Rapid developments in technology over the past few years have changed the consumer mindset regarding the life expectancy of the devices used on a daily basis. While it is not uncommon for someone to replace their smartphone every two to three years or invest in a new smart TV every five years, the same approach is not always possible or practical when it comes to security devices.
When implementing or upgrading a video management system, security professionals are not looking at it as a short-term investment that will need to be replaced in a few years, but as a long-term solution. While it can be difficult to put a concrete number on how long a VMS system should last, security professionals still need to understand the average life expectancy and which factors can be used to determine when it is time to upgrade or replace a VMS system.
Is it scalable?
Scalability is perhaps one of the biggest challenges, and this goes beyond the ability to add IP cameras to the system. A video management system contains both hardware and software components and each of these components will provide different life cycles. The hardware components have characteristics, such as processor, memory, and drive capacity, which need to be refreshed to support increased demands from the deployment. Further software and the underlying technology changes in terms of support for new software protocols, compression technologies, and supported deployment architectures.
The ability for a customer to increase the camera count, support the latest camera technology, or supporting a cloud enabled environment Running older VMS components can limit a customer’s ability to support the latest cameras technology or move to a cloud enabled deployment are some of the biggest reasons that an existing video management system has met its life expectancy and no longer meets the needs of a customer.
Is software updated regularly?
Software plays a big role in replacement considerations of a VMS system. Modern day VMS solutions should have regular software updates that keep it current with the latest technologies and integrations, from video analytics and facial detection technologies to better bandwidth consumption and video search capabilities. When a VMS system has not had a software update for a long period of time, it’s time to review whether the system is able to keep up with current technology demands.
Can it integrate with other systems?
Surveillance systems can no longer operate as standalone, siloed pieces of technology. Today, it’s critical to implement a VMS solution that can easily integrate with other systems, such as access control, intercoms, and alarm systems, whether that capability is immediately needed or expected within a few short years. Open platform VMS systems that enable third party can mean the difference between being able to select best of breed solutions or being stuck with a single solutions provider who may not necessarily meet your future technology needs.
Is the VMS system intuitive to use?
Ease of use is another factor that can impact the life of a VMS system. Over the past few years, video management systems have evolved to incorporate a variety of tools that simplify the process to search for video and download and share files. Being able to find an event using a keyword or stitch together video from multiple cameras into a single file should be a seamless process as part of a modern, up to date VMS system. This is especially important for end users without a dedicated security professional on staff to manage the system.
Is it cyber secure?
Cyber security has become top of mind in the security industry, especially as the majority of devices have become IP enabled. While this connectivity means that it is now possible to remotely access video from virtually any location, it also means that data is more vulnerable and needs to be secured. A cyber resilient VMS system should have regular software updates –using out of date software is perhaps one of the biggest cyber security risks. Regular software updates often include improvements to the security of the platform to support the latest security technologies and address cyber security issues to ensure a hardened VMS system.
By taking scalability, software, integration capability and cyber security into consideration, security professionals can gain a better understanding about the average life expectancy of a VMS system and when it may be time to upgrade or replace that system.