What is most important to a security professional? To effectively perform their job of protecting and preserving human life and property. To accomplish this, they need access to a tool or set of tools that provide them timely access to the surveillance video, a Video Management System (VMS).

There are a multitude of VMS vendors fulfilling this role. How then do the VMS vendors know what to include in their offerings? Most of the VMS vendors started in physical security and have their own knowledgebase to work from. However, is this knowledge enough? The answer is simply, no.
One of the primary roles of the VMS sales/engineering staff, working with their dealer network, is to collect the views, opinions and real world experiences from the day to day security user. Represented here is a compilation of the Top 25 VMS features most desired by end users. It was compiled by polling a sample of security dealers, integrators, manufacturer reps and end users. This VMS features list was developed by taking the individual responses and ranking them based on how many total responses were received for a given feature. The table shown here provides not only the feature rank, but a comparison of VMS products by the vendors in the “The Top 10 Open Video Management Systems” article in this issue.
Surprisingly, one of the top five most desired features is focused towards an open vendor neutral system. What can be assumed by this is that similar to the IT market, the security market is moving towards a heterogeneous or mixed vendor system. Economics can be a major contributor towards this shift.
Another possible cause for this could be simply functionality. An IP or megapixel camera from a different vendor might be a better fit for a unique or particular function.
One of the most notable results from the comparison is that not one, but all of the VMS vendors meet more than 80 percent of the Top 25 desired VMS features. In the end, each VMS provides a tool to be used by security professionals and influenced by security professionals.