Worst VMS Manufacturers 2014

By John Honovich, Published Feb 24, 2014, 12:00am EST

With the favorite VMSes revealed, we now turn to the worst.

We asked 120+ integrators from more than 20 countries:

"In the past year, what VMS / NVR system have you had the worst experience with? What happened?"

The question was left open ended allowing respondents to choose whomever they wanted plus adding color commentary to explain the situation.

Unlike the IP camera side, there was no overwhelming choice for VMS manufacturer problems. There were 6 VMS / NVR manufacturers of note (Bosch, Pelco, Dahua, Milestone, Verint and Axis) and one theme for the rest of manufacturers.

Usability Concerns

Lots of smaller or less commonly used VMSes were dinged for usability issues, reinforcing how importance ease of use is to VMS selection:

  • "AverUSA DVR's - terrible interface"
  • "Geo-Vision...their GUI is by far one of the most difficult and clunky systems to teach to an end user. General layout is all over the place with no real sense of feature layouts."
  • "Nicevision- Their PTZ control setup is cumbersome and confusing. Their GUI looks terrible and does not save your viewing pane configuration. You have to re-select everything everytime you logon"
  • "Speco. You get what you pay for. Clumsy."
  • "Bosch BRS. Setup and configuration options very confusing and really made no sense."
  • "Speco, Everfocus.... many of the programming steps are not as intuitive as they should be, and return visits have been required"
  • "The Vivotek VMS GUI is horrible."
  • "Panasonic NVR's Poor end user experience. Very unintuitive interface."

Of course, considering Exacq 'won' driven by integrator's praise for their usability, it should be no surprise that on the other side, usability issues would be a major driver of problems.

Bosch - Lots of Problems

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After getting only a single vote for favorite VMS, Bosch had 5 negative choices for worst experience:

  • "Bosch BVMS: We identified quite a few unacceptable bugs that were never addressed by Bosch causing huge problems."
  • "Bosch Vidos, closed system does not support latest cameras and is out of support, although still sold 3 years ago. Many unhappy customers."
  • "Bosch VRM - constant incompatibility issues with Bosch firmware versions, software is buggy, all concept is questionable."
  • "Bosch: Their line of hybrid and native IP products seems to be missing the mark with respect to networking. Not technically sound, each product in the line operates and behave differently within a network."
  • "Bosch BRS. Setup and configuration options very confusing and really made no sense. Had to make changes at the camera level so very tedious to setup motion detection.Just not logical and the larger the deployment, the more difficult to maintain."

Pelco Endura Problems

After being shut out on the favorite voting, Pelco Endura received three negative selections:

  • "Pelco Endura. Lots of setup problems requiring factory support."
  • "Pelco Endura, after updating various modules the system started to work in a very unstable way."
  • "Pelco Endura. We had to replace a whole controller's box. We had to face contract's penalties due to the delay in importing the equipment."

Combined with Pelco's poor showing on the IP camera side, this is not a good turn out. On the plus side, Pelco's other VMS, Digital Sentry did not receive any criticisms (nor favorite selections).


While Dahua is one of the fastest growing companies in the world, empowering dozens of OEMs with super low cost equipment, they generated a number of complaints:

  • "Dahua, we buy around 20 NVR for several installations of the same customer. We had to replace them all. Twice a week the system hangs and even no recording were found."
  • "The worst stand alone NVR was Dahua rebranded. Motion recording did not work at all from anything more than 8 feet away. Was completely useless, had to swap out the whole system for a Nuuo VMS"
  • "Dahua. We tried a small form factor dvr in our office for smaller applications. Did not ship with a hard drive, terrible tech support, and a very confusing interface."
  • Q-see... I know not a real VMS but i am asked to install these often." [Note Q-See OEMs Dahua]

Milestone Issues

Milestone was a solid second overall choice on the favorites but did receive 5+ negative choices as well:

  • "Milestone, could not get it to function to specifications."
  • "Milestone. There were some simple software issues. You could not get anyone on the line for several days to provide any technical support for an extremely simple system."
  • "ONSSI, Milestone, Large systems. Takes forever to configure all cameras to record as needed."
  • "Milestone. Terrible support and they try to gouge you for thousands of dollars in training."
  • "Milestone. Tried to start integrating but the systems become expensive very quickly and software isn't very intuitive."
  • "Did not like the license connected to MAC address problem. Maybe they fixed that issue recently I dont know, but if a camera needed replacement on a weekend you were screwed."
  • "Milestone's free version. It would have trouble showing the video sporadically and apparently it is related to an issue with trying to sync the video with the audio from the camera. Took a long time to diagnose and try to work around. Primary reason we do not quote Milestone (paid version) to customers anymore."

There's no single theme among the Milestone complaints but a variety of issues.


By contrast, the favorite choice, Exacq only had one negative vote. However, that was on technical support - "Horrible tech support. I was used to a much higher standard with them. Good tech support buys loyalty." Indeed, that reflected others concerns on Exacq declining tech support.

Dishonorable Mention - Verint

Verint has fallen far off the video surveillance industry's consciousness. And while they received no selections for favorite VMS, a few poor integrators had bad experiences to share dealing with the company: 

  • "Verint. Their people are very arrogantly convinced that Verint still commands respect, but there are still a TON of improvements to be made, and they're getting out-developed by much younger players."
  • "Verint - LDAP integration is as miserable as their tech support."

Dishonorable Mention - Axis Camera Companion

Though Axis Camera Companion has great conceptual appeal, a number of people are reporting stability issues with using SD cards. In the survey, respondents noted:

  • "ACC - Cameras failing to write to SD cards, Axis changing their "Approved" NAS spec 3-4 times over the last year, very poor/useless Axis support until we got a hold of someone from Sweden. You get what you pay for."
  • "Axis Camera Companion. It sometimes doesn't delete files within the time frames given, filling up disks. Then you have to manually delete files, messing up indexes, and eventually the camera's just won't show in the software."

And then, unrelated, an integrator posted problems with ACC, where other integrators responded with more issues:

  • "Data corruption is causing loss of video, freezing of cameras. and there is no consistent guidance from Axis as to the cause or remedy."
  • "After a certain length of time we had M3005-V and M3004-V cameras drop offline, refuse to record, stop recognizing the SD card, etc. We now have syslog file servers running on 2 of the sites to try and troubleshoot the problems."
  • "EPIC failure. We have stopped deploying these as of late last year. Problems too numerous to mention. Literally hours & days on the phone with Axis TS and going back out to sites, sending Axis countless log files. Firmware updates. Firmware rollbacks."

While Axis did respond to the concerns, they did not offer any clear or obvious solution (like upgrade to X or only use Y) so many integrators are left with problems. Beware.

Update: Axis has responded with a solution.

2 reports cite this report:

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Axis Admits Edge Recording Problems, Offers Solution on Jun 19, 2014
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