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XProtect Device Groups, What makes them so great

Device Groups in Milestone XProtect are extremely powerful yet few take advantage of their benefits.  Lets discuss what device groups are and what makes them so great.

What are device groups?

Device Groups are shown in the management client in a tree format, in a hierarchy of folders and sub-folders but since you can put a camera into multiple folders I look at Device Groups in XProtect as tags but with a different UI.

Where are device groups used in Milestone XProtect?

1. Roles

You create roles in Milestone XProtect to allow specific users rights to view live and recorded or export video from specific cameras. When configuring roles in management client you can apply those rights to specific devices one at a time or you can apply the permissions to the device group which will apply those permissions to all cameras inside that group.

Example of using device groups in Roles
You manage a campus with multiple buildings and each building has a group of security officers responsible for monitoring the cameras in that building only. You can create a device group for a specific building, call it building A, with all the building A cameras in that group. Then create a role called building A, add the building A officers, and then when applying permissions you can click on your newly made building A device group and quickly allow permissions to those building A officers to only view live video from building A cameras.

Device groups for roles in Milestone XProtect

2. Applying Camera Settings in Bulk

Using device groups you can also push out settings like compression, frame rate, resolution, zip-stream, etc to multiple devices at the same time but there are two caveats.

  • The devices in the group must only contain cameras of the same make and model
  • The devices must have the same resolutions

Example of Device groups for applying settings in bulk
You just imported 30x Axis P3225 cameras into XProtect and they all came in at 640×480 resolution and 8 fps but you need to update them all to 1080p at 10fps. You can create a device group for those new P3225 cameras, select that device group, make your resolution and fps setting changes and save. Those changes will then propagate to all cameras inside that group.

3. Creating views in Milestone XProtect Smart Client

Device groups are not only useful for backend systems management but also for creating camera layouts, views, on the front end. When creating views you need to drag in cameras from the system overview pane into the fixed view layout. Having Device groups created for each role or building location will allow you to quickly find the cameras needed for a specific view. You can even drag the entire device group into the view and populate the entire view with those cameras.

Explore using device groups more extensively on your deployment and see what efficiencies it brings. Let us know how it goes!