The future of video surveillance recording is likely to be a contest between VMS and VSaaS. While VMS software is today's mainstream choice for new surveillance projects, VSaaS is widely viewed as the 'next big thing.' Understanding the two and their differences is critical to making surveillance decisions. This is even more critical as the overlap between the two is significant.
The Basic Acronyms / Definition
Let's start from the very basics:
- VMS stands for Video Management Software
- VSaaS stands for Video Surveillance as a Service
The former relates to software while the later relates to a service. However, this is likely to still be confusing as both VMS and VSaaS use software even if the later uses it as part of a service.
One clear distinction is that VMS is generally defined as 'traditional' software that you install on your own PC/server while VSaaS runs on a service provider's system. Indeed, VSaaS comes from SaaS, the buzz word du jour of cloud computing.
Who makes or offers VMS / VSaaS raises interesting questions. Typically when someone mentions VMS, names like Genetec, Milestone, etc comes to mind (note: see our directory of VMS offerings tested). By contrast, a whole different set of companies are generally suggested when VSaaS is discussed - Axis's AVHS being the most well known but with dozens of other new entrants (see our directory of VSaaS providers).
However, because both groups are providing software, real questions exist about the differences between the two:
- What functionalities does VSaaS have that VMS lacks?
- What functionalities does VMS have that VSaaS lacks?
- Could a VMS provider like Milestone, become a VSaaS provider?
- Could a VSaaS provider, become a VMS provider?
- What is the future of VMS providers vs VSaaS?
One critical element is how early the VSaaS market is today. Providers are going to evolve and shift over the next few years, certainly further blurring the lines between the two. As such, it is important to know what specifically distinguishes the two and how that will likely change in the next 5 years.