I’m an engineer, and by nature very literal, so it really tweaks me the wrong way when things are misnamed. Naming something defines it, puts it into context, and gives it a shape and form in reality. And for me, nothing is more of a misnomer in our industry than the term ‘virtual’ matrix.
You’re probably familiar with the analog matrix. A simple concept – 64, 128, or 192 analog cameras in and 4, 16, or 32 monitors out; attach your PTZ joysticks and you’ve got live video and full control of all your PTZ cameras.
The virtual matrix is exponentially better in my opinion. But I just don’t believe you get that impression from its name.
The term ‘virtual,’ by itself, has a less than optimal connotation. On a very basic level, the word ‘virtual’ pretty much means ‘not real.’ In the case of the virtual matrix, this is such a misnomer, it borders on criminal. After all, the virtual matrix does so much more than its analog counterpart. A virtual matrix can display analog cameras and IP and megapixel cameras too. It can display live video and recorded video at the same time. A virtual matrix also lets you leverage your existing network infrastructure, so you can place monitors anywhere there is connectivity to your network, without nearly any of the hassle of a traditional analog matrix. And it requires less real estate and is totally modular.
As someone who has a job that requires me to be technically accurate, it really rubs me the wrong way when a new technology that is clearly superior to its predecessor is given a name that makes it sound less than the technology it is replacing. I know that ‘virtual matrix’ is clearly part of the industry vernacular at this point, but maybe if we all got behind the idea that the term doesn’t really do the technology justice and should be changed, we could come up with something better.
So, the next time someone talks ‘virtual matrix’ with you, ask them if the term ‘digital matrix’ or ’network matrix’ might be a better name – because to paraphrase William Shakespeare, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and could still handle megapixel cameras.
What’s in a name? I’d be interested in hearing what you think about it.