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What is a VMS?

A digital video surveillance system is a lot more than just a collection of fancy security cameras. Even if you choose the best IP cameras on the market, you can still end up with a substandard security solution if you don’t have the right system for managing all of the video streams.

A video management system (VMS) is a sophisticated software application that helps you display, record, retrieve and analyze video from your security cameras more efficiently. With a VMS, you can also remotely administer the devices connected to your video surveillance network.

Medium-sized and large businesses—and high-growth companies of all sizes—are most likely to benefit from an effective VMS. Many smaller businesses, however, find that a Network Video Recorder (NVR) or Digital Video Recorder (DVR) is sufficient to meet their needs. NVRs and their CCTV predecessors, DVRs, are dedicated plug-and-play recording devices that come with preloaded video management software, a set amount of storage, and support for a fixed number of cameras.

In contrast, you can install a VMS on any computer that meets its minimum requirements and then use it to record video on your choice of compatible storage device(s). An enterprise-grade VMS can run simultaneously on multiple servers, increasing the number of IP cameras that you can monitor. Using a VMS, you have the opportunity to build a more flexible, customizable and extensive video surveillance solution than either an NVR or a DVR is able to provide. An enterprise-grade VMS can also leverage the power of analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), giving you the ability to predict potential problems and proactively take steps to address them.


Key Features

When you evaluate a video management system, be sure to consider how easily it will mesh with your existing security infrastructure, how adaptable it will be to unforeseen changes in this infrastructure, and how reliable it will be in daily operations.

With these considerations in mind, you should look for several key features:

1. Support for a wide range of cameras

Why start from scratch if you don’t have to? Continue using your current IP cameras and avoid getting locked into a single vendor for all your video solutions.

2. Scalable design

Your business will evolve over time. Ensure that you can adjust the scope of your video surveillance system by choosing a scalable VMS that will accommodate as many (or as few) cameras as you need. Support for analytics and AI is also important because you’ll need these features more and more as you scale up your solution.

3. Bandwidth management

High-quality video streams can consume a lot of bandwidth. Look for a VMS that can optimize network usage and support the latest video codecs and compression technology.

4. Health monitoring

A video surveillance system is only effective if the cameras, servers and hard drives are functioning properly. You should be able to configure your VMS to send out alerts when equipment failures and network connection problems occur so you can take immediate corrective action.

5. Third-party systems integration

It can be costly to purchase new access control or building management solutions. Look for a VMS that can integrate with any of your relevant legacy systems.

6. Centralized control

Just because your business has multiple locations doesn’t mean it should have multiple security operations centres. Streamline the administration and maintenance of your video surveillance network by managing operations from a single secure location.

As your VMS selection process unfolds, you may find that user management, cybersecurity and privacy, among others, also turn out to be deciding factors, but this list of six key features is a good place to start.


Why Choose Video Insight from Panasonic?

Trusted by more than 25,000 businesses worldwide, Video Insight (VI) is a Windows-based video management system featuring unlimited scalability and a plug-in architecture for selectively adding advanced functionality such as facial recognition, vehicle search and license plate recognition. The VI open platform supports 4,000+ camera models from 150 manufacturers and fully complies with the ONVIF Profile S specification for sending data over an IP network.

With Video Insight, you can achieve a lower Total Cost of Ownership because no license is required for using Panasonic cameras and there are no software upgrade costs whatsoever—no Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA), no Software Upgrade Program (SUP) and no recurring fees. Panasonic provides free technical support based in Toronto and offers in-house technical certification training.