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

Hanwha Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (PNM-7000VD) on Oct 18, 2018
Hanwha has introduced their first dual-imager model, the PNM-7000VD, a twin 1080p model featuring independently positionable sensors and a snap-in...
Integrator Laptop Guide on Oct 16, 2018
This 18-page guide provides guidance and statistics about integrator laptop use. 150 integrators explained to IPVM in detail about their laptops,...
Mysterious Patent Troll 'Secure Cam' Targets Industry, Sues Hanwha, Hikvison, JCI, Panasonic, More on Oct 11, 2018
A company named "Secure Cam," who is actively hiding their ownership, has acquired a slew of video patents and is systematically suing video...
Security System Health Monitoring Usage Statistics 2018 on Oct 09, 2018
How well and quickly do integrators know if devices are offline or broken? New IPVM statistics show that typically no health monitoring is...
IACP 2018 Police Show Final Report on Oct 08, 2018
IPVM went to Orlando to cover the 2018 IACP conference, the country's largest police show (about as big as ASIS), examining the 700+...
VMS Mobile App Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Oct 01, 2018
Mobile VMS apps are a critical interface for the modern surveillance user. But who does it best and worst? We tested 6 manufacturers - Avigilon,...
Hikvision 4MP Camera Tested (DS-2CD2345FWD-I) on Sep 27, 2018
Hikvision's latest Performance Series / EasyIP 3.0 4MP model, the DS-2CD2345FWD-I, was the top performer in our 4MP shootout, besting rivals from...
ASIS GSX 2018 Show Report on Sep 25, 2018
In the first major US show since the US government ban of Dahua and Hikvision was passed into law, the mega Chinese companies were in retreat and...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
VMS Export Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Sep 13, 2018
When crimes, accidents or problems occur, exporting video from one's video surveillance system is critical to proving incidents. But who does it...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Startup SafePass Profile on Oct 19, 2018
A major problem with visitor management is that the systems mostly require adhesive printed paper labels and paper logs, creating waste and an...
China Is Not A Security Megatrend, Says SIA on Oct 19, 2018
The US Security Industry Association has released its 10 "Security Megatrends" for 2019. SIA declares that these megatrends, such as "Advanced...
Hanwha Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (PNM-7000VD) on Oct 18, 2018
Hanwha has introduced their first dual-imager model, the PNM-7000VD, a twin 1080p model featuring independently positionable sensors and a snap-in...
Camera Height / Blind Spot Added to IPVM Camera Calculator on Oct 18, 2018
IPVM has added camera height and blind spot estimation to the Camera Calculator. This is especially helpful for those who need to mount cameras up...
Axis Strong US Growth, Flat EMEA - Q3 2018 Financials on Oct 18, 2018
This spring, Axis had its best financials in many years (see Axis Strong Q2 2018 Results). However, over the summer, Axis had many products sold...
Best Alternatives to Banned Dahua and Hikvision on Oct 17, 2018
With the US government ban and a growing number of users banning Dahua and Hikvision, one key question is what to use for low cost? While Dahua and...
Video Quality / Compression Tutorial on Oct 17, 2018
While CODECs, like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG, get a lot of attention, a camera's 'quality' or compression setting has a big impact on overall...
Knightscope Winning Investors, Struggling With Growth on Oct 16, 2018
While Knightscope's new financials show the company only winning 11 new customers in the past 12 months, the company continues to win new...
Integrator Laptop Guide on Oct 16, 2018
This 18-page guide provides guidance and statistics about integrator laptop use. 150 integrators explained to IPVM in detail about their laptops,...
Huawei Admits AI "Bubble" on Oct 16, 2018
A fascinating article from the Chinese government's Global Times: Huawei’s AI ambition to reshape industries. While the Global Times talks about...

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