By Mike Scirica, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, WavestoreUSA
Video management software (VMS) can be a challenging technology segment to fully understand. It can be difficult for IT integrators to tell which solution is best for their customers’ needs, especially when every manufacturer claims to have the key benefits that will serve them best. It can even be more complicated for the SMB customer, who often wants the functionality of an enterprise-class system at an approachable price point.
That’s why, when considering VMS systems, it’s important to keep a few key functionalities at the top of your list:
Ease of use, installation, and configuration
Small, specialty businesses do not have the time to waste on lengthy, complicated installations, challenging configurations, and difficult software operation. If you are targeting this market, look for a VMS that is easy to manage and configure, from the installation to the customer’s day-to-day experience. To streamline installation and ongoing use, some VMS platforms feature maps that detail the layout of specific installations, with camera icons placed according to system configuration. The area of coverage and the field of view can be set for each camera, and the operator can select and view images from a specific camera by simply clicking the related icon.
Open platform design
The best VMS solutions are as camera-agnostic as possible and support a wide array of encoders and cameras (analog, network, and HDcctv) from a range of manufacturers, which lets you choose the solution that will work best for each specific project.
Low installation and total ownership costs
Seek out a VMS that integrates with many hardware devices — quickly — and that uses cost-effective and scalable system architecture to optimize and extend operational efficiency over the years. The SMB market in particular requires platforms that are based on open standards to allow for the utmost in system flexibility.
Intuitive display features
Consider a VMS that will intuitively serve the unique needs of SMB customers. Today’s software packages provide configurable video displays by size, format, and position, which allows each operator to configure a unique display, in their preferred layout and language. Additional capabilities include flexible remote viewing, easy PTZ controls, the ability to simultaneously display live and archived images, and quick and easy export of video clips from one or multiple cameras.
“De-warping” software for use with 360-degree cameras
For the ultimate in flexibility, look for a VMS that supports a variety of 360-degree cameras. Look for a VMS that takes the original 360-degree images and “de-warps” them to allow users to view the complete video image without distortion. With the growing demand for hemispheric cameras — which can replace up to six traditional cameras — there is an increasing need for unique software capabilities to take full advantage of these devices. Consider a VMS with built-in de-warping functionality that can provide multiple de-warped images from a single hemispheric camera stream, greatly reducing network traffic and saving tremendously on recording, the most expensive element of most commercial video systems. Make certain that the VMS can display any de-warped images from recorded 360-degree streams, regardless if the virtual views were created previously or not.
System diagnostics and remote maintenance access
These features promote the ongoing health of the system, reducing the need for site visits for emergency upgrades and allowing for scheduled maintenance as time permits, which saves money and time and assures continuous operation.
It’s important to look for a VMS that can easily scale as your customers’ needs change. Seek out software that is continuously developed to support emerging technology so that the user will always benefit from the best that the industry has to offer.