Archive for the ‘Company Blog’ Category

Build the Future with Hybrid Workplace Technology

Home office worker on a video conference call

No matter how you look at it, creating memorable experiences for employees and customers is table stakes for success, growth, and staying competitive. As your business plans for the future, robust hybrid workplace technologies will be critical in reconnecting with the people most important to you.

To ease your transition to a modern hybrid workforce, we’ll dive into: 

  • What a hybrid workplace is 
  • Types of technologies to consider
  • Examples of hybrid work models
  • How Meraki can support your technology needs

Let’s do this. 

What is hybrid work?

First things first—hybrid simply means the mixture of two different things, whether that’s hybrid cars (electric motor + gas engine) or even ligers (tigers x lions). 

A hybrid workplace is where a mixture of remote workers and in-person workers meet. It mainly comes down to flexibility on where, when, and how your employees work. 

At Cisco Meraki, we’re transitioning permanently to a hybrid workforce: some remote workers, some in-office workers, others who split their time between the office and home—all of us connected by technology to work from anywhere. 

As digital and physical experiences converge, with great flexibility comes great responsibility. Looking after people’s well-being and health while preserving a location-agnostic company are additional dimensions that, with the right technology, can help you fuel people’s happiness. 

This opens up exciting opportunities to create flexible hybrid workplace experiences with innovative technology underpinning your transformation. 

Types of hybrid workplace technologies

Which types of hybrid workplace technologies need to be considered to foster collaboration, communication, and engagement? 

Below are seven hybrid workplace technology categories we recommend: 

1. Security: Strong cybersecurity, privacy, and trust practices that cut across all workplace technologies are an imperative to protect your business and people from online threats and risks, wherever they work. With small businesses being affected by 62% of cyberattacks that cost $1.2M on average, a lack of online defense systems can lead to devastating losses that stifle growth. 

Examples: firewalls, endpoint and VPN security, password security, and email security

2. Collaboration: Customer innovation happens best when teams are in sync and able to connect freely. Team collaboration tools can cover a wide range of needs, from online whiteboarding to real-time document collaboration. Look for solutions that let you simplify and digitalize your tools and work for everyone. 

Examples: document sharing (Google Docs, Microsoft Office Online), file sharing (Dropbox), project management (Asana, Trello), and virtual whiteboarding (Webex)

3. Communication: In an environment where work from anywhere happens, video communication is integral to engagement. To level communication fields across in-office and work-from-home, look for video conferencing tools that best mirror in-person experiences. Additional tools to streamline operations include instant messaging and email. 

Examples: Webex and Webex Teams

4. Safety: Physical security is key for protecting staff and customers on-site. To provide safe experiences for everyone, tools such as security cameras and sensors can help you monitor the environment, maintain health compliance, and get new AI/ML insights on your surroundings. 

Examples: security cameras and environmental sensors  

5. Smart offices: Creating innovative and efficient offices of tomorrow starts with smart workplace technology. Opt for tools that leverage IoT and analytics to enable unique use cases tailored to the people you serve. The possibilities are endless: space management tools, facial and voice recognition systems, smart energy solutions, and more.

Examples: smart security, face mask detection, hot-desking, and smart cleaning 

6. Customer engagement: For the bread and butter of your business, there’s a wide open canvas to redefine customer excellence with smart workplace technologies. Invest in IoT solutions that offer flexibility, automation, and insight with motion detection, Bluetooth?, infrared, and more to help you improve customer experiences. 

Examples: contactless guest check-in, counterless payments, and in-store virtual assistance

7. People analytics: With so many different workplace technologies and tools, there’s plenty of insight you can use for the betterment of your employees’ well-being and productivity, and for increasing customer retention and loyalty. Take action by gleaning data from preferred employee collaboration tools to how people move around your physical spaces.  

Examples: video analytics, safe occupancy, optimized product displays, and branded Wi-Fi pages

The hybrid workplace model

As each company’s needs and the needs of their individual staff vary, there’s no single hybrid workplace model that works for every small business. 

Let’s look at three common structures for a hybrid work model:  

1. Remote-centric hybrid: A remote-centric model is where employees mainly work remotely, but some teams may be required to be fully or partially in-office. It tends to model a fully remote company by digitalizing communication and collaboration tools to accommodate employees in varying time zones. 

2. Hybrid remote office: A remote office hybrid workplace model is one where employees have flexibility to choose the days they want to be in the office. Having some guidelines can create more predictability for team members to be in-office on the same days to enhance collaboration. 

For example, RRMM Architects, a leading architecture firm in Virginia with 125+ employees, has been experimenting with a hybrid work model where people alternate being in the office different days of the week: 

  • Group A: in-office Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • Group B: in-office Tuesday and Thursday 

Group A and Group B then flip their in-office days the next week, allowing for more flexibility.

3. Office-centric hybrid: An office-centric hybrid work model is one where employees primarily work from the office, but there may be some flexibility to work remotely a few days each week. The technologies, tools, and processes will slant more toward in-office work vs. accommodating remote workers. 

Implementing the right technology to support any type of hybrid work can provide unrivaled, consistent experiences, making it easier for you to reconnect with the people who matter most.

How Meraki can help

As you think about your hybrid work technology needs, let’s look at a small-office example powered by Meraki. We’ll follow two employees on a Monday: 

Mike: IT admin, in-office 

Kate: Sales Director, at home

  • 8:00 am: Kate connects to a work VPN from her home teleworker gateway device to access company tools for a weekly team Webex call. She authenticates her log in via her mobile device using their mobile device management solution. 
  • 8:45 am: Mike enters the office, passing by the MV smart cameras which detect people and vehicles, and can anonymously count people to help ensure safe occupancy. 
  • 9:00 am: Mike checks the Meraki dashboard for security alerts of unusual activity over the weekend from their MX security and SD-WAN devices. 
  • 12:00 pm: Kate hits error messages when trying to send email or connect to VPN. She posts urgently in the Webex IT channel as she has a 1:00 pm client call. Mike triages from the Meraki dashboard. Turns out, Kate just needed to update the VPN authentication settings with her new password. 
  • 4:00 pm: Booya! Mike officially launches their MV camera integration with PlaceOS. It’ll keep employees like Kate and visitors safer, and save his team time by automating workflows—from wayfinding to desk booking to smart cleaning. 

That’s just a glimpse of the power our cloud-first networking technologies provide as you build a foundation of tools to reconnect and thrive. 

Download our Small Business Reconnecting Guide for more ideas on how Meraki technologies can help strengthen your current and future employee and customer relationships. 

Choose Your Meraki Adventure at DevNet Create

Do you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure book series? In each story, you were allowed to make choices to decide what the main character did next, and ultimately, you got to choose the outcome of the story. 

While I celebrated the entire book collection in the cherished ‘80s, my favorite was The Mystery of Chimney Rock. No matter which story angle I picked, I was inevitably attacked by a giant black cat at the end.

Not all stories have to come to this kind of ending when you “choose your own Meraki adventure” at DevNet Create.

What is DevNet Create?

Now in its fifth year, Cisco DevNet Create is a free, virtual opportunity to learn from your community peers on a wide range of topics, including cloud infrastructure, AI/ML, software development, and much more. 

What’s even better are the opportunities to learn and engage with Cisco Meraki at the event, diving deep into APIs alongside practical applications with modern web architecture and Meraki guest Wi-Fi technologies with partners.

The event hosts a wide range of content and ways to learn, from hands-on workshops to tech sessions, lightning talks, and three-minute demo jams. 

Why attend?

You can truly choose your own adventure by selecting the sessions that fit your current needs. This could be the new project you’re working on or to get help solving a vexing challenge. The Meraki-focused sessions can help guide your ideas and give you tools and methodologies that will make your projects successful.

Which Meraki adventures can I choose?

Sign up today and pack your agenda with these eight Meraki-powered sessions. Engage with the presenters and share your ideas while learning and networking as you go along:

  1. “Batch All the Things! Using Action Batches in the Meraki Dashboard API” (tech session) with John Kuchta, Cisco Meraki.
  2. “Me-Rockin’ the Meraki Dashboard API” (tech session) with Jason Davis, Cisco DevNet.
  3. “How Many APIs can Fit Into one Lightning Talk?” (lightning talk) with Bradford Ingersoll, Cisco.
  4. “Meraki MV APIs + AWS Rekognition = Powerful Image Analytics!” (lightning talk) with Alex Manuelian, Cisco.
  5. “Serverless Meets Meraki! Stop Your Building Sinking with Modern Web Applications” (tech session) with Charles Greenaway, BT.
  6. “Hey Google, Switch on my Meraki Guest Wi-Fi!”? (tech session) with Andrey Salnikov, Nexivity.
  7. “Meraki Camera for COVID-Safe Workplace” (tech session) with Remon Gaber, Kytec.
  8. “Months to Minutes, Be Afraid of the Python” (tech session) with Steve Rattacasa, Katalyst.

Sign up today and I promise, there won’t be a scary black cat at the end of these Meraki adventures.

Use Data to Define Your Network with Meraki Health

Lately when talking to customers, I’m hearing a dominant theme emerge. IT teams are continually pushed by the business to do new things in new ways, to deliver new experiences for employees and customers. But for even the most sophisticated teams, they feel like they’re flying blind. 

Sound familiar? Even when teams have the capacity, the know-how, and the full support of their organizations, these networking all-stars are operating with some serious blind spots. They don’t have enough context to properly diagnose and remediate issues, and when it comes to planning for future improvements, there’s no clear road map or data to guide them. The path forward might as well say, “here be dragons.” 

At Cisco Meraki, we see an opportunity to remove these blinders and build more intelligent, data-defined networks that give CIOs the power to quickly adapt to change, rapidly accelerate growth, and effectively plan for the future. We’re transforming the data we capture from over 23 billion weekly interactions across the Meraki platform into meaningful context and trusted recommendations for our customers. 

Today, I’m excited to introduce three new AI- and data-powered Meraki Health capabilities that will help our customers proactively troubleshoot their networks, automate end-to-end network operations, and start using hard data to plan for the future of their architectures. These powerful new tools are available in beta today.

Exclusive partnership with Apple

Through an exclusive partnership between Cisco and Apple, Meraki networks can now use unique device-level details to identify connection problems, quantify the impact, and highlight the root cause, all to keep hybrid workplaces running smoothly. This level of detail provides unmatched visibility into the full timeline of connectivity issues and helps pinpoint device-specific challenges quickly and easily. 

Automated root cause analysis

Combining deep insight into issues impacting your network with rich context about how those issues are affecting performance, the new Meraki root cause analysis augments our existing Smart Thresholds to help admins identify, remediate, and prevent network issues at scale. Within the timeline view of the Meraki dashboard, you’ll see detailed impact, evidence, and recommended actions to address everything from sticky client and coverage hole identification to specific performance gaps in SaaS web applications.

Recommendations based on networks like yours 

Finally, we’re giving network architects objective, data-driven recommendations for ways to improve performance and capacity based on observations derived from over 3.4M unique networks on the Meraki platform. From Wi-Fi 6 readiness to specific broadcast optimizations, these recommendations have the potential to help customers reduce latency by 40% or more.

Current Meraki customers can access the Meraki Health beta today by contacting your account teams. Looking to get started building your own data-driven network? Sign up for a demo of the Meraki platform or register for the upcoming Meraki Quarterly.

Complexity, Connectivity, and Capacity: Putting Network Data to Work

Over the next decade, the complexity and load placed upon enterprise networks will rapidly outpace our ability to manage them effectively. This will constrain business growth, create performance bottlenecks, and undermine the experiences network teams are working to deliver. 

The leading indicators of this crisis are easy to measure. In the Cisco 2021 Global Networking Trends Report, a survey of over 600 enterprise networks found an average of 4,400 monthly events impacting wireless networks. As organizations rush to enable a hybrid workforce, we expect to see that flood of issues rapidly increase. 

For hybrid organizations, connectivity is a core network service, and interruptions caused by authentication, DHCP, DNS, and other errors can’t be allowed to grind the business to a halt. But when IT spends the majority of its time on troubleshooting hundreds of events a day, it’s impossible to find time to do the important work needed to drive business growth. The capacity of the team—and the network they support—suffers as a result. 

The coming storm: preparing for the Great Resignation

Compounding these capacity challenges is the looming threat of the Great Resignation, the fear that a newly empowered remote workforce will pick up sticks and seek greener career grass. In another 2021 survey, Enterprise Strategy Group found that 55% of IT leaders indicated that their biggest skill gaps were in network architecture, administration, and planning. That’s a capacity problem that’s very hard to remediate. 

To break this bottleneck and avoid the single points of failure that threaten network resilience, IT teams need better tools to help them adapt faster, troubleshoot with more precision, and free up time to properly plan for future capacity needs. 

Putting network data to work for customers

At Cisco Meraki, we see a future where intelligent, data-defined networks give CIOs the power to readily adapt to change, effectively increase capacity, and find better ways to plan for the future. This is at the heart of a data-defined network, an architecture that not only can quantify the impact of an event, but provides precise evidence about the root cause and quickly points toward a recommended remediation. 

There are three key elements that can unlock these kinds of data-driven improvements:

  • Using data to drive outcomes. Going beyond basic analytics and insight, any investment in AI and ML must come in the service of a desirable customer outcome. 
  • Depth and breadth of data. When it comes to making relevant, contextual recommendations, more data beats a better model every day of the week. The best platforms can learn from data captured not just from your network, but from millions of other networks like yours. That breadth and depth is critical to informing effective decisions. 
  • Upholding trust. Having the data and the models is not sufficient. A data-defined platform must overdeliver on its ability to protect and govern the data it captures, continually improve the quality of its recommendations, and always keep control in the customers’ hands. Think autonomous, not 100% automated. 

We’ll be talking more about our outcome-focused approach to AI and ML systems at Meraki in the coming months. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you in the Meraki Community about which network challenges are impacting your team’s capacity and how more intelligent services might help define the future of your network.

Optimizing Cybersecurity and Physical Security through Automation

As IoT integrations and cloud-connected technologies continue to influence the security landscape, businesses are quickly realizing they can optimize operations that leverage the wealth of data those systems provide. With more information at their disposal than ever before, cybersecurity and physical security teams have the opportunity to improve security posturing, but only if that data is used effectively. Here are five ways teams can utilize automation to streamline cybersecurity and physical security systems and business processes.

Automatic software updates

Updating commercial security system software is often time-consuming (not to mention expensive). However, over-the-air (OTA) software updates for cloud-based platforms automatically run as soon as they are available. This means businesses get the most up-to-date technology without the hassle and cost of on-site maintenance. Plus, OTA updates mean a faster, more efficient upgrade process that minimizes downtime, keeping systems protected from the latest threats and vulnerabilities. 

Streamlined monitoring and detection 

Utilize automated notifications and breach detection software across cybersecurity and physical security platforms to streamline monitoring for any number of locations. Many cloud-based video surveillance cameras, access control systems, and cybersecurity scanning tools feature automatic breach detection and notification systems that alert teams to any potential issues without the need to monitor 24/7. This technology can also triage alerts to the correct personnel automatically, saving time in critical moments. It’s important to note that remote access to data and controls is essential for optimizing the response to security alerts.

Scaling security processes

Rolling out enterprise-grade and commercial security systems and processes to new locations previously involved hiring a brand-new team and providing extensive training. Now, automated security processes can easily be transferred to new buildings and sites in a matter of clicks, without additional personnel. Furthermore, cloud-based platforms are ideal for maximizing scalability thanks to unlimited data storage and greater flexibility to adapt to changing business needs.

Business intelligence and predictive analytics

With access to consolidated cybersecurity and physical security data from previously disparate systems, teams have almost limitless potential to make operations more efficient and secure. By ingesting that data into powerful business analytics and intelligence tools, security teams can use endpoint and AI analytics to inform decision making across the entire business. For example, smart AI workplace platforms can use real-time location data, sensors, cameras, and access information to improve space utilization, manage hybrid offices, and track occupancy. This allows teams to identify and address concerns earlier, before they become a problem.

Encryption, compliance, and auditing

Proactive security needs to be adaptable and agile, making systems that automate day-to-day operations essential to successful cybersecurity and physical security convergence. Automated systems use security data to perform tasks, including identifying noncompliance, generating regular system audits, monitoring networks for malicious activity, and eliminating redundancies. Taking advantage of these automations not only optimizes business processes, it also reduces risk and liability across the organization.

To learn more about how to improve your security posture with cloud-based technology, join us for the final installment of our three-part webinar series featuring expert-led discussions on emerging security strategies. If you missed previous sessions, watch part one and part two on demand.

Return to the Water Cooler with Smart Spaces

Empty chairs next to water cooler

Let’s face it: some of us miss the office water cooler. 

The office and the water cooler miss you too.

After nearly two years of missed face-to-face interactions around the water cooler, the cafe, at deskside chats, and in conference room huddles, we’re all remaining flexible yet are still optimistic about what’s next when it comes to returning to the workplace safely. 

While businesses and employees ponder the next move based on the changing tides of a global pandemic, the water cooler sits lonely in your office, longing to hear about the latest Marvel movie trailer, giggle at Ted Lasso one-liners, and predict what will happen in the next episode of the Bachelor and Bachelorette. 

The return to the office brings mixed emotions

According to a recent Cisco survey, many employees have anxiety about returning to the office, with concerns about touching shared devices, lack of social distancing, and more. Of those surveyed, 95% are uncomfortable about returning given the current health crisis.

Those who worked remotely during the pandemic and have returned on-site reported mixed mental health impacts: 36% of respondents reported negative mental health effects from on-site work, while 37% reported positive effects.

Workers have rolled with the changes

The global workforce has had to adjust to a variety of working scenarios— including remote work and hybrid work—all while balancing the need to maintain safe environments.

As businesses manage their plans to get employees back to the office, they are looking for unique ways to make everyone feel safer in the work environment. Teams need highly secure access and the best collaboration experiences in order to succeed as a hybrid workforce, and customers need to feel comfortable interacting with staff. A majority of CIOs and IT decision-makers (89%) across all industries believe that maintaining security, control, and governance across user devices, networks, clouds, and applications is essential.

Create a plan for a successful return-to-office with smart spaces and the right collaboration technology.

Meraki Network: Tech Yourself to Protect Yourself

Smart spaces can bring us back with ease and flexibility

Smart spaces bridge the gap between physical and digital layers, leveraging connectivity, security, and intelligence—all from a single cloud-first platform. Consider these smart spaces experiences from Meraki and our partners:

  • Using Meraki’s video API, the PenguinIN smart hot-desking platform shows real-time occupancy intelligence 
  • The recently announced Kloudspot platform and KloudVision™ securely integrate safety features such as occupancy monitoring and PPE compliance monitoring
  • With Meraki MV and Cisco DNA Spaces, facility managers can now better monitor footfall and enable proactive alerts to keep everyone safe

These are just a few of the technologies that power smart spaces experiences and work together to boost operational efficiency, increase employee productivity, and ensure happy customers. As Ralph Esquibel, Vice President of IT for the Los Angeles Dodgers, observed at the recent Meraki Network user conference, “A camera, in its simplest form, allows us to track individual movements in and around the ballpark … it’s understanding what our fans want.” Implementing these solutions will enable companies to achieve smarter, secure workspaces via Meraki technologies and intelligence. 

When that happens, the water cooler may not be standing alone for too much longer.

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Meraki Turns 15!

It’s been 15 years since Meraki started as an MIT dissertation project. The founders were looking for a way to provide cheap, wireless internet access to the public that was also easy to manage, and ended up creating Meraki’s very first product—the Meraki access point (AP), or the Meraki Mini.  

Since 2006, our offerings have expanded from the original AP to switches, cameras, sensors, and so much more, all focused on the goal of simple IT that supports our customers through any experience. Meraki has continued to experiment, innovate, and simplify IT, leading the industry through times of discovery and connecting the world with smart and intuitive solutions. It’s no wonder that some of the top global companies choose Meraki.

These milestones are nothing short of amazing, and we have every single customer, partner, and Merakian to thank. Our ability to evolve and deliver on the technology experiences people increasingly expect would not be possible without their close collaboration and trust. Thank you for leaning in with us as we navigate an increasingly complex world.

No doubt the next 15 years will bring about even more change than we saw in the previous 15. We are excited to continue Meraki’s mission and build the high-tech world of the future, today. 

Everybody In,
Denise Thomas

Bolstering Digital Transformation in Banking

Woman holding credit card and iphone

The events of 2020 will leave a lasting impact on the financial sector as institutions accelerated the shift to a digital environment, both for customers and their employees.

Digital transformation has raised the bar for financial services, dictating seamless, personalized interactions during branch visits. The banking industry is making great progress toward transformation and resiliency, however, the work isn’t done until institutions can effectively monitor, measure, and resolve disruptions.

We recently sat down with Jerry Silva, Vice President of Financial Insights at IDC, to discuss this monumental transformation. Jerry is responsible for the global retail banking practice. His research focuses on technology trends as well as customer expectations and behaviors in retail banking worldwide. With over 35 years of experience in the financial services industry his research covers a variety of topics, from the back office to customer channels to technology governance at financial institutions. Listen in to hear a discussion of the role of the branch, including how to make branches more digital, how to drive more digital content, and how interaction plays a role in transformation. Here’s a quick recap.

infographic: advice for transformation

Role of the digital branch

The branch is an important interaction point for consumers and small businesses, and it needs to be agile enough to evolve as the market demands. Banks are looking at technologies that can prevent physical contact, such as handing over identification to authenticate the customer or limiting human interaction where it makes sense by expanding interactive video and digital signage into the physical branch. These technologies have existed for years, but in aggregate, they are now part of a holistic approach to transforming branches into smart spaces.

Role of the cloud

2020 created a shift, with a greater emphasis on leveraging the cloud as a fundamental component of infrastructure for institutions. As companies migrate to a cloud-first approach, this has led to a greater reliance on security and digital infrastructure. This is where technologies such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) can play a critical role in enabling consistent service levels; customer and staff experiences; and secure web gateways, cloud access security brokers, and other services.

Advice for transformation

Silva touched on the interplay between human interaction and digital technology touchpoints in the branch. Key takeaways from the discussion included digital transformation best practices, pitfalls to watch out for, security needs to support a digital-first model, and whether financial institutions are prepared for the challenges ahead.

“Customers love choice. There is still a need for an omnichannel engagement strategy. Keep looking at modernizing online and mobile and think about the holistic customer engagement strategy.”

Jerry Silva, Vice President of Financial Insights, IDC

To learn more about IDC’s recommendations–watch the fireside chat now and download the IDC analyst brief.

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Safe Environments To Protect What Matters

various people walking through an office lobby

The recent rise of hybrid workplaces—a convergence of remote work and “in-office” work—has brought more complexities across cybersecurity and physical security. 

Dimensional Research found that 97% of employees want changes made so they feel safer at work, while 94% of companies believe technology would benefit them by providing a safer work environment. 

In your quest to enable a trusted environment, having comprehensive, interconnected technologies and tools can allow you to securely create valuable experiences for employees and customers.

The value of technology convergence 

The early 2000s were a time when telephones, cameras, camcorders, and music devices existed separately.

Then along came smartphones, which conveniently bridged together the functionality of all these things into one platform. The introduction of an ecosystem of third-party app developers extended the smartphone’s utility far beyond its original capabilities. 

IT security tools such as next-generation firewalls prevent cyber attacks. Physical security devices such as cameras protect people, buildings, and assets. As video, data, information, productivity applications, and most business operations move to the cloud, it will become increasingly important to prioritize physical and cybersecurity convergence.

When cybersecurity and physical security collide 

Consider the domino effect when cybersecurity and physical worlds collide: 

  • Attackers exploit code to gain control of transmitters that operate manufacturing machinery, putting assets and lives at risk
  • Hackers shut down a building’s cloud video cameras, letting a heist go undetected and unrecorded
  • Ransomware on a hospital network causes a shut-down of the IT system, delaying digital processes like accessing patient data and conducting scans

Beyond higher risk, cybersecurity and physical security are typically maintained in separate systems by IT and physical security teams, making it harder to tackle threats head-on. 

A Match Made in Heaven: Physical and Cybersecurity

Many security technologies, one platform 

As with the launch of smartphones, our cloud-first Meraki platform pulls IT and IoT technologies into one intuitive dashboard. It features open APIs and a broad ecosystem of apps so you can rapidly address essential security use cases and provide insightful analytics. 

Gain peace of mind from tools that work in harmony. For example, device communication and video is encrypted by default and firmware is updated automatically from the cloud. 

As James Segil, President of Openpath, noted at the 2021 Meraki Network user conference, “IT has more comfort in the cloud … helping eliminate legacy physical security technologies.”

Security for every business need 

So what does convergence look like in practice? Here’s an example of a safe environment through a day in the life of Sam, an IT manager at a hospital. 

  • 8:00 am: Sam checks the Meraki platform dashboard at home for security anomalies from the MX security and SD-WAN devices  
  • 8:30 am: Sam arrives at the hospital parking lot, where the MV smart cameras detect vehicles and people in order to identify intruders 
  • 10:00 am: In waiting rooms, the MV integration with Everyangle lets them verify face mask compliance 
  • 1:00 pm: Sam gets a dashboard alert that a fridge stocking vaccines has dipped below 0°C; the MT temperature probe sensor triggered a real-time snapshot from the MV camera showing the door ajar 
  • 5:00 pm: Sam wraps up by aggregating daily people count and people’s journeys inside the hospital via the V-App integration to optimize staffing and wayfinding 

These are just some of the ways Meraki can help create a safe environment experience to protect what matters to your business.

For more details, visit the Meraki workplace safety homepage.

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Is Your On-Premises Access Control a Dinosaur?

Green toy dinosaur pushing shopping cart containing hand sanitizer and face mask

This article was contributed by Meraki technology partner Genea.

A door opens. You walk in. Server towers loom, cables are criss-crossing inside. Through the darkness, blinking green-yellow “eyes” are glowing. Could it be? Is this a dinosaur? Yes. You’ve found a dinosaur—your on-premises access control system. Was it powerful? Sure, back in the prehistoric age (i.e., the 1990s), but nowadays, on-premises systems are the next archaic creature facing extinction. Their predecessor, cloud-based access control, provides exponentially quicker integrations and credentialing flexibility. But why are healthcare providers only migrating to the cloud now?

The cloud rolls in

During COVID-19, healthcare IT and security teams faced a two-front battle. On-site, teams had to meticulously monitor their building ingress and egress. Robust security integrations became pivotal in ensuring only essential personnel entered the premises. On the other front, telehealth required security tools to protect patient identity and allow healthcare staff working from home to access the hospital server remotely. While the teams managing dated access control quickly realized their vulnerability, those using cloud-based systems had a significant advantage.

Fast integrations

In March 2021, Ray Gerwitz, Deputy Chief Security Officer at Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, spoke about the role of access control during the pandemic.   

“You would think that when you limit your access to far fewer entry points, it would be easier,” Gerwitz said. “But in some ways, it’s proven to be more difficult because now you have to understand how you configure your systems to allow continuity of operations but still maintain the appropriate protection measures on the exterior of your buildings.”

Problems like Gerwitz’s are common, but on-premises manufacturers simply can’t deploy solutions fast enough. Cloud-based companies like Genea do. The Emergency Door Plans feature, for example, gives administrators the capability to preprogram the opening and closing of multiple access points with one click. A “pandemic response plan” might lock all doors except the primary entrances, whereas an “unauthorized breach” may only lock a specific hospital wing.

Additionally, the wide variety of cloud-based access control integrations is something to consider. For example, Cisco Meraki cameras integrate with Genea Access Control by typing an API number into the admin dashboard. When a security event occurs, the Meraki camera transmits a GIF and event preview to Access Control. In turn, Access Control could alert another software program. With a web of solutions, security teams can efficiently address alerts.

Future forecast

By 2025, cloud computing within the healthcare industry is expected to grow to $55 billion, while the healthcare cloud adoption rate currently sits at a staggering 74%. This indicates a long-term shift toward cloud-based access control within the industry.

Beyond access control, cloud computing provides additional opportunities to innovate. For example, maintaining on-premises data centers is costly for providers. Ever-expanding databases of patient information and staff credentials require a flexible, secure solution that is not reliant on physical hardware. Cloud-based innovations provide just that. Don’t get stuck on the ground, waiting to join the cloud.Learn more about technology partner integrations via the Meraki Marketplace and visit our website to learn more about Meraki for physical security.

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