Making the Complex Simple with Video Management
“Plug It In and It Just Works”
Being a truly independent developer of innovative VMS, Wavestore’s goal is to provide a seamless end-to-end user experience while using an open-platform architecture. This leaves their partners free to choose whichever connected devices, analytics and sub-systems they want from their preferred vendors to create a best-in-breed security solution that perfectly matches the requirement of their application and doesn’t leave them tied in to a single brand.
Dr. Heiko Baumgartner of GIT SECURITY was able to learn about Wavestore’s approach by interviewing their Managing Director, James Smith.
With the sheer number of technologies, formats, product vendors and types involved in the industry, Wavestore’s VMS is a platform that is designed to make the complex simple. This enables their partners to get the solutions they want, using the technology they want, in a way that’s easy to scale over time and simple for the end-user to manage.
GIT SECURITY: What differentiates Wavestore from other Vendors in the market?
James Smith: This is actually one of the first things we get asked by new partners: What makes us different from the other VMS in the market? Essentially, any good VMS will manage your video sources and deliver some degree of connectivity, whether using proprietary cameras/devices or open-platform, but Wavestore has some very important benefits and differentiators which make our solutions stand out from the crowd. One of the most important differences of Wavestore’s VMS is that, unlike many other VMS available on the market, ours is embedded into its Linux operating system and doesn’t run as an application on Windows. This enables us to deploy technology that we have specifically designed for security solutions, such as our own proprietary file system, and delivers benefits that simply can’t be achieved with Windows based VMS. Wavestore’s use of Linux also helps protect against cyber threats that specifically target Windows system, such as the recent WannaCry virus which affected many businesses and institutions globally.
Is there any specialist Linux knowledge required to install or use Wavestore’s VMS?
James Smith: The simple answer is no.
Because Wavestore’s VMS is embedded into Linux it installs all at once and takes only minutes for a fresh server to become a Wavestore server. What’s more, WaveView, our client software used to access Wavestore VMS servers remotely, is available in both Windows and Linux versions and we also have WaveView Mobile for Android and iOS devices – all available license free – so accessing Wavestore’s VMS and enjoying all the benefits of our Linux architecture is simple too.
Wavestore has a file system specifically designed for security. How does it work?
James Smith: One of our core technologies is our own proprietary file system called ’Large Allocation Storage System’ or ‘LASS’. Unlike the Windows file system, Wavestore’s allows video, audio and metadata to be written and read from hard disk extremely quickly in just a couple of steps, resulting in the fastest video recall with accurate play bar control and lip-synchronised audio to be achieved as standard. LASS can handle up to 64 Petabyte disk arrays as single volumes, with up to 64 trillion images on each volume. It can handle up to 26 volumes in total. It has no image size limits, so image sizes from a few bytes up to many megabytes are no problem. This easily caters for very high megapixel cameras (in excess of 20 Megapixels), which are now readily available on the market. Because we control all aspects of how we write to disk, we are not constrained by the limitations that many other VMS’s face. If there’s ever an application that calls for 290 Petabytes of storage then that can be achieved with Wavestore (That’s over 80 years recording 200 full HD cameras in real time!), it truly is that scalable.
What do you tell installers who are concerned about connectivity to different cameras?
James Smith: Plug it in and it just works. That’s not something that you hear very often in the world of VMS, but Wavestore doesn’t rely on device packs to keep people up to date. We run advanced camera libraries as standard in our software which are developed with the future in mind and gives users far better connectivity to a wider range of cameras straight from the box. We were one of the first VMS developers to fully implement ONVIF Profile-S and augment that with deeper integration where required to give access to advanced features from leading camera vendors, such as on-board analytics. Wavestore works with the widest range of camera formats, from commonly used H.264 to proprietary Mobotix MxPEG, and everything in between. IP, Analogue and HD Analogue camera technologies are compatible and can be mixed and matched on-screen at the same time. Wavestore also pioneered the use of 360-degree camera dewarping and our client-side dewarping functionality enables multiple virtual cameras to be displayed from just a single stream from all leading camera vendors, alongside native support for Oncam and Immervision.
How does the installation process vary for different requirements?
James Smith: Whether you are setting up the system, using it day to day, or providing a copy as part of an export, WaveView is the only client software that is required. As we introduce new software versions, deploying these to any number of servers can be done remotely from a central location and usually only requires a soft restart, which is completed in seconds to ensure that critical recordings are not compromised.
And how do you provide updates?
James Smith: We have recently introduced Upgrade Bundles which give our partners the opportunity to keep their systems up to date with the latest features, integrations and performance enhancements as they are introduced, without being tied into expensive annual recurring contracts that are common place in the VMS market. Changing the market norm of a catch-up charge should there be a break in service, Upgrade Bundles can be purchased at any time without the need to back-fill any previously missed upgrades. We regularly deliver new features and benefits as part of our ongoing upgrade program and with Upgrade Bundles can provide partners the flexibility to pick and choose when to upgrade without suffering any financial penalties. We are also strong advocates of providing free technical support to our partners and have a dedicated team of support professionals available to help when required.
What can Wavestore deliver to SMEs?
James Smith: Wavestore delivers a future-proof platform for security that a business wishes to deploy. Be it video only or a mix of video, audio and data from multiple sources, Wavestore can integrate it all and add powerful functionality to the overall solution, such as ‘cause and effect’ event management and the ability to capture detailed metadata from connected devices to drive pro-active alerts and enable powerful post-event search. This functionality is crucial for many vertical markets. In retail, for example, we have users who set pro-active alerts on refunds that are over a certain value so that operators can quickly see pre and post event information to make sure that the transaction was conducted correctly. There’s an infinite list of possibilities with Wavestore and numerous examples of how we’ve helped businesses meet their goals across multiple vertical markets including retail, banking, commercial, oil & gas, stadiums, casinos, transport and healthcare; to name but a few. The future-proof aspect is something that also resonates with many of our users. Innovation in the security market is fast-paced and an important aspect of what we do is the ability to integrate niche analytics and devices onto our platform to fulfil a specific need. Users appreciate that they can talk to us about what they need and then take advantage of the latest technology that will benefit their business immediately. In short, Wavestore helps SMEs protect their investment in security and enabled powerful total security solutions to be deployed with flexibility and innovation at its core.
How does your payment model work?
James Smith: Our VMS is supplied as a single software package available in three distinct levels – Base, Premium and Enterprise. This provides varying feature sets and we have installations that range from a single camera up to many thousands of cameras and connected sub-systems and devices, such as Access Control, Intruder Detection and Intelligent Video Analytics. We operate a ‘buy once, use forever’ channel license model and the software can be upgraded at any time to the next level and new channels can be added quickly and easily either on-site or remotely via the WaveView client that connects to the server over the network or internet. We don’t license cameras to their mac address, so if you want to perform a swap at any time – a full HD camera to a 360-degree camera for example – you can do so without having to contact us. Our VMS is available as either software only, compatible with an ever-expanding number of third-party server hardware devices, or pre-installed on our own range of NVRs or HVRs.
Could you tell us a little bit more about how your market focus expanded from the UK and where you see your target markets?
James Smith: Wavestore won Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2015 for International Trade, as well as a second for Innovation, so sales outside of the UK have always been an important part of our business. As well as being able to cater for the vast majority of projects with our standard product set, we have strong and demonstrable capability of delivering large and complex overseas projects as well, thanks to our ability to deliver to exacting customer requirements that go over and above what other VMS can deliver; recent examples being multiple stadia in South America, refinery protection in the Middle East and Port security in Africa. In January this year we opened up an office in Canada to service the market in North America with a local sales and support team in place to further assist our customers with their projects and we are looking to expand into the Middle East in the same way. We also have a network of distributors and dealers in place, which we continue to actively expand, so our overseas customers enjoy the same great support and experience that our customers in our home market do.