Security System without DVR / NVR?

Hello Everyone,

We are looking to start beefing up our security systems / presence at the church. We are looking to start with 6 exterior cameras and build up from there. My question for everyone is there a company / product that will allow you to download their software onto a pc / sever and direct it on where to record / save all of the captured audio and video without the use of DVR / NVR system? I have my own setup at home that does not require a bay station / DVR / NVR / etc., however, we will need something more advanced and will cover a lot more space. Our current network backbone is running Ubiquiti switches and routers. As Ubiquiti is a network based company and that is their bread & butter, I am very hesitant to use any of their security features. Thank you all in advance for your input and your time.

Very Respectfully,

J. Higgins

We have 2 systems here and one of them is Ubiquiti and the software is free. The catch is that you have to use their cameras. They are pretty good. I have a virtual server running that I used to capture the recordings. We typically stored it for a month. We have been using their camera and software for about 3 years. No problem so far. Our big system is VideoInsights which we have 150 plus cameras. The software is free up to 16 16 cameras and it has to be Panasonic or Advidia cameras. The Panasonic cameras are high end and we have a handful of them. The rest are mainly Advidias and other brands. As for the 3rd party brand we have to pay a one time charge for each camera when we migrated from Exacqvision. IN you case I would go with Ubiquiti cameras. I think there are several people here who also use Ubiquiti cameras. The software and camera is fairly easy and intuitive to setup. If you need to know more about cameras and such, you are welcome to contact me.

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Meraki and Verkada are NVR-less, storing video on in-camera storage and being managed by a cloud service. Because of the cloud service, there are annual license fees that are significantly higher than our annual security camera budget, so we’re a mix of HikVision and UniFi with NVRs for each. Security prefers HikVision because UniFi sometimes won’t respond in their mobile app.

The long version:

The two systems I’ve seen in use the most are Meraki and Verkada. Both have similar features and appear to be pretty decent. I’ve seen a demo of each and personally lean towards Verkada since we aren’t a Meraki shop.

In the end, the cost to go with a cloud manager and in-camera storage is significantly higher than simple cameras with an NVR so we have a mix of HikVision and UniFi. UniFi was significantly less expensive, but seems to be less reliable when accessing from off-network (their mobile app requires using their free online service, which has the level of support you’d expect from a perpetually free cloud service) and the HikVision app requires opening/routing ports on a public static IP.

The UniFi cameras and interface are really not that terrible, my only issue is occasionally our security team won’t be able to connect to the NVR from the mobile app without any traceable reason and it is usually resolved by rebooting the NVR. Because we have a 45+ camera system, we built our own NVR so I also have to maintain the linux OS it is running on which isn’t terrible but can be daunting when I think a change I make may take all of those cameras offline or possibly lose video archives. So far we haven’t had that large of a catastrophe, but we came close once and the UniFi forums came to the rescue.

If money were no object, or we had a much smaller deployment, I would prefer Verkada out of all of the options I’ve evaluated, purely because of the features and functionality and ease of remote access. The annual fees also mean support, which means I shouldn’t be troubleshooting anything other than an internet connection for each camera.

We got a demo of Verkada after seeing them at Church of the Resurrection. They are flippin’ sweet! We have a demo camera they sent us and it’s impressive. If I could replace all our ubnt cams I would in a heartbeat. The facial recognition feature is amazing and creepy at the same time lol.


Check with security vendors, you really should build a planned, coherent system. Many now will record on computer, but may be specific about what cameras are supported. Our school uses a Geovision system with 17 cameras plus 4 door entry units. The 1 TB data drive in the computer holds a little over 2 weeks of footage. Also, you could check with area schools, since many now use cameras.
This company: has software often used in camera systems.

I would suggest Digital Watchdog great versatile solution and offers but CaaS (Camera as a server devices) and just the server software seperate compatible with any onvif surveillance camera.