The Ubiquiti cameras have a strong value proposition but keep in mind that they ONLY work with their own software. They can’t be used with any other VMS/NVR platform. Personally I am a fan of Milestone XProtect which lets you bring any camera you like to the party and scales up to government facility size/feature class.
Rocking 40+ ubnt cams and using their NVR software on a pretty low power desktop PC.
Per ubnt forums, ubnt cams running 3.2? or higher can be used with other NVR’s. Trick is you have to use their NVR software to enable RTSP streams for the cams (not enabled by default) THEN connect them to a 3rd party NVR.
We’ve also used blue iris in the past, but it needed a pretty beefy PC.
We went with the Tyco family of products. They tend to be on the pricey side, but work well together…especially when integrated with access control. Our Operations guys spent about 15 years in that industry before coming to our church. Since we had him, we formed a company outside of the church and sent him to school to be a licensed technician to be able to buy equipment and sell to the church. If we can help you procure equipment, let us know.
We’re using Axis Camera station with two encoders for our older cameras. All of the new cameras are Axis however I believe you can add other vendors ip cameras as well. We really like it, very easy to use. There cameras can be a little bit pricey but they are putting alot of features into there lower end M series cameras. Also they are extremely durable we have had two outdoor PTZ’s that are about 10 years old, they were never sealed correctly, filled up with water multiple times and had rusty RJ45 connectors when we went to correct this issue.
We, too, use Tyco’s ExacqVision but use our own hardware and storage solution. We have about 45 3MP 10FPS cameras on it right now and our average CPU load is around 15%. We use a Dell R720 server with iSCSI storage for recordings. We mainly use Dahua and Hikvision cameras.
Quality NVR software will separate the processes out where there isn’t a heavy application doing transcoding/display all the time. Blue Iris used to be notorious for not scaling because the front end app was displaying cameras all the time burning up CPU. When they split out to allow a back end service that resolved the issue. (Version 4 I think?)
Aggregating the cameras and writing them out to disk really doesn’t take a ton of resources but eventually you can burn up a lot of network throughput and disk throughput forcing you to scale out to multiple servers.
Transcoding applications (web server for mobile apps in the case of XProtect) can burn a lot of CPU while mobile devices are connected and displaying. You can split this process off to another server as well if you would like or run on the same box if you have plenty of CPU.
The display end, particularly if you want to show lots of feeds at the same time, needs quality CPU, plenty of RAM, and decent graphics performance.
I personally run XProtect Essentials with 12 cameras on an i7 Desktop, SATA 4TB WD Red Pro, and 16GB RAM with no issues. Frames don’t drop even when mobile devices or desktops are viewing the feed. The only thing that loads the desktop up heavily is when I open the video playback app directly on the desktop itself and it is rendering all 12 HD feeds directly.
Other details: I’m running 3MP HikVision cameras with full resolution and 4-8Mbit for the bitrate.
We are currently evaluating Avigilon. Not sure what the cost is yet, but the product seems really nice from what I have seen. Not sure if anyone else had experience with them or if you had looked at them before.
This is timely for us as well. We are rocking ye old coax w/DVR but looking at ipcams like nest and cudacams. cudacams are a cloud based camera system. They have a fee of about $60/cam/yr for the basic service. Storage is on the camera and cloud and accessed on the website… no NVR. So far our demo has worked well. It sees pretty well in low light but needs an external add on to the see in total dark. The downside that I see is that they only have two cameras available and don’t offer a ptz which would be nice. One really cool feature is that they can upload video to the cloud during slow bandwidth periods so as not to “hijack” the network on Sunday mornings, meanwhile it just stores it locally on SD.
We are running Avigilon now and love it. It’s more expensive than most NVR solutions, but we are getting by with cheaper cameras and the search functionality is so much easier than our old solution. I’m running a PowerEdge R530 with about 25 TB configured for video, 16GB RAM, and 12 core CPUs, but CPU only runs about 5% and RAM about 30%. That’s giving us a little over 2 months retention with 118 camera on it right now.
We are running 2 systems. The big one which has 70+ cameras is on exacqvision. It is expensive but there are a lot of cameras to choose from. We have 4 buildings which we are monitoring and it is split between 2 servers. Dell R520s with 32GB RAM running RAID 10, (net 12TB per server). We also run ubnt for a couple of cameras on a VM. They are used by the receptionist for certain areas. It was a cheaper alternative and we liked it.
So the initial Avigilon quote we had from a local re-seller had a 48TB server listed for $16K, plus a $760 installation, set up, and training fee. I bought the 32TB (raw) server from xByte (CITRT partner) for $4,300 with a 3 yr warranty.
We currently have 25 IP cameras of various brands running into Blue Iris. I have a $2,500 budget this year to add a few cameras to cover our 1,200 seat sanctuary, primarily for post-event analysis and liability. I’m planning on mounting them on our existing lighting trusses and think I can cover things with 2-3 cameras.
Any thoughts on camera types or specific brand/model recommendations? I’m looking to strike a balance with optical quality, resolution and light gathering capabilities on a fairly limited budget. Much of my searching around this scenario keeps bringing me to some VERY nice cameras where the prices for each start at twice my total budget. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for this great community and resource!