VMS vs CMS

Author: 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 Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

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 (17): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on VMS

Directory of 30+ LPR / ANPR Providers on Feb 21, 2018
License Plate Recognition / Automatic Number Plate Recognition are a type of video analytics software that can identify and match license / number...
Bosch Merges Video, Intrusion and Access Businesses on Feb 19, 2018
Bosch is merging their "video systems, intrusion detection, as well as its access control and management software business units to form a single...
Why 3VR Failed on Feb 16, 2018
3VR destroyed transformed ~$65 million in VC funding into a $6.9 million exit. The reason they failed is simple. They bet on analytics. They...
Hanwha Wisenet X 5MP Camera Tested (XNV-8080R) on Feb 13, 2018
Wisenet X is Hanwha's high-end camera line. We tested their Wisenet X 1080p camera last year. Now Hanwha is offering 5MP cameras listing super low...
Favorite NVR / VMS Manufacturers 2018 on Feb 12, 2018
There is a new integrator favorite VMS. In 2016, 2 VMSes were effectively tied for top choice. One of those VMSes favorability was stable while...
Dahua 5MP Starlight Camera Tested (N52BM3Z) on Jan 30, 2018
Is 5MP the new 1080p? According to our recent statistics, average resolution continues to trend upwards. And now, manufacturers releasing new...
Shinobi: Moe Is Building His Own VMS on Jan 29, 2018
Building a new VMS may seem to be a thing of a bygone era. But one developer, Moinul "Moe" Alam, is doing just that and he has made his VMS,...
Worst NVR / VMS Manufacturers 2018 on Jan 29, 2018
These are the manufacturers who integrators reported the most significant problems with. 220+ integrators answered: In the past year, what...
Intel Meltdown / Spectre Patch Tested on Avigilon, Exacq and Milestone VMSes on Jan 23, 2018
Significant concern exists about the impact on VMS servers and video surveillance systems of patching the Meltdown and Spectre flaws. Generally,...
Hanwha Wave VMS Tested on Jan 22, 2018
Hanwha has released their first open platform VMS, Wisenet Wave, an Network Optix OEM (see test results) enhanced with integrations and...

Most Recent Industry Reports

False Advertising: Hikvision USA Deep Learning on Feb 23, 2018
Hikvision USA is conducting a false advertising marketing campaign for their deep learning system. Hikvision USA's claim violates US FTC Truth In...
Favorite Integrator Sales Quote Software (Statistics) on Feb 23, 2018
What application do integrators use the most to issue sales quotes? Nothing? Spreadsheet? MS Project? Online software? Of the many offerings out...
Aruba Networks Profile on Feb 22, 2018
Aruba Networks' presence in the video surveillance market has historically been limited. With a company focus on Wi-Fi first and switching...
US Army Base Specifies 70+ Outdated Hikvision Cameras on Feb 22, 2018
A US Army base has specified 70+ Hikvision IP cameras, a month after the WSJ reported a different Army base removed Hikvision IP cameras. While...
Directory of 30+ LPR / ANPR Providers on Feb 21, 2018
License Plate Recognition / Automatic Number Plate Recognition are a type of video analytics software that can identify and match license / number...
New Whole Foods Installs Hackable Access Control on Feb 21, 2018
Whole Foods has built a reputation for high quality. And their 2017 Amazon acquisition has increased that, plus added deep pockets for buying...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Feb 21, 2018
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2018, with more and more users relying on mobile apps as their main way of operating the system....
Visio For Video Surveillance Design on Feb 20, 2018
Many integrators have standardized on AutoCAD for camera layouts but new users may be overwhelmed by its learning curve. Microsoft's Visio...
Health Care Insurance Integrator Benefits Statistics on Feb 20, 2018
How common and how much healthcare coverage is typically provided by security companies? 150+ integrators explained how their companies provide the...
Hikvision Deletes Genetec Support on Feb 20, 2018
There will be no peace between Hikvision and Genetec. A year after Genetec expelled Hikvision (and Huawei, citing Chinese government control...

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