Milestone refreshes its VMS product line

Sept. 19, 2011 -- At the ASIS 2011 tradeshow in Orlando, Milestone Systems unveiled what amounts to a full refresh of its product line. The company has not only made significant updates to existing XProtect video management software products it offers, but has now unveiled XProtect Express, a low-cost version that gives strong video management system (VMS) features for a price of only $99 per camera license.

XProtect Express software fits in at a mid-point for Milestone. Lower end versions (the free version called Go and the $49/camera license version called Essential) don't offer the ability to integrate in other security platforms with the video management software, but that's where Express stands out. It supports a single server installation and is designed for up to 48 cameras. It's made, said Milestone's VP of Marketing and Product Management Christian Bohn, for users who want professional level surveillance features in a small, limited cost environment. He cited retail environments that may want to tie a VMS in with basic analytics or point-of-sale integration as being a top market focus for the software.

Even though the company has been busy with the launch of XProtect Express, Milestone clearly has not slowed down on pushing advances in the other products. The XProtect Professional software now adds support for up to five servers, a move he said that allows for greater adoption of megapixel cameras.

Milestone's high-end products XProtect Enterprise and the top-level XProtect Corporate are also advancing. These two versions are primarily designed for large installations that use active monitoring of the video surveillance system. Version 8 of Enterprise adds in elements such as graphical interfaces for cameras, maps, and an alarm manager that consolidates alarm inputs in to the system.

XProtect Corporate is typically differentiated from Enterprise by its “federated” architecture that allows multiple separate installs to be linked together; it's a software model that would allow multiple agencies to access and share video with each other, regardless of the fact that they have each purchased separate installs of the software.

Though it did not make it in time for the ASIS show, Bohn said to expect a refresh of XProtect Corporate in October 2011, as they add a new smart client that supports features like 360 imaging from Immervision. It also offers the “Camera Navigator” tool. “What people struggle with in live monitoring environments is following suspicious people to next camera,” said Bohn.

The typical way VMS companies have solved this is with maps that overlay camera positions, but with Camera Navigator, the system automatically pulls up live feeds from adjacent cameras so that the security staff can easily track suspects from one camera view to the next.

Also for the Corporate version, Milestone is rolling out a new software installation process to install the system better and recognize cameras faster. There is a feature for automatic camera license activation, where users go online to register cameras, and then when installed, the software automatically recognizes and activates those cameras. It's a feature that Bohn said becomes increasingly important when you start dealing with hundreds or thousands of cameras plugged into a single VMS installation.

As an overall update on the number of video devices supported by Milestone, Bohn said the number stands at 1,200 and said he anticipates the number will be 1,400 by the end of 2011.