Security and video surveillance needs change with time, and it's important to keep up with those changing needs. For video management system (VMS) software, features that were sufficient to meet video surveillance needs when a system was installed may not be sufficient now.

Using the latest version of video management (VMS) software offers many benefits for security executives, enabling deployment of larger numbers of cameras at more sites, improving performance and stability, and expanding system capabilities. The newest software version can also increase operation efficiency, add new tools to manage a system centrally, and offer a better user experience.

Keeping software current is farsighted, too. Being up-to-date with the latest VMS software version ensures you will be able to leverage the next wave of new capabilities, such as the ability to view high-definition (HD) video content smoothly and at full frame rates on the Internet or using mobile network systems.

In general, upgrading VMS software increases security executives’ ability to take advantage of the latest technologies. For example, new megapixel cameras now provide much clearer images, can zoom-in without losing quality and offer better data to identify subjects in the video. New network cameras include greater storage capacity and more signal processing. IP systems can now be more easily configured, maintained and integrated. These benefits, and more, are available to users who upgrade to the latest VMS software version.

As your surveillance requirements change, new capabilities in the latest software version can meet those needs.

Greater system functionality. Software systems are constantly being integrated with additional third-party suppliers, offering even more functionality ranging from license plate recognition to new video storage options to point-of-sale (POS) systems. Keeping software up-to-date ensures the ability to embrace the industry's best technology in a more current VMS environment.

More cameras and sites. The latest software versions enable systems that can monitor a larger number of cameras and sites more efficiently. A software upgrade also helps users maximize the benefit of their existing hardware, as well as provide support for more cameras. The latest software versions feature the widest selection of driver packs for various camera models.

Better performance and stability. New software also provides a wealth of performance and stability improvements, and having the latest version ensures availability of priority technical support.

Centralized management. Newer software offers options such as centralized user management and easier configuration and maintenance, which can lower overall system costs by saving on personnel and other resources needed to implement and maintain a system.

Excellent user experience.Ask the nearest iPad user how the user experience compares to yesterday's PC. Similar strides are being made to the user interface of video management software. In addition to an efficient and intuitive user interface, newer systems offer a more collaborative work environment and take advantage of efficiency factors such as event fusion, map-based navigation and new investigation tools. The Microsoft platform has also changed over the last several years, and using the latest VMS software ensures compatibility and optimization of the newest Windows environment.

Any system is only as good as the software that runs it. In many cases, companies may not even be aware of what they are missing by not having updated software. In this case, not knowing can be costly in terms of a less efficient system and missed opportunities of new features and functionalities that are as close as the nearest software update.

In some cases, software upgrades may have been eliminated to help lower costs during the economic downturn – necessary, perhaps, but also short-sighted. In general, the corporate buying cycle doesn't keep up with changing technologies. Too often, a video system may be installed and then ignored or taken for granted. Software upgrades should be at the top of the list of things to do as the economy improves and funds become available, especially if such details were ignored during the economic downturn.

The cost of the underlying VMS software makes up a relatively small percentage of the system-wide expenditure (which also includes hardware, cameras and labor, as well as ongoing maintenance). Keeping software up-to-date is not expensive, and asoftware upgrade plan (SUP) is a low-cost alternative to purchasing software upgrades individually. The price of the plan includes any major or minor upgrades during the term of the plan.

The specific, quantifiable benefits of upgrading VMS software to the newest version will make your video system better.