Roundtable: Technology Sound-Off: NVRs versus VMS

With technological changes spinning out of control, especially in video surveillance, it is increasingly important to know your options and utilize the best product tool for your needs and those of your customer. This month’s exclusive coverage features...


With technological changes spinning out of control, especially in video surveillance, it is increasingly important to know your options and utilize the best product tool for your needs and those of your customer. This month’s exclusive coverage features the topic of network video recorders (NVR) and video management systems (VMS). Here’s how our experts weighed in.

How do you get trained on NVRs and VMS technology and software?

Prasanna Kattel M.S., manager systems engineering and integration, Avrio Group, Easton, Md.: It is very important to have some background experience on servers, storage and software before attempting to understand the NVRs and VMS Systems. There are about 1,000 NVRs available on the market and it will be impossible to get training on even 10 of the systems. The technology is advancing on an hourly basis; it is useful to attend the vendor training programs.

Jim Walker, executive vice president, Camera Watch Technologies, Jackson, Miss.: We send our engineers and network technicians to manufacturer certified training. Our training extends to the customer where there is not a set period of time for learning about the equipment. We feel it is our business to educate. The more the customer knows how to use the equipment the more business and referrals we get.

Greig Silver, integration engineer, Idesco Corp., New York, N.Y.: Idesco sends senior members of its design, project management and service teams for certification at manufacturer training courses and conducts in-house training sessions. The training information is then passed onto the rest of our staff.

Jim Kauker, executive vice president of Sales and Marketing, Navco Security Systems, Anaheim, Calif.: We have moved to a “train the trainer” program for both platforms where we send regional experts to the manufacturer training programs and use those experts to train our installation and service teams while doing initial installations.

The video management system is software. How do you know what software to use?

Kattel: First, make sure any software picked is open-architecture. Open architecture provides flexibility for integration and it works seamlessly with just about any software application on the market. The video management system can be categorized in two parts; a unicast system and multicast system. After the network has been decided, now it’s a matter of using the software that most fits the requirements. Make sure the software is widely used and has proven record of being stable.

Walker: We have tried a lot of different products and there is some good software out there. We have settled, as it works for us, on one product exclusively. We know we can rely on the products we work with from a small installation of 10 cameras up to thousands. We work with flexible and reliable products.

Silver: We choose software based on the needs of our customers and a particular installation. The challenge is to “future proof” the selection so our customers will have a system they can grow with as their needs evolve.

Kauker: We use VMS solutions that fit the size of the application. Some VMS is perfect for the ‘under 30’ camera market, while there are others better suited for the 100-plus camera applications. Other factors in deciding on the correct VMS for a customer has to do with the primary mission of the system—is it primarily a live monitoring tool or a forensic tool?

How do you know if your NVR is compatible with your camera? Where do you find this info?

Kattel: Camera compatibility is usually discovered and tested prior to picking the NVR system. The camera compatibility can be obtained from the software vendor.
Walker: We receive this information from the manufacturer. We used to have a lot of trial and error but now we stick exclusively to what works.

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