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Milestone replace Basis+ with XProtect Essential

Milestone IP camera surveillance and recording softwareMilestone have just replaced their popular XProtect Basis+ surveillance software with XProtect Essential. Essential is an entry level application aimed at the small business market with the option of monitoring and recording of up to 26 cameras.

Similarly to Basis+, Essential is compatible with over 800 IP camera and video server models and is a powerful surveillance tool for any security network. The new software has been streamlined and is easier to configure and use than its predecessor.

XProtect Essential has some very interesting improvements over the older application, making it much more enticing to security installers and end users.

Change to Licensing structure

Previously, Basis+ was released in fixed camera numbers of 4, 6, 9, 16 or 25 cameras. This meant that if a 2-camera system was required, a 4-camera license had to be purchased wasting 2 licenses and increased system costs.

The new structure is similar to the more advanced products in the Milestone range, such as XProtect Professional or Enterprise. Instead of a fixed number of cameras, the system is licensed on a server and camera basis. A base license is required for all installations, which also allows two IP cameras or video server channels to be added to the system.

Should more cameras be required, licenses can be purchased on a per-camera basis. This means that there are no wasted licenses, keeping costs low, and that the system is scalable, with the option to add licenses as the surveillance system grows.

Maximum number of cameras

In addition to the licensing changes, the maximum number of cameras has been increased from 25 to 26. This may be a small increase, but will mean that more cameras can be added to the system before there is a need to upgrade to a higher XProtect version.

Easier Configuration

XProtect Essential provides new software tools designed to make installation quicker and easier. The system is configured from a centralised application and features a setup wizard designed to assist novice users.

The bulk camera configuration tool lets users make configuration changes to multiple cameras simultaneously, making configuration very quick for large camera systems. An automated discovery tool also performs UPnP, broadcast and IP range scans to search for compatible cameras before integrating them automatically. Alternatively, the settings import/export feature can export system settings into a file which can then be uploaded into another installation, providing the option of system pre-configuration or backup in case of a complete system loss.

As a result, XProtect Essential is much simpler and easier to configure than its predecessor which in turn will save time and money on installation costs.

Remote Access

Both Basis+ and Essential are client/server applications. A centralised server controls recording from each of the camera sources as well as any event detection or camera control. When a user wants to monitor live video or review recordings, client applications communicate with the recording server and pull video from it. This setup means that users can be anywhere in the world and still access the system as if they were connected locally.

The Basis+ system limited the number of clients who could connect simultaneously to a single connection, limiting the usability drastically. For example, if a security guard was monitoring live video, another user could not simultaneously review recordings.

This limitation has been lifted for XProtect Essential, which allows up to 5 remote users to connect simultaneously, increasing system functionality.

Unlimited Recording

With Basis+, footage was recorded from each camera into the daily archive. Once per day, this archive was copied to the long term archive for storage until it is no longer needed. However, the size of this archive was limited to 40Gb per camera. This is ample for VGA resolution cameras at low image rates, but can cause problems for megapixel resolution cameras at high frame rates.

Although the limitation for this archive is still present, XProtect Essential will now copy the archive multiple times during the day. As a result, higher resolution cameras can be used without the risk of running out of archive space.

Sequence Explorer

A new addition to XProtect Essential, when searching through archives trying to locate a specific event, rather than having to review every recording separately, a thumbnail video is provided to quickly show the footage captured. As a result, events can be traced much more quickly than before.

XProtect Transact

Milestone XProtect Transact is a program which lets milestone surveillance systems integrate with Point-of-Sale and ATM systems. The XProtect system can then trigger events based on inputs from these systems, such as movement to a particular angle or recording of video.

XProtect Essential is fully compatible with Transact, expanding system functionality and making the system ideal for use in the retail sector.

More cost effective

With a base license cost of £59 and camera license cost of £29, a standard four-camera installation is also cheaper to implement than the older Basis+ software, providing much better value for money. The altered licensing, as mentioned above, also means that licenses are only required for the cameras installed, so the software can be tailored around the surveillance system, not the other way around.

XProtect Essential shows Milestone’s commitment to make surveillance software much more accessible to novice users while still adding powerful features to make surveillance networks more effective. For more information visit our XProtect Essential Base License and XProtect Essential Camera License pages.

Published on June 30th, 2010 by James Drinkwater

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