As you facilitate the growth of your business, the ability to protect people, property and assets is a mission critical business objective for general security purposes and to minimize risks and liabilities. Video surveillance is one of the most important investments you will make to ensure this goal, so it’s important to choose the Video Management System (VMS) that will best meet your specific needs. This is particularly true of small-to-mid-size businesses (SMBs) that often require VMS solutions with enterprise level performance and intuitiveness on a greater cost-value basis. Here are some considerations SMBs should explore before selecting a VMS:

Size of Business

Make sure your VMS is the right size for your operation. Though many VMS systems today can connect thousands of cameras across multiple facilities, such a massive system will overwhelm your business needs – and you’ll be paying for much more than you need today. These systems weren’t designed from the ground up for prospering SMBs with long-term growth objectives. The average camera count for an SMB is well below 100 cameras, which requires a VMS solution scaled to this capacity.

Although your business may not require a large number of cameras and an enterprise-level VMS, SMBs have heftier needs than mom and pop level businesses. For example, an entry-level Network Video Recorder (NVR) is typically capable of supporting up to 16 cameras, which is often too few cameras for most SMB installations. In addition, the functionality and capabilities of NVR-based camera control systems are fairly basic, and insufficiently suited to the surveillance objectives most SMBs want and need.

Define Your VMS Needs and Objectives

Once you begin researching various VMS solutions, you’ll find a multitude of options designed to serve a variety of purposes. Some will fulfill a specific function faster and better, but not share capacity for other purposes, while some solutions are designed for very general surveillance applications. However, there are VMS solutions designed specifically for SMBs that are optimized for unique functionality, provide scalable camera and recording capacities, and accommodate third-party integrations for more advanced functionality. You should evaluate these capabilities very carefully to help ensure you are making the best decision based on your present and future needs.

Feature Selection Criteria

There are powerful and highly efficient features available on today’s latest VMS solutions designed to deliver easy installation and operation. This is important on several fronts, most notably relative to Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), personnel training and system operation. The personnel who install and operate your VMS solution are probably not technicians, so it’s important to evaluate the User Interface (UI) for intuitiveness and overall simplicity. A complicated UI may look impressive and promise to provide greater functionality, but it will most likely confuse novice operators which can result in costly mistakes. VMS solutions with an intuitive UI will help flatten the learning curve, saving both time and money while ensuring proper system operation. Inquire about estimated installation and training requirements when evaluating systems, as these should be core selection criteria.

Additional key features to look for in a VMS solution include “plug and play” operation to easily install and add cameras, and the ability to support extended recording capacity using internal or attached storage. Ideally, the VMS solution should also support third party plug-ins to enhance its operation with advanced capabilities such as people counting, object left behind detection, license plate recognition, integration with point of sale systems, and more. These added functions can help improve overall security and contribute to other present and future business intelligence applications.

Purchasing a VMS solution for your SMB is an investment in your business – one that will allow you to establish and maintain a safe and secure environment – so you can focus on growth. Take the time to ask questions and compare various VMS solutions. And never hesitate to ask a video expert to help steer you in the right direction.