VMS vs CMS

By: John Honovich, Published on Jul 15, 2015

VMS and CMS both refer to software that manages video surveillance recordings yet they are different.

In this note, we explain the differences in:

  • How this varies by geographic region
  • What functionality is core to each type
  • What is not part of each one

Remember - No Standards for These Terms

Neither VMS nor CMS is defined or regulated by a standard body or any single manufacturer. As such, companies are free to use them as they choose. In this post, we explain how they are most commonly used in practice.

Varies Geographic Region

In Asia, the term CMS is common. Outside of Asia, CMS is rare unless an Asian company is marketing or selling overseas.

Core and Non-Core Functionality

VMS is the simpler of the two to explain, since it is broader. VMS, or video management software, typically refers to all software functions involved in managing video including recording, remote monitoring, enterprise management, etc.

CMS, or central management software, generally does NOT refer or include recording. Instead, it refers to software that manages / interfaces with existing recorders. For example, you might have 10 NVRs deployed yet view and manage video through the CMS software.

Companies that market themselves as VMS software generally do NOT use the term CMS at all. Everything is part of their VMS.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Companies that lead with NVR or DVR appliances, typically Asian, where the majority of appliances originate, frequently call the software used to access multiple appliances a CMS.

Examples

Asian manufacturers using CMS include ACTi (CMS), Vivotek Vast CMS and Dahua CMS. Interestingly though Hikvision used to use the word CMS often, it now emphasizes the term VMS for marketing their offering internationally.

Better / Worse

As a rule of thumb, VMSes tend to better in pure / total software features (e.g., companies like Genetec, Milestone, OnSSI, Exacq, etc.) but with higher costs. Companies with CMSes tend to have lower cost appliances and less total software features. Because of this, the term VMS tends to have a better 'brand' / connotation than the term CMS.

In Practice

Remember, these are not hard and fast terms or standards. They reflect common practices by manufacturers that can change over time. Make sure to check what specific functions each software package supports.

Comments (16) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on VMS

Dahua 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 20, 2019
Dahua's new Pro Series 4K N85CL5Z claims to "deliver superior images in all lighting and environmental conditions", but how does this compare to...
Proactive CCTV "Only Affordable Video Archiving Solution" Profile on Aug 12, 2019
Proactive CCTV is claiming to offer "the only affordable video archiving solution on the market", reducing the storage typically required for H.265...
Milestone "GDPR-ready" Certification Claim Critiqued on Aug 12, 2019
Milestone is touting that its latest XProtect VMS is "GDPR-ready" with a 'European Privacy Seal'. However, our investigation raises significant...
Axis Door Station A8207-VE Tested on Aug 07, 2019
Axis newest door station, the A8207-VE, claims to deliver "video surveillance, two-way communication, and access control" in a single device. But...
Avigilon Blue VSaaS Tested on Aug 05, 2019
Avigilon says Blue is a "powerful integrator cloud service platform", easy to set up and configure, quickly scale business, by leveraging cloud...
Cisco Settles False Claims Act Suit For Video Surveillance Vulnerabilities on Aug 01, 2019
Cisco entered the video surveillance market in 2007 and suffered for many years through a variety of its own errors and arrogance. The conclusion...
Ionodes Company Profile on Jul 31, 2019
What happened to Ionodes? With seasoned leadership from Jean-Paul Saindon founder of SmartSight and Dr. Michael Gilge, founder of VCS, back in...
Vivotek Trend Micro Cyber Security Camera App Tested on Jul 22, 2019
Vivotek and Trend Micro are claiming five million blocked attacks on IP cameras, with their jointly developed app for Vivotek cameras. This new...
Avigilon ACC7 VMS Tested on Jul 22, 2019
Avigilon's Control Center 7 boldly claims it will "transform live video monitoring" with the new Focus of Attention "AI-enabled" interface. We...
History of Video Surveillance on Jul 19, 2019
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going from VCRs to ab emerging AI cloud era.  The goal of this history is to...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Dahua 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 20, 2019
Dahua's new Pro Series 4K N85CL5Z claims to "deliver superior images in all lighting and environmental conditions", but how does this compare to...
ZK Teco Atlas Access Control Tested on Aug 20, 2019
Who needs access specialists? China-based ZKTeco claims its newest access panel 'makes it very easy for anyone to learn and install access control...
Uniview Beats Intel In Trademark Lawsuit on Aug 19, 2019
Uniview has won a long-running trademark lawsuit brought by Intel, with Beijing's highest court reversing an earlier Intel win, centered on...
Verkada People And Face Analytics Tested on Aug 16, 2019
This week, Verkada released "People Analytics", including face analytics that they describe is a "game-changing feature" that "pushes the...
Dahua OEM Directory 2019 on Aug 16, 2019
US Government banned Dahua OEMs for dozens of companies. The following directory includes 40+ of those companies with a graphic and links to...
Installation Course - Register Now on Aug 15, 2019
Register Now for the September 2019 Video Surveillance Install Course. This is a unique installation course in a market where little practical...
Axis Suffers Outage, Provides Postmortem on Aug 15, 2019
This week, Axis suffered an outage impacting their website and cloud services. Inside this note, we examined what happened, what was impacted...
Hikvision Scrutinized In The Netherlands on Aug 15, 2019
Hikvision is facing unprecedented scrutiny in the Netherlands, at the same time the US government ban has taken effect. This week, a Dutch...
Axis 4K Camera Shootout 2019 on Aug 14, 2019
Axis' 4K Q3518-LVE claims the "best video quality possible", with Lightfinder super low light performance, Axis' high end Forensic WDR, and...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact