)." This is simply wrong. You are conflating 3 'actions' with 3 clicks. It is more complicated to do 3 individual clicks that to click just once and move. To replace a camera in ONSSI you must:
    • Right click on image
    • From circle, click camera icon (there are others)
    • From list of cameras>>scroll to find the one you want
    • Click camera

Your comment: "..during Carousel configuration the administrator has the ability to set/change default dwell times and also set a different dwell time for each camera in the Carousel." There is no error in the report. We simply did not comment on such an incredibly low level feature.

Your entire 'send live video to others' section is simply your opinion, which is fine, but does not reflect any errors in our report. Furthermore, when collaborating, we believe notification of an incoming send is important, not sneaking up on the operator.

Lastly, based on your feedback, I updated the article accordingly:

  • The reference to keyboard shortcuts.
  • The manual recording section. Note, OnSSI's appointed technical representative demonstrated this process (setting up event triggers) to me in a webinar as the way to set up manual recording.

Great report and great feedback Sarit!

Hi John,

Why not review Verint Nextiva. I am a integrator and have worked with Milestone, ONSSI, and Exacq and found Nextiva's GUI for live video to be one the most intutive and user friendly by far. I know Verint has other issues but I swear their user interface is the best.

Thanks for the Good report.

May be you have done what i will ask here on another report (if so please point me to the right spot)

Alarm function:

One or more of Video Monitor are dedicated for Specific Alarm condition.

That monitor normally blank, on a alarm condition happen, that monitor popup one or more camera associated to that alarm event. If another alarm event happens simultaneously, new video feed take place and the previous video feed is moved to another tile (or tiles) on second row. New alarm always take place in the same tiles (row) and move the previous alarm to second tiles (row) and then older on 3rd row....

An operator need to acknowledged on the tiles to clear that feed from the alarm monitor.

Have you already cover that type of function...is it something you will?

I will be very interested to hear about that!

Thanks, Dominic

Thank you Dominic. Yes, we are planning on covering alarms in the future and what options are available in each VMS.

Thomas, as we explained above, there are lots of VMSes so it's just not logistically possible to test them all. So even if we test Verint, others will say 'Why not March? Why not NICE? Why not Aimetis? Why no AD VideoEdge?" etc.

We do plan to test other VMSes however I think it is unlikely we will test Verint Nextiva as that VMS is not publicly available and would require getting access from Verint, which I doubt will happen.

You can drag cameras from tile to tile in Security Centre, you have to select the camera name at the top left of the tile as selecting the actual image will inhibit digital zoon.

Great review, nice to see the top 6 globally side by side. I think these 'shoot out' type tests are the way forward for VMS testing.

Something else thats relevant from an integrators perspective is that having the option to create layouts with lots of cameras (64 in Genetec, 100 in Milestone) is not always a good thing as even with dynamic stream selection you need some serious horsepower on your machine to view 64 x h.264 video streams, even more so if you have multiple monitors on the workstation.

We frequently use the editable XML file in Security Centre to remove many of the options above 16 streams so on a dual screen workstation the max an operator can view is 36 streams. I'm not sure how easy it is to remove view options on some of the others but thought its was worth mentioning to help integrators avoid those 'the system is freezong' support calls when a user is trying to view 100+ cameras on a mid range PC and is only getting 1 or 2 fps per stream or the client is semi unresponsive due to the CPU being maxed all the time.

BTW: We are a Genetec partner so may be a little biased towards Genetec here, it's not intentional, its just because I personally know the Genetec product much better than some of the others.

I think Phil just came up with a great idea for a new test. How about showing the CPU utilization with the same cameras on each of these systems? You could show the server side CPU utilization and the client side CPU utilization.

Phil,

Thanks for the feedback and comments. I agree; I find it hard to believe large count layouts (64 and higher) will be used on a desktop monitor, not just for CPU issue, but the thumbnails are so small I wouldn't be able to make much of the scene out.

Undisclosed,

Thanks. Yes, we are planning on incorporating some performance tests in the future.

From a developer perspective, the 64/100 camera views are problematic too (if you want to keep the UI fast and fluid) - even more so when dealing with high-fps, high-res video (especially h.264). Keep in mind that most systems support multiple monitors, so you can really bring the client PC to its knees. In browse mode it gets even worse.

It is my impression that people who ask for these high camera count views use them primarily as a "selection screen". They have this one view with all their cameras, and then they simply maximize a camera if they see something out of the ordinary. They don't really need high-res in the 64 camera mode, the thumbnails provide just enough detail that you can see if something is suspicious.

We just completed Client performance testing of 4 VMSs on our workstation product line and there are many differences in how each one of those uses system resources. We tested only H264 streams as that is the most common.

Some things we learned along the way are:

Some VMS do better with multiple monitors than others(2 vs 4). Doing 8 monitors (2xquad head cards) is a challenge for all VMSs...again some did better than others because of the extra 'housekeeping' for two video cards.

Some VMSs rely mostly on the local CPU and little on the video card while others are light on the CPU and really utilize the Video card GPU and its Memory.

Sarit... when you get to the performance testing, be sure to look at more than the CPU because it does make a difference.

Sarit,

Great report. can you tell if these VMS has option to display the BandWidth comsumption per channel and other info (stream Used, Video Size, fps...)? I saw you mentioned Metadata Option in one of the VMS, but additional info on this would be great

Thank you Alexander for your question. I included some specifics below for your review:

Video Insight- only place to get camera specific data is via Server statistics for all cameras (or use a filter per server) and it obstructs live view. Here is a screenshot:

Exacq- Allows to right click each live view pane and get camera properties, but bandwidth is always displayed at bottom of client, like so (very bottom edge of image):

ONSSI- you can hover over top left camera green button and you'll see FPS/resolution and compression, no bandwidth though.

Milestone- Has no such details (res, fps, bandwidth, compression) in live view streaming in client.

Genetec- has a little 'i' in the right hand dashboard, will display the following:


Avigilon- no live view option, have to access Camera setup>Compression and image rate to see details, including bandwidth:


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