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What Is a Video Management System? Components of a VMS

June 22, 2023

This article discusses the components and features of a video management system (VMS) and why you might want to implement a VMS as part of your security system.

What Are the Functions of a VMS?

A video management system provides enhanced functionality and integration with other systems to improve overall security.

Implementing a VMS can help streamline operations by consolidating video surveillance footage in a common interface.

What's more, the video analytics possible with a VMS solution provides a perspective on collected video that traditional network video recorder (NVR) based systems cannot match.

Components of a Video Management System

A VMS comprises software that works together with external hardware to provide the desired functionalities of a large or complex video surveillance system. Many types of VMSs are on the market to meet needs ranging from small businesses to enterprise corporations.

VMS Hardware

Hardware components managed by VMS software may include:

Video Management Software

VMS software can be made up of various applications working together to provide a platform from which to monitor and review surveillance video.

video management system software

Functionalities furnished by VMS software include:

  • Storage of video for viewing at a later time
  • Easy search through stored videos captured from multiple systems
  • Control of separate cameras from different manufacturers on a unified interface
  • Video analytics applied to video data
  • Automated alerts and alarms when specific conditions are met, or sensors are triggered
  • Internet connectivity for remote monitoring of surveillance video from anywhere
  • Data and management integration with other security systems, such as those for access control and fire or motion detection

What Are the Benefits of a VMS?

A VMS performs multiple functions, including storage of security footage, connection with an unlimited number of cameras, video analytics, advanced user controls for security footage management, intersystem integration capabilities, and video footage processing from multiple camera models (including analog and digital cameras) produced by different open-source manufacturers, and a unified interface that allows users, such as security guards, to monitor multiple sites simultaneously on a handheld device.

Some VMSs offer users other benefits, including:

  • Integration with other operating system software, such as active directory software that facilitates administrative management of an access control system
  • Proactive alerts that inform users about security system health
  • The ability to address privacy concerns by masking video feeds

Comparing a Video Management System to an NVR

The driving factor in adopting video management systems is their innovative features compared to traditional network video recorders and their ability to handle more cameras in their network.

While a network video recorder may be sufficient to handle input from a handful of cameras, it can quickly be overwhelmed when more than a couple dozen cameras are deployed, especially if those cameras are high resolution.

How to Choose a Video Management System

Once the decision has been made to implement a system incorporating video management software, an organization must select a VMS appropriate to its unique requirements.

Factors to consider when choosing a VMS include product-licensing expenses, video management functionalities, and compatibility with existing cameras.


Security has never been more critical, and having a reliable video surveillance software system in place offers improved protection for businesses and organizations.

In short, if you are looking to up your video surveillance game, you should strongly consider upgrading from a DVR or NVR to a video management system.





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