What is Ocularis X?

By: 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 Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

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 : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

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...
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...
Exacq Raises VMS Software Pricing Twice in Less Than a Year on Feb 18, 2019
Most VMSes regularly release new features, but rarely increase their prices. For the 3rd time in 4 years, and 2nd time in 8 months, since being...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R1 Tested on May 15, 2019
For the past few years, Milestone has released quarterly software updates XProtect VMS platform. What is new and how much impact do the updates...
H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
Bluecherry Open Sources Entire VMS on May 13, 2019
Bluecherry announced they have "released the entire Bluecherry software application open source with a GPL license". We spoke to Bluecherry's...
Smart CODEC Usage Statistics 2019 on Jun 03, 2019
Smart codecs are now nearly a standard feature in IP cameras, but our statistics show integrator adoption has not increased at the same rate. In...
Exacq Remote Cloud Access Tested on Jun 20, 2019
Remote cloud access has been missing from most VMSes (including Exacq and Milestone). Now, Exacq, after releasing Cloud Drive Storage earlier in...
Network Optix / Hanwha Cloud Access Tested on Jul 02, 2019
Remote cloud access is becoming a bigger differentiator, as cybersecurity issues underscore the problems of port forwarding and many integrators...
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...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hazardous & Explosion Proof Access Control Tutorial on Feb 27, 2020
Controlling access to hazardous environments requires equipment meeting specific ratings that certify they will not start fires or will not...
Motorola / Avigilon Drops ISC West on Feb 26, 2020
Motorola Solutions has pulled out of ISC West 2020 effective immediately, because of coronavirus concerns, IPVM has learned. This is done amidst...
Cancel or Not? Industry Split Over ISC West on Feb 26, 2020
The industry is split, polarized, over whether ISC West 2020 should run or be canceled. New IPVM survey results of 400+ respondents show heated...
Coronavirus Hits Sony, Bosch Says Switch on Feb 26, 2020
Sony's fall in video surveillance has been severe over the past decade. Now, they may be done. In this note, we examine Bosch's new...
Video Surveillance Cameras 101 on Feb 25, 2020
Cameras come in many shapes, sizes and specifications. This 101 examines the basics of cameras and features used in 2020. In this report, we...
Favorite Video Analytic Manufacturers 2020 on Feb 25, 2020
Video analytics is now as hot as ever, driven by the excitement of advancing deep learning offers. But what are actually integrator's...
Latest London Police Facial Recognition Suffers Serious Issues on Feb 24, 2020
On February 20, IPVM visited another live face rec deployment by London police, but this time the system was thwarted by technical problems and...
Masks Cause Major Facial Recognition Problems on Feb 24, 2020
Coronavirus is spurring an increase in the use of medical masks, which new IPVM test results show cause major problems for facial recognition...
Every VMS Will Become a VSaaS on Feb 21, 2020
VMS is ending. Soon every VMS will be a VSaaS. Competitive dynamics will be redrawn. What does this mean? VMS Historically...
Video Surveillance 101 Course - Last Chance on Feb 20, 2020
This is the last chance to join IPVM's first Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the...