What is Ocularis X?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Mar 28, 2012

Ocularis X is more mysterious than its name. The new offering from VMS supplier OnSSI is marketed as 'bringing HD cameras via the cloud' and just won the best wireless video surveillance NPS award. So is it a wireless SaaS offering? Actually, it is neither. In this note, we examine the features, pricing and competitive positioning to OnSSI's competitors.

[UPDATE 2013: OnSSI has renamed 'X' to be the milquetoast 'Media Server']

Overview

Ocularis X is a transcoding service that improves remote viewing performance by reducing bandwidth needs while maintaining high frame rates. [For those not familiar, transcoding is a conversion of one encoding - like a HD surveillance camera feed - into another encoding - such as CIF.]

What is special about Ocularis X's transcoding is that it not only transcodes streams but outputs a composite stream that includes/embeds multiple video feeds. A practical example might help explain. The video below shows a 2 x 2 matrix in a web client:

While it looks like a normal playback of 4 video streams, actually only one stream is being played back and it is being sent over the public internet (in this case from NY to Vegas live).

Multiple surveillance camera feeds are sent to Ocularis X, which aggregates and transcodes them, sending out a single feed to the client. This significantly reduces the amount of bandwidth required to send video over the network, allowing the stream to maintain a higher frame rate without wasting resolution that could not be displayed on a multiplexed view.

To do this, Ocularis X must be installed as a separate application. Depending on the system size and load, it may need to run on its own dedicated machine as transcoding video can be resource intensive.

Dynamic zooming is one other special feature claimed by Ocularis X. As an operator selects a region to zoom in, Ocularis X can select that area and on the fly transcode it to a higher resolution to allow the operator to see more as they zoom down.

Currently, Ocularis X is only supported by the Ocularis web client up to a 3 x 3 matrix (no 4 x 4, etc.). OnSSI plans to add this to a mobile client in the short term.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Ocularis X is a free addition to Ocularis and is currently in controlled release, available to customers on request. It is expected to be in full production release in Summer 2012.

[Update: We have seen this live in production and the latency/delay of the transcoded video is in the tens of seconds. It is first and formost a usability issue but could also be a security issue for some users.]

Competitive Options

VMS vendors use three main approaches to optimize remote viewing experiences:

  • Stream switching: The VMS can switch from a higher resolution stream to a lower resolution stream depending on how many cameras are being displayed simultaneously. For instance, when displaying a single camera, it will be streamed at its max resolution (such as 1080p). However, in a 3 x 3 matrix, each camera might only be streamed at CIF. This should not make a discernible difference to the viewer because each pane in a 3 x 3 matrix is small. This is supported by many systems including Genetec, Milestone Corporate, Axis Camera Station, Avigilon H.264 streams (and others).
  • Scalable Video Codec: When Avigilon markets the 'original' HDSM, this centers around JPEG2000, a codec that allows dynamic changes to streamed and displayed resolution. The main drawback is JPEG2000's overall storage costs - ~10x higher than H.264 and as such is not supported by many other vendors than Avigilon.
  • Transcoding Individual Videos - A handful of vendors include transcoding functionalities into their recorders or VMS, that on the fly transcodes individual streams. For instance, Salient and 3xLogic actively market this.

Industry Impact

While this looks to be a useful addition for OnSSI, other viable options exist that address the same core problem by different technical means. OnSSI has does a nice job of branding and building buzz but the marketing and (silly) award detract from the more fundamental and limited functionality that this service offers.

In terms of comparing performance of various remote viewing optimizations, we have not nor do we know anyone who has rigorously tested the different implementations. This is something we are looking into doing in the future.

2 reports cite this report:

New Cisco Video Surveillance - Still Going Nowhere on Jul 14, 2015
'Everyone' knew Cisco would dominate video surveillance back in 2008. They failed. But, they have not given up.  Recently the company touted a...
Ocularis 3.0 Reviewed on May 09, 2012
Hot on the heels of making a splash at this year's ISC West with an 'award' winning new product announcement, OnSSI surprised many this week by...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on VMS

Casino Surveillance Pro Interview: James Lathrop on Feb 15, 2019
James Lathrop has been working in casinos for almost 25 years. During that time, he says he has held "just about every job you can do in the...
Cisco Meraki Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on Feb 13, 2019
Cisco Meraki says their cameras "bring Meraki magic to the enterprise video security world". According to Meraki, their magic is their management...
Solink Raises $12 Million - Company Profile on Feb 12, 2019
Most industry professionals have never heard of Solink, a company whose tagline is: It's time to revolutionize the way business uses...
Milestone Drops Hikvision From Elite Partners on Feb 11, 2019
Milestone has quietly dropped Hikvision from their 'Elite Partners', less than 3 years after adding the Chinese government-owned...
FLIR Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 08, 2019
FLIR has had a challenging past few years including FLIR Security business struggling, FLIR restructuring their security division and FLIR selling...
No Genetec Major Releases In Over A Year on Feb 06, 2019
Annual VMS licenses are a controversial practice in the video surveillance industry, with many questioning their need or value. However, enterprise...
PlateSmart LPR Profile on Jan 31, 2019
PlateSmart Technologies claims to "turn any conventional surveillance camera into a license plate recognition camera" We spoke with PlateSmart to...
Hanwha Techwin Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 31, 2019
Hanwha Techwin's favorability results surged, in IPVM's 2019 study, going from barely neutral in 2016 to strongly net positive, as the results...
8MP HD Analog Tested (Dahua / Hikvision) on Jan 30, 2019
HD analog has promised higher resolution for years, but has lagged substantially behind for years. Now, both Dahua and Hikvision have started...
ONVIF Video Surveillance Tutorial on Jan 29, 2019
ONVIF is well known within the surveillance industry as an interface to connect IP cameras and VMS systems. However, new users may find it...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Casino Surveillance Pro Interview: James Lathrop on Feb 15, 2019
James Lathrop has been working in casinos for almost 25 years. During that time, he says he has held "just about every job you can do in the...
Hikvision 2018 Revenue Tops $7 Billion USD But Growth Slows To Low on Feb 15, 2019
Hikvision's annual revenue topped $7 billion for the first time in 2018, although growth slowed sharply. In this post, we analyze the latest...
Hanwha Smaller Multi Imager Tested (PNM-9000VQ) on Feb 14, 2019
Hanwha's first repositionable multi imager PNM-9081VQ tested well, but was huge, over 12" wide and weighing in at over 10 pounds. Now, they have...
ADT And 'The Defenders' Silent About Massive Complaints on Feb 14, 2019
ADT's largest dealer, "The Defenders" has been the subject of a massive number of complaints over many years and many forums, most recently a CBS...
Hikvision Chairman Praises United Front on Feb 14, 2019
Hikvision’s controlling shareholder held a meeting last month praising the United Front, a Communist Party organization known for its secretive...
Sales Turnover At Anyvision on Feb 13, 2019
Anyvision raised a $43 million Series A and according to their newest investor: what you need to do is push the gas pedal and build an...
Cisco Meraki Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on Feb 13, 2019
Cisco Meraki says their cameras "bring Meraki magic to the enterprise video security world". According to Meraki, their magic is their management...
Uniview / UNV Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 12, 2019
Uniview / UNV, the self-proclaimed #3 China manufacturer, while starting late, has been working to make inroads internationally. In IPVM's 2019...
Nortek Mobile Access Reader BluePass Examined on Feb 12, 2019
Nortek's Linear access control division claims to make mobile credentials "more secure and easier to use than ever before" with their BluePass...
Solink Raises $12 Million - Company Profile on Feb 12, 2019
Most industry professionals have never heard of Solink, a company whose tagline is: It's time to revolutionize the way business uses...

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