When I first co-wrote Milestone Surveillance Lite and XXV we had a performance problem. My PC was a Celeron 300, and the Axis 200+ was unable to stream more than a couple of frames per second. Analog Matrix systems would run full framerate (25 or 30 fps), show 9 or even 16 cameras at any given time, and have virtually zero lag for joystick control.
As the hardware became more powerful we were able to add more cameras. Few people ran XXV (named after its ability to show 25 cameras) at full capacity, but 25 was more than 16 and more is better. People had the theoretical option to run 25 cameras which was a good selling point. People understood the argument instantly.
Since the jump in cameras on the screen was such a good story, we went on and said why not place 64 cameras on the screen at once. Again, few people ever ran 64, but they had the option. Again 64 is better than 25, and it is such a simple principle to explain.. more = better.
Now we can do hundreds of cameras on the screen at once. No-one can make sense of what is going on, but more is better..
What would happen if we released a software that went back to 16 cameras? Would anyone buy such a system? Since we’ve kept preaching that more is better, then 16 must surely be vastly inferior to a 200 camera layout.
That’s a difficult sales-pitch!
We’ve painted ourselves into a corner. Leading the clients to believe that “more is better”. More features, more cameras, more frames per second and so on.
Which would be true if we had infinite resources.
When a company decides to spend time on A, then they are NOT spending time on B. Adding one more camera driver, might mean that the IP auto-detection function did not get done, spending a lot of time on optimizing the decoding pipeline means NOT spending time on simplifying the UI and so on.
I think people like the idea that they CAN go to 100 cameras, just like the speedometer suggests that I can go to 160 mph if i so desire.
Truth is, we never do, and we really can’t – even if we tried.
The iPhone showed the world that people will trade more for less, if things are done right. The world was awash with phones that had myriads of features. Microsoft laughed at Apple – a phone with no bluetooth, no exchange server support, no cut-and-paste! Microsoft had long followed the strategy that five shitty features had to be better than one good one, and now a newcomer was going to do things totally differently. No chance they would succeed.
Perhaps video surveillance is different.
Why do people REALLY need a 64 camera view? Help me out here!