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The Complete Guide On What Makes Rhombus Video Security Different Than Traditional NVR Systems

May 07, 2020

Some form of this question often arises when organizations are looking at Rhombus versus a legacy video security solution - like Avigilon, Genetec, or Milestone. These systems were often developed over a decade ago during the PC era and designed to run on large servers with a lot of internal, RAID configured hard drives. If the idea of managing all of this infrastructure instantly gives you anxiety and cold sweats, then this post is for you.

Cloud Native vs On-Premise

The fundamental difference between traditional VMS (video management system) solutions and Rhombus goes back to the age-old IT debate of being in the cloud vs being on-premise. Like email (Exchange vs Gmail) and storage (SharePoint vs Box), there’s a technological shift happening in the video security industry with organizations and vendors realizing the potential of the cloud. We believe cloud native solutions represent the future due to the many benefits they offer, like being accessible anywhere, integrating with other best-of-breed solutions, and being much more scalable and easier to work with.

We’ll get into more of these differences below, but the key question you need to ask yourself first and above all is:

Do you want your future video security solution to be a cloud solution or do you want it to be on-premise?

Carefully considering and answering this question will entirely shape the solution you end up purchasing.

Benefits of a Cloud First Solution

#1 – Eliminate all of the unnecessary hardware and maintenance that goes with it

Traditional systems require that you purchase NVR’s (network video recorders), hard drives, and of course the cameras. For example, just to support 50 – 100 cameras and 30 days of video, an NVR might cost anywhere from $30K - $50K. This doesn’t even begin to count the costs of licenses and the maintenance associated with keeping everything running. And if that NVR unit ever fails, then it’s a single point of failure for your entire video security solution.

In a previous blog post, we calculated just how much these systems might cost you, and to save you the suspense, it’s not cheap.

Traditional systems are a mish-mash of different vendors. You might buy the NVR from one vendor, and then cameras from 2 or 3 other vendors to piece together an entire system. Yes, they are all designed to be interoperable, but since no one vendor is in charge, it’s hard to ensure timely firmware updates, security patches, and seamless interoperability. Tracking all of these for disparate systems is just one more headache to add to managing your overall busiess.

With Rhombus, you eliminate all of that infrastructure because the only hardware you have to deploy and maintain are our smart cameras. They act like mini-computers doing most of the computer vision analysis on the camera and having all video stored locally on each camera (20 – 90 days of continuous HD video). What this means is that all of the computing that's required is distributed to the cameras so the only piece of infrastructure you need to maintain - is just the camera. As you can imagine, that’s a lot less infrastructure you need to worry about!

Since all of the key components of Rhombus are designed and built by us, we take care of all of the firmware updates, security patches, and more. It’s all done automatically (so you never to worry about it) and is a fundamental part of our service. If the cameras ever have connection issues, we can easily debug those issues because we can debug the whole system end-to-end – from the camera firmware to the servers in the cloud. This delivers a customer experience that is quick, easy, and efficient.

To learn more, check out how we helped California Family Fitness and Colony Hardware move from traditional NVR’s to Rhombus.

#2 – Rhombus is designed to be used by anyone in the organization

Traditional systems were designed and built for someone that looked at security camera screens for a living. They are often difficult to use, highly technical, and designed to work best on dated Windows PC’s. Rhombus was designed with the idea that anyone in an organization can use the product. It’s approachable and easy-to-use interface is meant for anyone to understand with little to no training at all.

For example, to share a piece of video takes just a few clicks. With a traditional system, this would take a lot of searching through video, then downloading it to a computer, and then figuring out how to share that video.

Since it’s all cloud based, it works from any modern web browser or mobile device meaning that it’s not limited to just certain operating systems. This also means you don’t have to worry about rolling out software updates. Again, just more headaches eliminated.

#3 – Rhombus is infinitely scalable and can be managed anywhere

Traditional systems are often siloed systems meaning each one has to be managed separately. If you have 10 locations, you must log into each one separately and manage them separately. That's a lot of extra overhead if you have lots of locations.

With Rhombus, all of your locations and cameras are managed from the same console. Whether you have 5 locations or 1000 locations, our software is built to manage as many cameras as you have wherever they are. And every time you add a new camera, it’s as simple as registering it into your account. You don’t have to worry about scaling your storage or NVR’s.

Rhombus is also designed to accommodate an unlimited number of users. With role-based permissions, you can assign groups of users certain permissions in the system and give them access to only specific cameras.

#4 – Rhombus is designed to work with other cloud services

Being a cloud service, Rhombus is designed work with your favorite cloud services so that you get the most out of our product and all of your others. It’s something we believe in strongly as we continually add new cloud integrations like our recent ones with access control companies Openpath and Kisi.

If you want to do a custom integration, then we also have open Open API's giving you access to almost all of the data within your account. Feel free to build an amazing application on top of our system to custom suit your needs and unique use cases.

#5 – Rhombus is the only IoT sensor platform

At Rhombus, we are incredibly unique because we are building the only IoT sensor platform out there. Our sensors (currently an environmental sensor, door/contact sensor, and asset tracker) seamlessly pair with our cameras giving you unparalleled visibility into your physical spaces and the valuable items within them.

The Rhombus platform will only grow over time ensuring that you receive the most advanced security solution in the world.

#6 – Rhombus costs a fraction of what NVR systems cost

Everything we’ve described above is usually a fraction of the cost of traditional NVR systems.That’s mainly due to the low hardware investment that’s needed to setup a solution like Rhombus.

Furthermore, we strive to be incredibly simple and transparent with our pricing as we know traditional systems often require an advanced degree in Excel to figure out how different configurations will impact the total cost of the system.

#7 – Rhombus is built to support companies embracing innovative technology as a differentiator

If your company values technology and you are trying to use it as a differentiator, then Rhombus is here to support you. It's most likely that we're already propelling companies and organizations similar to yours. We believe technology and service are incredible differentiators for every business, so we work relentlessly to give our customers the latest advancements to help elevate their businesses to new levels.


While there are pros and cons to every solution, it's up to you to determine what solution will work best for your organization. We hope you found this guide informative. If you would like to see how Rhombus compares to the solution you're currently evaluating, please reach out to

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