As convergence heats up, there is a dizzying array of management solutions. Eric Fullerton, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Milestone Systems, examines the differences.
There seem to be many different video management software (VMS) products on the market today, so how can an integrator or value-added reseller (VAR) figure out what they need?
They have to look for the VMS vendor who will be the best long-term partner for sustainable growth and who can enable the VAR to supply his customers with a platform that adds value over time. The deciding factor is that the VMS company must offer a true open platform that enables integration to third-party applications and secures future innovations to keep the end user from getting locked out of other options.
Vendors with an end-to-end solution not open for integration to third-party products and applications try to lock their customers in as a sole supplier. History has proven this is an expensive route, because end users are limited in their ability to keep up with industry innovations. No one vendor can do it all. Integrators also need to look for a vendor that offers a full range of products and can help them scale from the smallest solutions to the largest and most complex.
What's ahead in the future for VMS? Video is becoming the high value element in physical security, largely driven by IP technology. This means end users are now expecting integrated security implementations to be used through the video client graphical user interface (GUI) instead of through the access control or HVAC interfaces. This is driving many customer integrations where the VMS GUI is now becoming the preferred GUI.
This means that we are right on the verge of a GUI war between the different players in the security market.
Some VMS vendors are positioning themselves as physical security integration management (PSIM) companies, integrating all security products into high-level client applications. Other vendors like Milestone offer a comprehensive and well-documented SDK with extensive integration possibilities, allowing each vendor decide how they choose to interface their different security applications. The difference is between taking control of customer environments or offering customers freedom of choice.
The PSIM companies will end up as high-end custom integration companies. The open platform companies will prolif?erate as they offer freedom of choice and greater ROI and TCO over time.
There's talk today about VMS distributed as Software as a Service (SaaS). It's the early days on this approach, so the jury is still out. If SaaS can find a business model where it truly solves a problem that adds value to the solution, it will find a place in the market. If not, they will continue to be just a promise. At Milestone we have not seen the tangible value of these solutions to date. However, we are continuously looking at it.