What to look for in a video surveillance management system


Matt Klingbeil



5 minute read

Table of Contents

From 2015 to 2021, the number of cameras in the United States used for video surveillance grew from 47 million to about 85 million. With organizations across all industries amassing more video footage than ever before, video management systems have become a vital tool for storing, managing, and analyzing security footage.

There are plenty of high-quality video management software (VMS) solutions available today for businesses, but finding the right one for your specific needs can sometimes be challenging. Below, we'll explore what to look for in a video management system and five great solutions worth considering.


Types of Video Recording Systems

Today, the three main types of video recording systems used for camera system security solutions include:


DVR stands for "digital video recorder" and is a video recording system invented in 1998. DVR records video to a local storage device, typically a hard drive. Many organizations still use DVR for their video monitoring systems. However, the technology is largely outdated. For one, DVR doesn't produce the best image quality. DVR systems also often require converting video files using a digital encoder.


NVR stands for "network video recorder" and is considered the industry standard for modern security systems, as it's more scalable than outdated DVR technology. With NVR systems, IP cameras capture and encode video before sending the footage to the recorder. Users can then store footage on a hard disk, mass storage device, or the cloud. 


IVR, or "intelligent video recorder," is a system created by Spot AI. IVR is similar to NVR, and since NVR is an inherent ability for IVR systems, you'll be able to keep the NVR footage you've already stored. 

However, IVR stands apart because it allows you to perform intelligent data processing and automatically retrieve video data from the footage you gather. This allows you to make inferences and use video data in a more automated fashion. IVR is also the best option for scalability since it will enable you to add unlimited camera feeds and locations. As long as you have a network path to all the sites, you can keep stacking IVRs — the cameras don't even need to be in the same proximity as the IVR you’re deploying.

Challenges in Video Surveillance Management

The wealth of data that security footage contains is a treasure trove for today's businesses. However, managing mass amounts of video footage also presents its fair share of challenges. Today, the top challenges in video surveillance management include:

  • Non-camera-agnostic systems: Video surveillance systems that aren't camera agnostic cannot work with different types of cameras. This heavily limits an organization's flexibility when designing its security systems.
  • Being locked into using a specific vendor: One key issue with systems that aren't camera agnostic is that they lock organizations into using the hardware and software provided by a single vendor. This prevents easy scalability — being locked into one vendor means you can only use your vendor's limited capabilities.

Operator issues: Video surveillance management systems that aren't automated via AI require a human operator to review and manage footage. This introduces the possibility of issues caused by human error and entails several time-consuming tasks that your team must complete on an ongoing basis.

What To Look for in a Video Surveillance Management System?

There's no denying that video surveillance management comes with its fair share of challenges. The good news is that you can overcome these challenges by choosing a video surveillance management system that offers the right features and functionality. 

If you are looking to get started using a new video surveillance management system that will mitigate the shortcomings of older systems, here are the top features to look for:

Uses AI for Better Management

Video surveillance management systems with artificial intelligence (AI) eliminate the need for manually reviewing security footage and offer a number of other powerful benefits. Known as video analytics, using AI to analyze security footage can provide organizations with a wide range of insights while also saving them time and money.

For one, AI video management can improve an organization's physical security by automatically detecting security threats and sending notifications. Another feature AI video management offers is absence and presence alerts, which can ensure that your employees are at the right place at the right time. Business owners can even use AI to detect if employees are performing a job correctly, improving workplace safety and efficiency.

In addition to providing useful insights, AI-based video management also saves organizations time by automatically performing video analysis. This eliminates dependency on human operators and reduces the various inefficiencies and errors involved with manually reviewing footage.

Offers Plenty of (Cloud) Storage

Today, 60% of the world's corporate data is stored in the cloud, and there are a couple of good reasons for this. 

To start, backing up files in the cloud ensures that you won't lose them permanently in the case of a natural disaster or other event that destroys your local storage. But the biggest benefit of having plenty of cloud storage is that it allows you to create a historical archive of video footage.

There are many cases where organizations may need to retrieve and produce video evidence quite late — even months after the video was first recorded. By choosing a video surveillance management system that offers plenty of cloud storage, you can ensure that your organization can retrieve footage as far back as it needs to.

Ease of Maintenance and User-Friendly Software

Setting up and managing a video surveillance management system shouldn't be a heavy lift for your organization. Ideally, you'll want to choose a plug-and-play system that's ready to go right out of the box. Video surveillance management systems should be equipped with user-friendly software and a user interface that is intuitive and easy to master. Choosing a system from a company with high-quality onboarding and support can also go a long way toward eliminating the hassle of setting up and learning a new system.


Older, traditional security systems are typically difficult to scale when an organization needs to add more cameras or locations to survey. But NVR and IVR video surveillance management systems that are camera agnostic offer much more scalability. These systems allow you to add as many cameras and locations as you like and offer compatibility with any cameras you want — without locking you into a single vendor's products.

Uses Premium and High-Resolution Weatherproof Cameras

Security footage doesn't offer much value when you can't tell what you're looking at. This makes it vital to choose high-resolution security cameras that can record crisp and clear video feeds. It's equally important to use durable, weatherproof cameras that can stand up to the outdoor elements if you want to get the most out of your investment and avoid having to constantly repair and replace your cameras.

Spot AI: A Powerful Option for Video Surveillance

From advanced video analytics capabilities for generating useful insights to improved storage and security of video files, a high-quality video management system can provide a wide range of benefits and features. Whether you would like to unlock the full potential of your existing surveillance system or build a new system from the ground up, Spot AI is an excellent VMS to consider.

To get started enjoying the many benefits of Spot AI's industry-leading video management software, sign up for a Spot AI demo here.

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