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

FLIR Launches Body Cameras Unified With VMS (TruWitness) on Dec 11, 2018
While FLIR is best known for their thermal cameras, now they have expanded into body cameras, launching TruWITNESS, a public safety focused body...
Infinova's Xinjiang Business Examined on Dec 07, 2018
As pressure mounts for companies to stop doing business in China’s Xinjiang region amid a severe human rights crisis, IPVM has found Infinova sold...
VMS Live Monitoring Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone, Network Optix on Dec 05, 2018
Viewing live video is the first interaction and most common task most users have with a VMS. Who does it best and worst? Who offers the most...
Fullerton Returns, Joins OpenEye on Dec 04, 2018
Eric Fullerton became one of the most famous people in the industry as the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Milestone as Milestone became the...
Startup Qumulex Aims For Unified Platform, Adds Infinias Access Founder on Nov 29, 2018
The startup founded by former Exacq executives, Qumulex has hired Wayne Jared, founder of access control manufacturer Infinias and most recently a...
Vintra "AI-Powered" Video Analytics Startup Profile on Nov 27, 2018
Vintra is a Silicon Valley startup focused on AI-based video analytics. They had booths at IACP and ISC West demonstrating their hosted or...
Top Manufacturers Gaining and Losing 2018 on Nov 26, 2018
This is the 5th year IPVM has tracked manufacturers gaining and losing: Top Manufacturers Gaining and Losing 2014 Top Manufacturers Gaining and...
Milestone Disrupts Milestone With Arcules on Nov 19, 2018
Milestone is now competing against... Milestone's own spinout Arcules. New IPVM testing shows that Arcules has incorporated a substantial amount...
Arcules Cloud VMS Tested on Nov 19, 2018
Arcules is a big bet, or as they describe themselves a 'bold company', spun out and backed by Milestone and Canon.  But how good is Arcules cloud...
Magos Radar Company Profile on Nov 12, 2018
Magos America General Manager Yaron Zussman admits when he first came across Magos, he asked himself: "What's innovative about radar?" Be that as...

Most Recent Industry Reports

2019 Access Control Book Released on Dec 12, 2018
This is the best, most comprehensive access control book in the world, based on our unprecedented research and testing has been significantly...
Huawei Hisilicon Quietly Powering Tens of Millions of Western IoT Devices on Dec 12, 2018
Huawei Hisilicon chips are powering, at least, tens of millions of Western IoT devices, such as IP cameras and surveillance recorders, a fact that...
FLIR Launches Body Cameras Unified With VMS (TruWitness) on Dec 11, 2018
While FLIR is best known for their thermal cameras, now they have expanded into body cameras, launching TruWITNESS, a public safety focused body...
Startup Sunflower Labs' Autonomous Drone Security System on Dec 11, 2018
Startup Sunflower Labs is claiming a unique design on a home security system, combining autonomous drones and 'Sunflower' sensors. Imagine an...
The 2019 Video Surveillance Industry Guide on Dec 10, 2018
The 300 page, 2019 Video Surveillance Industry Guide, covers the key events and the future of the video surveillance market, is now available,...
Multi-Factor Access Control Authentication Guide on Dec 10, 2018
Can a stranger use your credentials? One of the oldest problems facing access control is making credentials as easy to use as keys, but restricting...
Top 2019 Trend - AI Video Analytics on Dec 10, 2018
160+ Integrators answered: What do you think the top industry trend will be in 2019? Why? AI / video analytics was the run-away winner with...
AV Tech Company Profile on Dec 07, 2018
Taiwanese manufacturer AV Tech's revenue declined ~70% since 2012. Planning a comeback, AV Tech spoke to IPVM about their opportunities and...
Ubiquiti $79 Flex IP Camera Tested on Dec 07, 2018
U.S. Manufacturer Ubiquiti has released a 1080p, integrated IR IP camera, selling it directly for $79, making this one of the least expensive IP...
Infinova's Xinjiang Business Examined on Dec 07, 2018
As pressure mounts for companies to stop doing business in China’s Xinjiang region amid a severe human rights crisis, IPVM has found Infinova sold...

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