Milestone XProtect 101 – Key Components Explained

● Sep 25, 2023

An efficient IP surveillance system is an intricate web of interconnected parts. In this blog, you will gain foundational knowledge about the key systems and components that make up a Milestone XProtect including its network infrastructure, servers, storage, client systems, cameras and hardware.

For enterprises looking into video security management systems, Milestone XProtect offers a comprehensive solution for IP surveillance. Let's delve deeper into the fundamentals of the Milestone XProtect system to understand its capabilities, components, and how it can cater to your security needs.

What is an IP Surveillance System?

At its core, an IP surveillance system captures, records, and retrieves video imagery, audio, and other related data. Its primary aim is to monitor specific areas of interest, investigate any incidents, and export evidence when necessary.

Unlike traditional analog surveillance systems, IP systems offer greater flexibility and scalability. We've noticed that businesses that transition to IP surveillance appreciate the ability to expand their security infrastructure without extensive overhauls. Moreover, the digital nature of IP systems provides clearer imagery, aiding in more accurate incident investigations.

Key Systems and Components

An efficient IP surveillance system is an intricate web of interconnected components. Let’s break down the key elements of Milestone XProtect:

The Role of Network Infrastructure in Milestone XProtect IP Surveillance

Having designed thousands of security systems over the years, we can attest to the critical role of a well-configured network. Even the most advanced cameras can underperform if the underlying network infrastructure isn’t set up correctly. A reliable and secure network is essential for IP surveillance to run smoothly.

IP surveillance systems transmit data using standard Ethernet packets. These packets move through various network devices like switches and routers.

How Servers and Storage Drive Milestone XProtect's Performance

The heart of the system is the server, which runs the Video Management Software (VMS). The number of servers and their specifications largely depend on the design of the system.

Storage is paramount for an IP surveillance system. The XProtect surveillance system necessitates a storage system composed of one or more disks for recorded data.

This storage system could reside within the server or could be supplemented with external storage options like network-attached storage (NAS) or a storage area network (SAN).

Storage decisions should be made with both current and future needs in mind. With advancements in AI and machine learning, video data is no longer just for retrospective analyses. Real-time analytics can offer actionable insights, but they often require faster storage due to data processing needs.

Another important consideration is your video retention policy. Some industries are subject to legal requirements for video retention. Knowing how long you need to store your video will inform your server and storage requirements.

Understanding Client Systems in Milestone XProtect's IP Surveillance

Milestone XProtect operates on a client-server model. While this may be a familiar concept to IT experts, for those newer to video security technology, this basically means that while server components are typically hosted on a dedicated server, the client runs on an operator workstation. It's like having a centralized data storage unit (the server) that can be accessed and managed through individual computers (the client).

The XProtect Smart Client is the primary client for the VMS, tailored for regular use by dedicated operators. This client can function remotely, supporting multiple screens in various viewing modes.

The client-server model provides enhanced security. By segregating the data storage (server-side) from the viewing platform (client-side), risks of unauthorized data tampering are minimized. We recommend regular client-side updates to ensure compatibility and security.

Selecting the Right Cameras and Hardware for Milestone XProtect

At the forefront are IP-enabled devices, which may include video cameras, microphones, sensors, and more. These devices capture and encode information, transmitting it over an IP network.

Milestone XProtect integrates with an expansive range of devices, with compatibility extending to over 30,000 devices from 100+ manufacturers.

Whether you need cameras with superior analytics capabilities or rugged designs for harsh environments, you have options.
One common misconception is that any IP-enabled device is as good as another. However, camera and device selection should be based on specific use cases. For example, for dimly lit areas, cameras with advanced low-light capabilities are crucial. Similarly, businesses with extensive outdoor premises should invest in cameras that are weatherproof and have wide dynamic range capabilities.

Some devices even have smart codec capabilities, which can reduce the network and storage burden on the VMS, making it more efficient and cost-effective overall. Axis Zipstream technology is a great example of this, as it preserves important forensic detail while lowering bandwidth and storage requirements by an average of 50% or more.

Let's dive into a few of these devices:

  • IP Cameras: These are surveillance cameras that connect directly to data networks, transmitting data to the XProtect system. Many come with advanced features like audio capabilities, onboard recording, and video analytics.
  • Input/Output Devices: These devices can trigger various actions in response to specific inputs, enhancing the system's interactivity.
  • Audio Devices: The VMS can supplement video data with sound by integrating audio devices.
  • IP Video Encoders: These devices convert analog video signals into a digital format compatible with the XProtect system.
  • XProtect Screen Recorder: This feature allows for recording computer screen activities, making it an invaluable tool for monitoring digital operations.
  • Video Push: An innovative feature, Video Push lets users stream live video from their mobile device to the XProtect system, enhancing on-the-go surveillance capabilities.

Over the past decade, the evolution in IP surveillance has been remarkable. What stands out is not just the technological leap but also how these systems have become integral to business operations beyond just security. From retail businesses using heat maps for store layouts to factories ensuring worker safety through AI-enabled anomaly detection, the potential applications are limitless.

As experts, we believe that investing in a versatile system like Milestone XProtect provides businesses with a foundation that can adapt to both present and future needs. Its modular design, coupled with its wide range of integrated devices, makes it a versatile and adaptable choice for businesses of all sizes, and across various industries.

If you're looking for a scalable surveillance system with broad integration capabilities, Milestone XProtect is a great option.

Navigating the intricacies of IP surveillance can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone.

With a unique concierge-style approach to support and over 15 years of specialized experience, our team at Continental Computers solves for the big picture. Beyond security, we show you how your video system can help achieve your business goals.

Talk with one of our security experts today.


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