I have interviewed companies who are actively using video surveillance for their security solution over the last 15 years. I use that timeline because the way video and computer-based technologies have evolved. In my experience, about 90% of companies do not watch their system live or have a person dedicated to managing the system. Most of the system interaction is post-mortem e.g. event & playback review and archive exporting. The other 10% or so of companies supporting an operations environment for live video surveillance are very actively managing their system. In my opinion, these are the primary two classes of users who own security systems. As a result, I classify most security systems including video and access control into managed and or unmanaged.
The process of deciding which system solution to buy is accomplished through the age-old process of education by asking questions to help find the most important answers. Transferring knowledge is the way of helping people make decisions for which system type to purchase, whether they buy my product offering or not, there are some systems that may have an unusual feature that helps that business more than another. For example, cash register interface, or access control integration. I approach the discussion for a system classification first by asking questions of users to whether they fit into one of the two categories. The conversation usually turns quickly to about why a managed or unmanaged system is best for their business.
Is it more difficult to work with a Windows-based system if you are the type of user that only uses the system post event? Probably, at least that is my experience. Is it easier to use embedded based solutions with LINUX OS? In my experience, yes. What are the other pros and cons? Too many to cover in this post, but the short answer typically is found by a needs list to integrate with other primary systems and subsystems. Many times a Windows OS based is comparatively more expensive. Most of the time the MS Windows-based solution has a better integration opportunity or it is already written to a particular subsystem and works out of the box.
In summary, when you don’t want to manage or touch your security systems every day or week because security isn’t your primary business, then an embedded solution may work to your advantage, both from a time and cost basis. When you want the ultimate in integration, system features and much more then go for that Windows environment.