Synology DVA3219 review: An ideal CCTV system
A smart surveillance solution with clever video analytics tools
If you want to implement professional video surveillance as an SMB, you could be faced with a big shopping list: you’ll need to acquire a suitable VMS (video management software) product and factor in the cost of a host system, an OS and associated hardware. If that doesn’t sound appealing, however, you could always just cut out the middle men and use Synology’s DVA3219, which offers a complete surveillance platform out of the box.
The DVA3219 takes full advantage of Synology’s Surveillance Station app, which comes as standard on all its appliances. Crucial differences are the DVA3219 includes a pack of eight additional IP camera licenses (to bolster the single license included with Surveillance Station by default), as well as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU card. It’s also the only model that includes Synology’s Deep Video Analytics (DVA).
DVA offers four features that need GPU power to process: people counting, enhanced intrusion detection, no-idle zones and deep motion detection. People counting requires a ceiling mounted IP camera to conduct head counts of people passing underneath while enhanced intrusion detection allows you to draw a perimeter line anywhere in a camera view so anything that crosses it will trigger an event.
No-idle zones trigger events if objects remain in a predefined zone for too long or leave it when they shouldn’t. Deep motion detection tasks monitor selected areas and filter out movements such as rain or swaying trees to stop them constantly triggering alerts.
Synology DVA3219 review: Hardware and deployment
Costing nearly £1,300, the DV3219 looks good value when stacked up against the completion. The Axis S1116 MT surveillance appliance, for example, comes with a single 8TB HDD and 16 camera licenses included but costs nearly £3,000.
The appliance is well built and very quiet, making it suitable for small offices. At the rear, you have four Gigabit, dual USB 3 and two eSATA storage expansion ports but the HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI outputs on the Nvidia card are hidden behind a blanking plate.
Deployment is swift: we fitted three 14TB Seagate IronWolf NAS drives, used Synology’s discovery web portal to install the DSM software and created a RAID5 storage pool from the Storage Manager app. You’ll need to install the Surveillance Station 8.2 app from the Package Center but this is easily done and the camera license pack is automatically applied.
The DVA3219 has extra levels of versatility as it runs the standard DSM software so every Synology app is available. If your surveillance needs are modest, it can also act as a NAS, IP SAN and backup server.
Synology DVA3219 review: Deep Video Analytics
The DVA app is ready and waiting in the Surveillance Station web console and to test people counting, we used a D-Link 2MP dome camera mounted over the lab entrance. It requires a steady mouse hand as you create a detection zone in the DVA task preview screen, shape and position it and then define a head size.
Initially, it would only count people entering the lab but after a few adjustments, we had had it logging all entries and exits and could view graphs of daily, monthly and yearly footfall. A heat-map feature would have increased its value in retail environments; rivals with this capability provide a coloured map overlay showing customer dwelling habits, allowing shops to see how different areas of their store are performing.
For deep motion detection tasks, you’ll need to define up to two polygonal detection zones, each with individual sensitivity settings. Using a D-Link external bullet camera, we deliberately set the zone to include some trees and found that even in windy conditions, their leafy waves didn’t trigger motion detection.
It gets even easier with intrusion detection; just draw a line in the task preview window to denote a digital barrier, and anything crossing it will trigger alerts. Likewise with no-idle tasks: create a zone, choose a dwell time in seconds and decide whether a trigger is activated if something enters or leaves it.
Another useful feature is crowd control where a people counting task can trigger an alert if entries minus exits exceeds a specific number. These all make the appliance very versatile although it’s annoying that Synology limits the number of DVA tasks to four.
Synology DVA3219 review: Standard surveillance features
The DVA3219 supports up to 32 IP camera feeds and apart from DVA, offers all the same surveillance features as those found on other Synology appliances. Recording options are outstanding as you can set selected cameras to record to a daily schedule, when motion detection events have been triggered, or to just record continuously.
If your cameras support multiple video streams, you can apply different recording settings to each one and use the dynamic option to automatically change the recording stream if motion detection as triggered. It’s easy to manage your video vault too. For each camera, you choose which volume to send its recordings to, set the number of days they should be retained for and control the size of their archive.
A good surveillance solution is also measured by its search facilities and the TimeLine app provides a wealth of features so you don’t have to wade through recordings. Choose to view events such as motion detection for a selected camera and its calendar view will highlight those days when they were triggered, with a slider bar alongside for moving to a specific time.
The Smart Search feature in Synology’s Windows desktop client goes further still, allowing you to look for motion, missing or foreign object, no-idle zone and camera tampering events. You can fine-tune searches by drawing a detection zone within the camera view and only look for events that occurred within this space.
Synology DVA3219 review: Verdict
The DVA3219 makes sense if you want the additional deep video analytics features in the Surveillance Station app but if not, you’re better off with one of Synology’s cheaper, non-GPU-equipped model. It is comparatively good value though, so if you want a brainy surveillance solution that can be easily deployed, the DVA3219 is hard to beat.
2.1GHz quad-core Intel Atom C3538
4GB DDR4 (max 32GB)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti PCIe with 4GB GDDR5
4 x SATA LFF/SFF hot-swap bays
RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 6, SHR
4 x Gigabit
3 x USB 3, 2 x eSATA expansion ports
Web browser, Windows desktop client
3 years limited