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Tutorial

Get Connected

Now that you have MilestonePSTools installed, it's time to login and start using it. If you haven't installed it yet, take a look at the detailed Installation page first.

To login to your Milestone XProtect Management Server, you will need to use Connect-ManagementServer. For interactive use, my favorite method is to use the -ShowDialog switch parameter. Using this parameter will pop-up a familiar login dialog with support for all available user types.

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Connect-ManagementServer -ShowDialog -AcceptEula

Screenshot of the Connect-ManagementServer command with a login dialog

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Connect-ManagementServer -ServerAddress http://americasdemo -Credential (Get-Credential)

Screenshot of a PowerShell terminal showing the use of the Connect-ManagementServer command with a Windows user

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Connect-ManagementServer -ServerAddress http://americasdemo -Credential (Get-Credential) -BasicUser

Screenshot of a PowerShell terminal showing the use of the Connect-ManagementServer command with the BasicUser parameter

Note

The -AcceptEula switch is required only the first time your Windows user calls Connect-ManagementServer. After that, a flag is set in %appdata%\MilestonePSTools.

Generate a camera report

Now that you're logged in, one of the most useful features of MilestonePSTools is the built-in command, Get-VmsCameraReport. This command will return a collection of rows representing configuration and status for each camera. You can combine this command with Export-Csv which is included with PowerShell and makes it easy to send a collection of data to a CSV file. In the first example, we're "piping" the results to the Out-GridView cmdlet with the "|" symbol so that we can interact with the results in a user interface without the need to have Excel installed. See the "Export to CSV" tab for an example of how to use the built-in PowerShell cmdlet Export-Csv to quickly generate a CSV file.

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# Generates a camera report with optional information. This can make the
# report take longer to generate, but the data is incredibly useful.

Get-VmsCameraReport -IncludeRetentionInfo -IncludeRecordingStats | Out-GridView
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# The -NoTypeInformation parameter prevents PowerShell from adding a header
# to the CSV file that you may not need.

Get-VmsCameraReport | Export-Csv '~\Desktop\report.csv' -NoTypeInformation

Screenshot of the Get-VmsCameraReport results in a grid view

Exploring the results

The table below is the actual output of the first command above, with the retention information and recording statistics for the last week included.

Name Channel Enabled State LastModified Id IsStarted IsMotionDetected IsRecording IsInOverflow IsInDbRepair ErrorWritingGOP ErrorNotLicensed ErrorNoConnection StatusTime GpsCoordinates HardwareName HardwareId Model Address Username Password HTTPSEnabled MAC Firmware DriverFamily Driver DriverNumber DriverVersion DriverRevision RecorderName RecorderUri RecorderId LiveStream LiveStreamDescription LiveStreamMode ConfiguredLiveResolution ConfiguredLiveCodec ConfiguredLiveFPS CurrentLiveResolution CurrentLiveCodec CurrentLiveFPS CurrentLiveBitrate RecordedStream RecordedStreamDescription RecordedStreamMode ConfiguredRecordedResolution ConfiguredRecordedCodec ConfiguredRecordedFPS CurrentRecordedResolution CurrentRecordedCodec CurrentRecordedFPS CurrentRecordedBitrate RecordingEnabled RecordKeyframesOnly RecordOnRelatedDevices PrebufferEnabled PrebufferSeconds PrebufferInMemory RecordingStorageName RecordingPath ExpectedRetentionDays PercentRecordedOneWeek MediaDatabaseBegin MediaDatabaseEnd UsedSpaceInGB ActualRetentionDays MeetsRetentionPolicy MotionEnabled MotionKeyframesOnly MotionProcessTime MotionManualSensitivityEnabled MotionManualSensitivity MotionMetadataEnabled MotionExcludeRegions MotionHardwareAccelerationMode PrivacyMaskEnabled
Learning & Performance (Bosch 7000VR) 0 TRUE Responding 10/11/2021 20:11 004962D3-B129-4099-8C6E-0F8BFF8385B0 TRUE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE 10/23/2021 18:02 45.417055572316, -122.732103059925 Learning & Performance (192.168.32.7) B7E7FF77-C8A7-4B23-9B69-F1E70EBDFC80 FLEXIDOME IP starlight 7000 VR http://192.168.32.7/ service NotIncluded FALSE 00075F9BFCB4 760 Bosch Bosch 1-channel device 676 DevicePack: 11.7a, Device Pack, Build: 11.7a.34 1.77 Milestone Demo http://35.162.125.60:7563/ 72080191-D39D-4229-B151-65BCD740C393 Video stream 1 Video stream 1 WhenNeeded MP 720p 50/60 12 1088x1920 MPEG 15 1.7 Video stream 1 Video stream 1 WhenNeeded MP 720p 50/60 12 1088x1920 MPEG 15 1.7 TRUE FALSE TRUE TRUE 3 TRUE Local default D:\MediaDatabase\DEF84B4A-1E7A-4F99-AC5F-671AE76D520B 30 1.8 9/23/2021 17:13 10/22/2021 22:54 25.3 29.23651263 FALSE TRUE TRUE Ms500 FALSE 100 TRUE FALSE Automatic FALSE
FLIR Systems FLIR A400 (192.168.32.23) - Camera 2 1 TRUE Responding 10/11/2021 20:11 548CFB0F-6602-4563-991F-F11322CE3E54 TRUE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE 10/23/2021 18:02 Unknown FLIR Systems FLIR A400 (192.168.32.23) BC801DAE-552D-4F81-AD2D-6B5B6322E25D FLIR Systems FLIR A400 http://192.168.32.23/ fliruser NotIncluded FALSE 00407F109EAE 2.23.28 ONVIF ONVIF Conformant Device (2-16 channels) 407 DevicePack: 11.7a, Device Pack, Build: 11.7a.34 1.91 Milestone Demo http://35.162.125.60:7563/ 72080191-D39D-4229-B151-65BCD740C393 Video stream 01 Video stream 1 WhenNeeded 1280x960 H.264 Baseline Profile 30 1280x960 MPEG 9 0.9 Video stream 01 Video stream 1 WhenNeeded 1280x960 H.264 Baseline Profile 30 1280x960 MPEG 9 0.9 TRUE FALSE TRUE TRUE 3 TRUE Local default D:\MediaDatabase\DEF84B4A-1E7A-4F99-AC5F-671AE76D520B 30 0.2 9/23/2021 19:35 10/23/2021 16:07 0.77 29.85565765 FALSE TRUE TRUE Ms500 FALSE 100 TRUE FALSE Automatic FALSE
FLIR Systems FLIR A400 (192.168.32.23) - Camera 1 0 TRUE Responding 10/11/2021 20:11 AC3098DE-C381-4B98-B6AE-532521D28438 TRUE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE 10/23/2021 18:02 Unknown FLIR Systems FLIR A400 (192.168.32.23) BC801DAE-552D-4F81-AD2D-6B5B6322E25D FLIR Systems FLIR A400 http://192.168.32.23/ fliruser NotIncluded FALSE 00407F109EAE 2.23.28 ONVIF ONVIF Conformant Device (2-16 channels) 407 DevicePack: 11.7a, Device Pack, Build: 11.7a.34 1.91 Milestone Demo http://35.162.125.60:7563/ 72080191-D39D-4229-B151-65BCD740C393 Video stream 01 Video stream 1 WhenNeeded 640x480 H.264 Baseline Profile 30 640x480 MPEG 29 2.8 Video stream 01 Video stream 1 WhenNeeded 640x480 H.264 Baseline Profile 30 640x480 MPEG 29 2.8 TRUE FALSE TRUE TRUE 3 TRUE Local default D:\MediaDatabase\DEF84B4A-1E7A-4F99-AC5F-671AE76D520B 30 0 9/24/2021 15:24 10/21/2021 16:41 0.61 27.0532151 FALSE TRUE TRUE Ms500 FALSE 100 TRUE FALSE Automatic FALSE
Right Elevator (AXIS P3227-LV) 0 TRUE Responding 10/15/2021 11:34 8CD5B5B9-8ABB-4702-99C0-018F82FB8B13 TRUE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE 10/23/2021 18:02 45.4171310677097, -122.7320429689 Right Elevator (192.168.32.30) C1C9D1A9-0763-430B-917C-F6DB27F2F453 AXIS P3227-LV Network Camera http://192.168.32.30/ root NotIncluded FALSE ACCC8EBD4F89 10.2.0 AXIS AXIS 8 channel device 713 DevicePack: 11.7a, Device Pack, Build: 11.6a.23024761 1.62 Milestone Demo http://35.162.125.60:7563/ 72080191-D39D-4229-B151-65BCD740C393 Video stream 1 Video stream 1 WhenNeeded 1920x1080 H.264 15 1920x1080 MPEG 15 0.1 Video stream 1 Video stream 1 WhenNeeded 1920x1080 H.264 15 1920x1080 MPEG 15 0.1 TRUE FALSE TRUE TRUE 3 TRUE Local default D:\MediaDatabase\DEF84B4A-1E7A-4F99-AC5F-671AE76D520B 30 2.1 9/23/2021 17:33 10/22/2021 23:29 3.52 29.24743492 FALSE TRUE TRUE Ms500 FALSE 100 TRUE FALSE Automatic FALSE

As you can see, the output from Get-VmsCameraReport is extensive! You'll find information about the state of the camera, including a generic Responding, Stopped, or Not Responding state, as reported by the Event Server. You will also find detailed state information directly from the Recording Server, assuming your PowerShell session was able to connect to the Recording Server(s) on port 7563 (default).

In addition to state information, you'll find configuration details such as the motion detection settings, recording settings and path, device make, model and firmware, expected and actual resolution, current bitrate and FPS and more!

In this sample, we've included additional information in the report by adding the -IncludeRetentionInfo and -IncludeRecordingStats switches. The former will result in a query for the first and last recorded sequences for all cameras in the report. The latter will retrieve the previous 7 days worth of recording sequences to work out what percentage of time was recorded.

Save and share

The output of Get-VmsCameraReport is a collection of [pscustomobject]'s. If you want to save these to a file, the easiest method is to use Export-Csv which is a command that is included in PowerShell. There are 3rd party PowerShell modules like ImportExcel for saving data to Excel, and even reading Excel documents nearly as easy as using the built-in Export-Csv command.

Automating tasks

With the full power of the MIP SDK at your fingertips, the next step is to start automating regular tasks you might be spending a lot of time on. For example, some VMS administrators are required to verify video retention expectations are being met on a regular basis. Checking one camera at a time by hand is very time consuming. One way to automate this task could be to run Get-VmsCameraReport on a regular basis with the -IncludeRetentionInfo switch, and then check the MediaDatabaseBegin column for the UTC timestamp of the oldest recorded image for each camera, or simply use the ActualRetentionDays column.

One way to automate this task is to use a PowerShell "scheduled job". These are fancy Scheduled Tasks which are easy to manage from PowerShell, and can run any PowerShell .PS1 script, or a "script block" on just about any interval or trigger.

Example

The example below will register a scheduled job and schedule it to run weekly on Mondays at midnight. To minimize complexity here, the scheduled job is based on a scriptblock ($script) which takes no parameters. The reports will be saved in C:\Reports, along with a transaction log file for troubleshooting. The job should be registered on the Management Server, but if you want to change the script to login to a remote Management Server instead, you can make changes to the script to suit your needs.

Register-ScheduledJob.ps1
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#Requires -RunAsAdministrator

# This is the scriptblock our scheduled job will be running. If you want to
# change what the script does, this is where you should start.
$script = {
    try {
        if (-not (Test-Path C:\reports)) {
            # Create our C:\Reports directory if it doesn't exist already
            $null = New-Item -Path C:\Reports -ItemType Directory
        }
        # This command generates a log file of all output from the script
        Start-Transcript -Path C:\Reports\log.txt

        Write-Host "Connecting to localhost. . ."
        Connect-ManagementServer -AcceptEula -ErrorAction Stop
        Write-Host "Connected to $((Get-Site).Name)"

        Write-Host "Running Get-VmsCameraReport. . ."
        $reportOptions = @{
            IncludeRetentionInfo = $true
            IncludeRecordingStats = $true
        }
        $report = Get-VmsCameraReport @reportOptions
        Write-Host "Report completed"

        Write-Host "Saving $($report.Count) rows to $($path)"
        $dateString = (Get-Date).ToString('yyyy-MM-dd')
        $fileName = 'CameraReport_{0}.csv' -f $dateString
        $path = Join-Path C:\reports $fileName
        $report | Export-Csv -Path $path -NoTypeInformation
    }
    finally {
        Write-Host "Logging out. . ."
        Disconnect-ManagementServer
        Stop-Transcript
    }
}

# Our job trigger here will be based on a schedule: weekly, every 1 week on
# Monday, at midnight.
$jobTriggerParams = @{
    Weekly = $true
    WeeksInterval = 1
    DaysOfWeek = 'Monday'
    At = (Get-Date).Date
}
$trigger = New-JobTrigger @jobTriggerParams

<#
    Finally we can combine our script block and trigger to register a scheduled
    job. Our script is written to login to the Management Server at "localhost"
    using the current windows user, which means we MUST provide the user
    credentials of the user under which the scheduled job will run. Otherwise
    the script will not be able to authenticate with any network resource like
    the Management Server.

    You could also change the Connect-ManagementServer line in the script block
    to use a different ServerAddress and Credential if you want to.

    To avoid really long lines of PowerShell, we're using a strategy here
    called "splatting". First, we create a hashtable variable, $jobParams, with
    the name and value for all of the parameters on Register-ScheduledJob that
    we want to use. Then instead of specifying all these parameters on one line
    we can reference the $jobParams variable using "@" instead of "$" as you
    can see when we use Register-ScheduledJob below.
#>
$jobParams = @{
    Name = 'Run Get-VmsCameraReport'
    ScriptBlock = $script
    Trigger = $trigger
    Credential = Get-Credential
}
Get-ScheduledJob -Name $jobParams.Name -ErrorAction Ignore | Unregister-ScheduledJob
$job = Register-ScheduledJob @jobParams

# Just to make sure the report works, we'll run it right away
$job.Run() | Receive-Job -Wait -AutoRemoveJob