One of the things I look for in surveillance software is how well motion detection works. When monitoring from a NAS, can you choose between motion detection at the camera and having the NAS analyze changes between frames? Can you specify selectable windows for motion and can you adjust sensitivity and noise parameters to filter out exactly what you want to see and what doesn't matter to you? Lastly, what sort of notifications can you receive and how exactly can you store the footage?
It doesn't look like ReadyNAS Surveillance analyzes frames for motion detection on the NAS. I came to this conclusion by the statement "Before setting Motion from Camera, remember to enable the motion detection function in the camera web first." on the ReadyNAS Event & Action Management screen. I also confirmed that no motion detection events would be captured by ReadyNAS Surveillance until motion detection was set at the camera. This isn't necessarily a deal-breaker since some cameras have excellent motion detection and analysis at the NAS is not needed. On the other hand, some cameras have rather poor motion detection.
As for motion detection selectable windows and sensitivity adjustment, I was not able to come to a definite answer during my testing. The two AXIS M1011-W cameras have selectable motion windows and allow for sensitivity and noise adjustment in their motion detection settings. However, I could not definitively tell if applying those settings at the cameras corresponded to the motion detection I got. The ReadyNAS Surveillance software itself does not have selectable windows and sensitivity adjustment, but it may be taking that into consideration from the camera. I simply could not tell.
For notification, there are three options. The first being Output, which allows you to trigger a device (such as a light, speaker, etc) on the camera output connector, if the camera had one. The next option for notification is CMS, which sends notification of the event to the Central Management System.
The last option was email. Email worked well, however it was a rather simple email stating that motion was detected. A great value add here would be to include either a still snapshot or a short video snippet. The most useful motion detection notification out of all the cameras I've tested is the TV-IP572PI.
On any motion events, I received a 5 MB video that I had customized to include a buffer before and after the event. Motion detection notifications are useful, but it's nice to be able to do a quick scan of your email to see if the event warrants pulling up the Playback screen of your surveillance software. Figure 4 below shows the Event & Action Management screen.
Figure 4: Event & Action Management screen of the ReadyNAS Surveillance
Playback and Auditing
The Playback screen within ReadyNAS Surveillance also has some nice functions. A timeline quickly shows periods where events occured and can be customized by date, camera, and type of event. Figure 5 below shows the timeline.
Figure 5: Timeline screen of the ReadyNAS Surveillance
An operator can drill down into particular events and then use a myriad of different features to work with the video. Things such as zooming, image sharpening, incrementally speeding up and slowing down the video, saving the file, printing, exporting a specific snippet, as well as many other functions are available.
The Playback screen also includes an Intelligent Search tool that allows defining regions for motion detection. The different functions of the Playback screen are definitely the most powerful portion of the ReadyNAS Surveillance software. Figure 6 shows the Playback screen.
Figure 6: Playback screen of the ReadyNAS Surveillance
The final thing to mention on the ReadyNAS Surveillance software is the audit logging. Those of us who are asked to provide minute details about any sort of access will love the logging detail. The typical user, IP address, date and time are logged. But also logged are the camera the operator is looking at, whether Playback is being viewed and also the time segment being viewed. Various setting changes are also logged. Figure 7 below shows the Logging detail.
Figure 7: Log entries of the ReadyNAS Surveillance
The playback functions of the ReadyNAS Surveillance software are powerful and a big selling point of this solution. But I was somewhat disappointed with the Motion Detection features, since it doesn't look like there is an option to have the software perform frame analysis. I liked that NETGEAR supports more than just one or two camera vendors, with a list including Axis, Panasonic, Sony, Mobotix and others. However, some NAS manufacturers support even more cameras.
Overall, the ReadyNAS Surveillance software was nice, but it wasn't a shining star that eclipses all other solutions. I'm still looking for the perfect surveillance software that incorporates everything I like from the various solutions that I've looked at. I haven't found it yet in ReadyNAS Surveillance.