Argus at a Glance
Powerful VMSArgus is Q-Factor’s new next-generation Video Management System developed for the modern security and surveillance world. Based on today’s true open standards, Argus is a centrally licensed, easy-to-deploy security and safety tool designed to support conventional video management system configurations. Argus is built on ONVIF, an industry standard that most modern cameras and VMS systems have adopted and uses standard software and communication tools. Q- Factor has completed and documented certain features that ONVIF has yet to define and plug-ins for non-ONVIF devices can easily be added in the future. The API is ONVIF-centric, making integrations easier. The Argus VMS leverages centralized licensing, thin- client topology and internal diagnostics that modern-day system managers require. Quick deployment and discovery tools map out system components for connectivity. A focus on true open standards sets the bar high for interoperability among various video system components and avoids the “manufacturer locking” that non-standard-based systems create. It was designed using standard web oriented modern technology tools. Argus is a highly flexible VMS in which customized interfaces allow for the creation of optimized interactive functionality amongst the different layers of users within a system. It includes an internal diagnostics dashboard to report on system health and a Quick Configuration tool to get the system up and running with minimum input from the user.
TopologyArgus can be deployed in different configuration depending on system size and logistical deployment; configurations include standalone system on a single PC, a centralized site running multiple servers or a central site running multiple remote NVRs and cameras. Offered in both a software only configuration or factory certified hardware, the components of a complete Argus VMS are: Application/Web Server: This is the brains of the system, where the database is active, and all system programming is stored. On systems under 150 cameras, this can be used as an all-in-one server, a recording server as well as the application server. Recording Servers: All Recording Servers (NVRs) record and provide video and audio streams; each is capable of handling a specific number of cameras based on its specification. Client Viewing Station: With this thin-client topology, client viewing stations can be on any PC running Microsoft® Internet Explorer 11.
Central LicensingA single license activates all Argus components, including cameras, NVRs and clients. Systems can complete licensing directly from the VMS Configuration system. Software can also be updated directly from a Configuration screen. The software licensing is organized in a tier structure that combines the number of devices and a specific feature set. Both the number of devices and the features must be taken into consideration when making the choice of licensing. The CORE license tier is for up to 35 devices. The PRO and ENTERPRISE license tiers support an unlimited number of devices.
Modular ArchitectureThe Argus system consists of 3 components:
True Standards BasedThe Argus system is ONVIF-centric. Argus is ONVIF Profile G and will work with any camera that is ONVIF Profile S or Q compliant. There are no expensive proprietary camera drivers. Argus is also utilizing open SSL and REST API.
System ConfigurationsArgus can be deployed in different configurations depending on system size and requirements
Windows ServiceArgus is based on a Windows Service that runs in the background. It is completely browser-based and requires a browser that supports Active X (currently IE 11 and Firefox). Apps are available at the Apple and Google stores for mobile devices. An Internet Gateway allows for internal connectivity.
Single Point of ManagementThe entire Argus system is centrally managed from the Application Server. All configuration, including user and user group management, event and alarm handling, and systemwide authorizations, upgrades and licensing are done from one unit.
User InterfaceArgus has a clean and optimized user interface. Easy to use tabs allow access to Configuration and Dashboard as well as the Monitoring screen for display. A versatile choice of display options are provided and multiple views can be created. Playback is simple, using the timeline from the live video display. Video can also be easily exported from the display area. Digital zoom is available directly from live view, as well as from playback. All Resources are displayed on the Monitoring screen and can be viewed according to a hierarchy or by user group. Often used websites can also be accessed directly from the Resources list.
Quick ConfigurationArgus provides a Quick Configuration tool that can get the system up and running with minimal input. This streamlined process allows the VMS to discover and configure all devices on the network with a few mouse clicks. It uses the most commonly used default settings, which can later be fine-tuned as needed.
Central LicensingArgus has centralized licensing; a single license code activates all components. The key to activating the software is determined by the license type selected. There are three tiers of licensing available, based on a combination of number of edge devices and feature set.
System SoftwareThe Argus software is available on the QFactor website. There is no fee for the software. There is a 30-day grace period that the software can be used, full-featured, for the user to determine the license type required for the installation. Functionality will end after 30 days if no license is activated.
System HardwareThe Argus Application/Web Server and Recording Servers (NVRs) can be customer- provided COTS hardware with software installed by the user or purchased preinstalled on Q-Factor certified hardware.
System Health DashboardThe Argus system has a central Dashboard that provides easy to read notifications and warnings on the system functions. It offers this for the Application Server, NVRs and all system edge devices. Additionally, a set of graphs provides ongoing data on camera distribution, bandwidth and recording performance, offering an easy to read look at system behaviour and health to assist in solving conflicts and problems.
Rules and EventsArgus provides simple setup of Rules that trigger responses to a variety of Events. Devices are associated with specific events and can be configured to react as specified. Pre-event recording is provided. An email server can be connected to allow sending mail alerts. A Listener can be configured to alert users to external events, for example from VEF, that occur, and rules can be set to act upon these.
Authorization Roles and UsersRobust security is provided by four Authorization Roles, Administrator, Supervisors, Investigators and Operators, who have different privileges. There are system and resource authorization for each role. New roles can be created as needed.
RecordingBoth video and audio can be recorded and played back. Additionally, audio can be associated and linked to video that is recorded. Recording can be scheduled, and pre-event recording is provided.
ExportVideo clips can be exported and saved to any storage media. The video can be archived in MP4 format. Video clips are authenticated in the Argus player.
Active Directory SupportArgus can connect to an Active Directory server, allowing to operate using the groups and users in Active Directory.
Device ConfigurationResources are configured directly from the VMS. There is a link to the device’s web interface for configuration of certain features, if needed.
MaskingPrivacy Masks can be setup in the VMS when it is necessary to protect sensitive areas of the video from being seen. A VMS based unmask feature is also provided to temporarily remove the mask on the video display. The mask can also be removed on an exported video clip.
Pixel SearchThe Pixel Search feature allows a very fast and accurate scanning the recorded video for changes in a specific region of interest, such as motion in an area or a missing item.
Thumbnail SearchThumbnail Search provides an efficient method of looking for a specific object over a large period of time by searching through a video clip and presenting a picture at certain intervals, allowing a fast-visual comparison between the times. This can be accessed directly from the playback timeline.
Events FrameworkAn add-on to Argus that allows it to integrate external partners’ systems, such as Facial Recognition systems, License Plate Readers, ATMs and many others and bring their event data to the VMS as a video feed that can be viewed as any other resource. Using the Events Framework allows capturing, storing and searching the events database to match the event with a related camera for visual confirmation. This is also included in the Search function when active.
360° Lens DewarpThis capability allows digitally manipulating the full fisheye image of a 360° lens camera and zooming into specific areas on live and recorded video.
Support for H.265 CompressionNow supported by ONVIF, H.265 format offers higher video compression to support lower bandwidth and overall storage requirements.
Network and SecurityProtocols that Argus can work with include IPv4/IPv6, TCP/IP, HTTP, HTTPS, RTSP, RTCP, RTP, DHCP, UDP and ARP. Argus provides HTTP, HTTPS encrypted data transmission, SSL and password protection for security.
Mobile AppA free mobile app, both Apple and Android, is available for smartphones and tablets.
AlarmsWhen Events have been defined and an alarm occurs, a dedicated alarm event tab will open to display the content configured for the alarm. There will also be a visual and audible indication of the alarm, which can be set on/off by the user of configured to time out or require a manual shut off.
Central Software UpgradeA new Argus version can be uploaded to the Application Server and remotely pushed to the NVRs for update, eliminating the need to physically go each NVR in the system.
Backup and Restore System SettingsThe system settings from both the Application Server and the NVRs are backed up on a continuous basis and can be used to recover a failed server, eliminating the need to reconfigure the unit. This applied only to settings and not to recorded video.
Application Server RedundancyA backup server can be added and defined in the Argus System. If the primary Application Server fails, the secondary server can be made active.
Smart AnalyticsIntegrated server-based SmartAnalytics offers real-time analytics, SmartSearch and Business Intelligence Analytics. Rules can be created for people, vehicles and object detection.
NVR FailoverA dedicated NVR can be configured to be a failover NVR and act as a backup to NVRs that fail. Clusters of NVRs and failover NVRs that back them up can be created. This operation is transparent to the user and recording will continue as configured.
Log CollectionA log collection option allows the retrieval of system logs from all Argus PCs without the need for a special tool.
Device ReportsA report button on the devices screen can generate an Excel report of all the devices, sorted by their hosting NVR of as a flat list.
Minimum PC Specifications for COTS ServersQ-Factor offers factory certified, pre-installed Servers and Recording Servers (NVRs) for a competitive price, which saves valuable installation time and reduces the overall system cost, as well as providing one source for technical support.