Introduction to VMS
Video Management Software (VMS) plays a crucial role in managing your IP camera system. One of the most notable aspects of VMS is that you do not necessarily need a network video recorder (NVR) to store, record, or view your security cameras. Typically designed to work on a Windows or Unix/Linux server, security camera software allows IP camera users to monitor one or more of their surveillance cameras simultaneously (if desired). While you can view your network security cameras from an actual web browser, you’re limited to the number of options and features available, meaning you can usually just view your surveillance system versus managing and recording it.
There are multiple IP security camera software solutions available today to suit your distinct security needs. Many IP camera manufacturers offer their own proprietary VMS, while some companies like Milestone solely provide a myriad of cutting-edge VMS platforms. Some users prefer NVRs over surveillance camera software. It’s important to note that many developers of VMS deliver just as much flexibility and video intelligence as NVRs do.
IP Surveillance Camera Software Features
If you opt to use VMS instead of an NVR, then it’s important to know the features that come with your security camera software. The majority of IP security camera software platforms have built-in video analytics to optimize the performance of your IP security cameras. Some of the standard features on IP surveillance camera software include the following:
- Search functions to review specific recorded events
- Simultaneous viewing to monitor several of your IP cameras at once
- Alarm management utilities that can be configured to notify you or set of an external alarm if someone or something is tampering with your camera
- Wide variety of recording options, from continuous and scheduled recording to alarm and motion recording
- Frame rate control and the ability to process a large amount of data
- Digital control of PTZ cameras as well as dome cameras
- Video compression functions to save bandwidth
- Audio capabilities
- Video playback
- Storage capacity with the use of a Micro SD card (depends on the VMS brand)
- Export images / recordings
While the aforementioned features are typically common, some IP camera software is built with more advanced functions. It really depends on what your surveillance system requires, and what type of features matter most to you as a homeowner or business professional. For example, Milestone security camera software offers more complex features that are not available on most VMS platforms on the market. Milestone has a wide range of IP camera software solutions to handle small-, medium-, and large-scale surveillance applications (i.e. small retail boutiques and banks to numerous hotel chains), and their most stand-out product can support an unlimited number of IP cameras. Not only does Milestone VMS offer leading-edge features and functions for your network surveillance cameras, but there are also add-on products that can be installed onto Milestone’s VMS platform such as license plate recognition; retail fraud detection; and point-of-sale monitoring, among several other add-on components.
Network Video Recorders
NVRs are a viable alternative to IP camera software or VMS. Network video recorders are hardware devices (various sizes exist) that receive video streams via a WAN or LAN network. Once this occurs, the NVR is able to put your IP camera’s video streams onto a hard disk, digitally. Again, it is up to you when it comes to choosing an NVR or VMS to manage, view, and record video. The main differences between the two include hardware versus software, and the quantity and range of features available on each. VMS is installed onto your PC or server whereas an NVR is a hardware device that comes with built-in security camera software. Again, it depends on what brands and options you prefer when it comes to choosing VMS or NVRs.