As camera counts rise and system complexity increases, it’s imperative for enterprise security leaders to make smart choices when it comes to a video management system. If you’re pondering where to start on your purchasing decision, Security spoke with someone who literally wrote the book on VMS systems – Brian Carle, Director of Product Strategy at Salient Systems and author of Understanding Video Management Systems: Video Security Recording Technology and Design Essentials.
“Your decision-making depends greatly on the needs of the organization,” Carle says. “From a very high level, what VMS end users should consider starts with budget and deployment size, and from there, narrowing down what are the necessary feature sets and what platforms will deliver. A retailer’s set of considerations will differ from a casino’s or a prison’s.”
Apart from features and the scale of the system, budget is another huge facet of the VMS decision. Some basic costs associated with a VMS are the software licenses, software update agreements (a recurring cost), and the cost of hardware. Outside of that core, costs can vary depending on which feature sets are desired, and whether the system is on-premises or off-site in the cloud.
Some recurring costs for on-premises systems include:
- Software support agreements
- Technical support
- Maintaining deployment & equipment costs
- Firmware updates (maintenance)
- General cost of maintaining IT equipment
The IP and analog decision factors in here as well. For enterprises using a hybrid system of both analog and IP cameras, there are options on the management side; a hybrid VMS enables both types of cameras to interface directly with the VMS, and an IP-only VMS can still use analog cameras provided they’re connected to an encoder. Carle warns that enterprises using encoders during an upgrade progress should remember that license costs may increase as they shift from analog to IP – while an encoder may enable four analog cameras to use just one VMS license, when they’re upgraded to IP, four licenses will be needed.