Archive for the ‘Company Blog’ Category

MV, Now with RTSP!

Yes, you read that correctly. MV smart cameras now support RTSP. RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol) is a protocol that allows a third party system to access the video stream directly from the camera. Now, you may be thinking, “But why? MV smart cameras already have so many great features that make it easy for me to do what I need to do!” If you are, thank you! We think you’re right. 

 

A Focus on Solving Business Problems

 

Almost three years ago, we published a blog post called “APIs for Meraki MV Cameras” in response to the many requests for camera APIs. An overwhelming number were driven not by a desire for APIs, but by the need to solve a business problem. These needs fell into a few categories: 

  • Off camera storage for longer retention or offsite backup
  • Integration to provide context into business systems, or other physical security solutions
  • Analytics

In the months following, we released new functionality that addresses many of these needs without sacrificing simplicity, or ease of use. To meet the need for longer retention or offsite backup, we introduced Cloud Archive with simple, one-click provisioning. The Snapshot and Video Link APIs let customers easily integrate into access control systems like Kisi, shown below, or point of sale platforms to provide visual context to events.

The Snapshot API helps integrate MV Smart Cameras with Kisi Access Control.

The third category, analytics, is one of the most exciting areas of video. Analytics provide insight into processes and help organizations better understand what is happening within their space. MV cameras have always analyzed motion, and this was the basis of our first analytics, motion heatmaps. The second generation of cameras introduced machine learning based computer vision for object detection, specifically for detection of people and vehicles.

This was followed by the launch of the MV Sense API, which provides access to all this detection data in real time. When these various MV APIs are combined, it enables custom or advanced analytics capabilities that range from other types of object detection, to text recognition, and sentiment analysis (emotions or demographics). 

Person Detection on MV Smart Cameras

 

The Best of Both Worlds

 

By building solutions to solve customer problems, and keeping video within the Meraki ecosystem, we are helping to ensure they are not held back by their video data. It means that users do not have to watch countless hours of footage to investigate an incident, or need to be data scientists to gain insight from video analytics. While we have come a long way since launch, there are a few unique use cases that call for solutions outside of the Meraki ecosystem. 

An example of this are customers with large-scale deployments of legacy cameras. Previously, these customers would have no choice but to operate two viewing systems (a legacy VMS and the Meraki dashboard) in tandem as they worked to replace their old cameras with Meraki cameras. Now, RTSP lets them view video from Meraki MV cameras in their old VMS platform until all legacy cameras are replaced, and they can switch over to viewing everything in the Meraki dashboard. Another example is a public viewing monitor, or PVM, placed at a store entrance. With a PVM, there is no need to interact with the video in any manner other than static, live viewing, and RTSP fills this need.

Enabling RTSP on a Meraki MV Smart Camera

Finally, RTSP will enable access to the video stream for particularly niche analytics that simply cannot be met using the MV Sense and Snapshot APIs. This could be an organization with an existing analytics solution that relies on a traditional camera architecture.

By enabling access to RTSP, MV smart cameras are now available to customers who previously had no path forward with MV. These customers can benefit from the core value of MV smart cameras – simple architecture and cloud management through the Meraki dashboard – and use RTSP when needed to meet their other needs.

 

What Do You Think About RTSP?

 

RTSP is available now, for all second generation MV smart cameras (models ending in 2). For more information on how it works, check out the documentation. Or, head on over to the Meraki Community to join the discussion. We’d love to hear your thoughts on RTSP, and if it may be beneficial to your use case. Let us know what you think!

Meraki Access Points are now Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™

As we enter the middle of 2020, the year is shaping up to be an interesting one for Wi-Fi. With the explosion in remote work, we have seen increases in both video collaboration and Wi-Fi calling. On April 1st, AT&T saw an increase of 105% above average Wi-Fi calling. WPA3, the next generation of Wi-Fi security, is rolling out to deliver better encryption for sensitive data. Wi-Fi 6 continues to proliferate as new Wi-Fi 6 clients, such as the 2020 iPad Pro, enter the market.

To take full advantage of the new Wi-Fi trends and new clients in 2020, a Wi-Fi 6 network infrastructure needs to be in place. Deploying Wi-Fi 6 access points will ensure 802.11ax clients experience high-quality and low-latency performance.


Official Wi-Fi 6 certification

The MR36, MR46, and MR56 have now received official certification status for Wi-Fi 6 from the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Whether you are on a call or video conference, Wi-Fi 6 can help enable high levels of efficiency and low latency. OFDMA and MU-MIMO in both the uplink and downlink direction help support a multitude of devices with up to 75% lower latency. While working from home over a secure Meraki Wi-Fi 6 access point, you can experience seamless video conferencing or VoIP calls, while your family watches Netflix in the next room. Hospitals and financial services organizations can offer critical connectivity while supporting the highest security standards, with WPA3.

Learn more

To hear more about recent Meraki Wi-Fi updates, listen in to episode 22 of Meraki Unboxed, which discusses:

  • Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™ 
  • Remote work & organizational agility
  • Meraki health beyond wireless
  • Wi-Fi 6 clients
  • Roadmap sneak peeks

Cisco Meraki continues to deliver market-leading Wi-Fi to the Cisco portfolio. Cisco has been named a leader in the September 2019 Magic Quadrant for Wired and Wireless LAN Infrastructure. To learn more about the newest Meraki Wi-Fi 6 access points, please visit our What’s New page.

 

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Powering the remote workforce

In a recent webinar, we discussed the challenging and unique times we live in as workforces around the world move to temporary remote work. While many of us are separated, we are also interconnected via the internet like never before. At Cisco Meraki, we want to help organizations continue doing what they are best at, with minimal discontinuity. Across Cisco, teams are collaborating to help communities work from home and maintain productivity through uncertain times. Working together, this is our global, collective opportunity to unlock human ingenuity and contribute to solving this crisis.

Today’s mission

Around the world, IT managers are undertaking the task of ensuring that hundreds and thousands of users experience a seamless transition to remote work. Critical work is being done at hospitals and on manufacturing floors, demanding the need for employees to stay connected. A sudden disruption of internet access can have a significant impact on an organization, as every second matters, and IT needs to just work. IT leaders want to make sure employees at home have the same simple, secure and reliable network access they get at work. This will enable them to stay connected with each other through collaboration applications such as Webex, and have access to office applications such as Office365, without a glitch. 

With the current state of things, employees have enough to worry about and be distracted by. The last thing a remote worker wants to worry about is the performance of their network connection, or how to configure their VPN. Providing internet access as a remote IT manager is highly challenging as the demand for support has increased with entire workforces working remotely. New ways of working mean that corporate networks are operating in a new way, resulting in new types of trouble tickets. Not to mention the headaches caused by managing the security of hundreds or thousands of remote employee connections.

Built for immediate connectivity

Our mission at Cisco Meraki has become more important than ever as we help IT managers navigate the difficult terrain of a remote work environment. Since our founding, we have supported fast-moving organizations looking to modernize their networks quickly. For those who need help to urgently modify their networks for remote work, Meraki offers an easy and secure option. Meraki devices can be pulled out of the box, plugged in virtually anywhere in the world, and instantly deliver a seamless “in-office” experience at home. With simple Meraki cloud-management, IT managers are able to maintain visibility of employee networks, and continue to monitor potential interference to workforce productivity while at home.

Here are just a few of the tools available to the administrator looking after remote workers:

  • Create a site-to-site VPN in a few clicks over a WAN link
  • Seamlessly and securely provide remote network access via Wi-Fi over an encrypted tunnel
  • Maintain service continuity with cellular backup
  • Keep end-user devices secure when off-network
  • Perform remote troubleshooting of employee connectivity and applications

The Meraki dashboard has also been updated to allow IT admins to quickly identify VPN clients within the organization.

How Cisco Meraki can help

At Cisco, we have been addressing the hurdles of remote work for years, and we want to do anything we can to help others during this unpredictable time. One of the most important things we can do right now is to empower IT managers to keep their organizations working seamlessly. Cisco has multiple offers available to help those in difficult times, such as free Webex, Cisco Security, and more. Meraki support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help prepare your organization for remote work. If you are looking to learn more about how Meraki can help mobilize your workforce, watch our on-demand webinar.

 

Additional resources: 

Meraki and Cisco Collaboration Teleworker Solution for Businesses

Captive Portals for Captive Audiences

If you’re like us, you’re stuck at home and looking for ways to mix up your remote work routine. Now that you’re no longer commuting, are you giving your podcasts less love/listens? There are so many great discussions to catch up on – including this week’s newest episode! (Find us and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, or stream through the episode linked below.)

Tuning in this week is sure to help in the following ways:

  • Simulate the ambient workplace banter you’re missing these days
  • Give your eyes a chance to recover from all the screen time
  • Give you some insight into how others are using Meraki APIs to add value and new experiences to the Meraki platform! 

In this week’s Meraki Unboxed Podcast, Episode 12 we’re talking with yet another technology partner that has built a turnkey solution on top of the Meraki API services: Splash Access. Splash Access has been building Cisco Meraki captive portals for almost 7 years – taking advantage of our longest standing API service for captive portal development.

We’ve all interacted with a captive portal in some form or another (guest Wi-Fi at the airport, hotels, coffee shops, or our corporate networks) and we might feel like we’ve heard it all already: how to use captive portals to monetize Wi-Fi, drive customer engagement programs, use splash pages for advertising or even integrating social media initiatives, etc. etc. Splash Access has a new story to tell on this episode: solving the problem of seamlessly and securely getting IoT devices onto the network, with the right policies and rules applied. 

So, how did a captive portal builder solve onboarding for devices that cannot access a captive portal? Tune in to learn how Splash Access used Cisco Meraki APIs to solve this problem from higher education to shared working spaces, retail, tenant blocks, and within large corporations.

As always, we are thrilled to showcase innovative solutions like this from our technology partners – enabled through the Meraki APIs. There is so much potential to unlock by integrating and building off of Meraki technologies – we’re excited to see what Splash Access and others come up with next! Listen in for a teaser ;)

“We try and take advantage of all the APIs that we are given. This is the exciting thing with working with Meraki – every month there’s new APIs coming onboard, and we look at it as an opportunity every time an API comes out – how can we add this value to what we’re doing and put it into our platform?” – Tim Ormrod, Splash Access

 

Learn more about the Splash Access solution on the Meraki Marketplace!

 

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Healthy relationships are built on visibility

Wi-Fi 6 is designed to support a modern world of hyper-connectivity. While exciting, this digital world will also see more challenges such as high client density, IoT everywhere, and more high-bandwidth requirements. This leads to increasing demands on the network, and organizations relying on connectivity more than ever before. One of the most important challenges a network faces is maintaining the relationship between the clients and the wireless network. 

Many will agree that a great relationship is built on a strong foundation. For the wireless network, this foundation might be careful capacity planning and a proper site survey. But, even with a strong foundation, relationships between wireless clients and the network can hit rough patches. Without knowing the root-cause of the problem, it can be hard to improve that relationship. 

Many wireless network engineers today spend at least a day every week troubleshooting Wi-Fi. This can be due to lack of visibility, increased network complexity, and human error. Time spent troubleshooting is a missed opportunity, as those countless hours could have been spent transitioning IT to meet modern organizational needs.

Visibility beyond wireless

This week, we are adding new capabilities and visibility to the Meraki dashboard to help simplify troubleshooting. Users can now pinpoint issues more quickly, and ensure excellent connectivity for clients. These updates are designed to not only provide insights about the health of Wi-Fi clients, but also to provide end-to-end visibility. Enhanced visibility will now allow for immediate identification of whether wireless is problematic, or if, for example, an upstream device is misconfigured.

Cisco research reveals that 63% of users blame the wireless network for problems, while the issue could be elsewhere. Now, network admins can gain insight and focus precious time on the actual root cause.

Once problematic clients or access points are identified, new snapshots are available to help quickly remedy the root cause. Users can now view wireless health metrics as they navigate through their dashboard. From an individual client’s page, a user can immediately assess the health of that specific client.

Below is an example of how to troubleshoot a troublesome wireless client with Meraki:

The end-to-end visibility snapshot, health snapshots for individual access points and clients, as well as updated event logs are all available today for Meraki Wireless users. These new metrics and capabilities, along with the centralized Wireless Health engine make the process of optimizing connectivity simple. 

To learn more about these new capabilities join an upcoming wireless webinar.

Chuck will be there! [EVENT POSTPONED]

We are so excited about DevNet Create 2020! This event gives us a chance to meet developers and technology partners and explore real solutions teams (and individuals!) are building from API services and leveraging in their organizations. We are also looking forward to congratulating the first round of developers that passed the newly released DevNet exams and upleveled their careers with these new certifications. 

This year our biggest developer advocate, CEO and Chairman Chuck Robbins will be in attendance for a fireside chat with Susie Wee, SVP and GM of Cisco DevNet. There is also a fantastic line up of presentations, panel discussions, and workshops, including our “must-see” list below:

 

Starbucks: Radical Automation

We are really looking forward to this presentation! Listen in as Dexter Park, Lead Application Developer at Starbucks explains how his team leverages APIs to automate the process of full-stack network provisioning – reducing the deployment process from hours of manual touch and troubleshooting to 3 minutes per site. This approach and end solution has provided the business with a solution to manage infrastructure across 10,000 locations – it has been an incredible process to witness.

 

Cisco Meraki: Designing the Cisco Meraki Python SDK with OpenAPI Specification

Releasing the latest Python SDK (Software Development Kit) has been an engaging and rewarding experience for our team at Meraki. Join us in this session as our own, Shiyue Cheng, covers the lessons learned in creating this incredibly popular API SDK for our developer ecosystem. 

 

Cisco Meraki: Applying Machine Learning Techniques to Detect Objects with a Meraki MV Camera

Join Merakian Rafael Carvalho as he demonstrates how Machine Learning (ML) techniques can be applied to detect objects in images for anomaly detection in manufacturing, customer engagement in retail, object counting in a public facility, and other use cases. Attendees in this hands-on workshop will use a Meraki camera to perform live object detection on what they are seeing right in front of them.

 

Whether you are a developer or thinking about ways to program your network to be more automated, data-driven, or integrated – this event offers a lot of thought leadership and industry expertise to help you explore what’s possible! We hope to see you there.

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See More of What You Want with MV

Hot on the heels of the recent product release, we have two more features to share. These latest features are designed to give users more of what they want – more detail in snapshots, and more video retention by increasing the relevancy of motion-based retention. We’re doing this by enabling full sensor resolution snapshots via the API, and by adding regions-of-interest to the motion-based retention tool. 

Full Sensor Resolution Snapshots

If you have used the Sensor Crop feature on MV12 series, MV22, or MV72 models, then you may already be aware that the cameras capture raw video at the full sensor resolution (4MP or 2688×1520) before downscaling the video to 1080p or 720p resolution for streaming and storage. Now, users can take “full-frame” snapshots using the Snapshot API. The resulting snapshot will have a 4MP resolution, regardless of the configured video quality settings.

The additional detail in the full resolution snapshot can be helpful for identification, or improving the accuracy of results returned by third-party computer vision services. It’s important to note that full frame snapshots are only available via the API on live video; snapshots on historical video are only available at the configured video recording quality. This feature is available on all second generation cameras running the MV 4.2 beta firmware. 

Fine-Tune Motion Based Retention with Areas of Interest

Our next feature is designed to make Motion-based retention more intelligent. When Motion-based retention was first released in 2017, it offered users a way to dramatically increase the retention of video stored on the camera. With Motion-based retention enabled, the camera retains the most recent 72 hours of continuous video, after which time it trims footage that contains no motion. The original Motion-based retention eliminated the majority of “empty” footage for most users, but what about instances where the camera detects near constant motion in part of the frame, from a spinning ceiling fan or always-on displays? Adding regions of interest — an option already available for Motion Alerts — allows users to specify where they care about motion, say at an entrance or exit. Motion that occurs in other areas of the scene will be discarded for the purposes of Motion-based retention. 

To add an area of interest, navigate to the camera, then settings, and quality and retention. Once Motion-based retention is enabled, click and drag on the video frame to select your desired regions of interest. Multiple areas can be selected to allow for fine-tuning. Once set, only footage that contains motion within the selected area of interest will be retained after 72 hours when Motion-based retention is enabled.

Interested in learning more about video retention, snapshots or MV smart cameras? See our documentation for more information on video retention, or the Meraki Devnet site for more information on our APIs. Check out an upcoming webinar for an overview of our MV smart camera line. Let us know what you think about the new features on the Meraki Community page. 

Cisco Meraki coming to South By Southwest (SXSW) [EVENT CANCELLED]

This March is shaping up to be a big month for events featuring Meraki APIs! We will be in full-force at DevNet Create this year on March 10-11, and immediately following that we’re excited to partner with other Cisco teams and Capital Factory to present the Cisco Innovation Hub at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX! 

From March 13–23, SXSW will host approximately 432,500 people from over 102 countries participating in the SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive Events. SXSW Interactive is deemed the World’s largest gathering of creative professionals with 4,967 conference speakers and 2,147 conference sessions. Many tech giants have launched their early or beta versions at this conference, including Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla, Highlight, and Meerkat, and while Uber “didn’t launch at SXSW, it was conceived here”, according to Fast Company. Interactive has even hosted speakers such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Ferris, President Barack Obama, Mark Cuban, Braaam Cohen, Biz Stone, and several worldwide tech leaders.

During the Interactive Festival part of SXSW, innovative companies from all over the world meet, market their innovations, attend pitch sessions, learn from a huge variety of events, and make critical connections. This year, Cisco Webex, DevNet, Meraki, AppDynamics, DNA Spaces, CDA, and Cisco Investments have joined forces with Capital Factory to present the Cisco Innovation Hub at SXSW!

Meet us there to network with some of the most exciting and interesting people in the industry, check out new product launches, and explore our Independent Software Vendor (ISV) demos. We’ll also have Whisper Suites, Meetups, a Customer Briefing Center, and talk tracks from Cisco acquisition founders, product managers, Cisco Investments, and our partners. Here are some of the sessions and activities you won’t want to miss:

Sat, March 14th at 11am: Keynote Session with Todd Nightingale,  SVP/GM, Cisco Meraki

Sat, March 14th at 2pm: Cognitive Workspaces Panel with API Product Manager, Tony Carmichael 

Sun, March 15th 5pm: Hot Pepper Pitch where contestants pitch their ideas for startups under the influence (of very hot peppers) to win cash and product prizes! This is sure to be a good time for contestants and spectators alike.

Learn more and register here!

We hope to see you there!

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Cellular Insights: More Power To You

Organizations across industries are eager to build their Wireless WAN infrastructure on the Meraki platform and some of them already have a head start with our new product line –  MG Cellular Gateway. MG provides a solution for optimal cellular signal strength. It gives our customers the flexibility of pairing MG with any Meraki or Cisco ISR/vEdge router or 3rd party router to provide another uplink for SD-WAN, or as a failover or primary link. 

MG was only launched a couple of months ago and we’re already releasing new features. There is no better way to see these features in action than to try it out for yourself

Quick network diagnosis 

We’re always seeking to provide capabilities that truly add value to our customer’s business. For cellular troubleshooting, customers have frequently told us how challenging it can get without any visibility into the signal characteristics at their site. This lack of control leads to them taking a hit on business functions that rely on cellular signals. 

MG users can now take advantage of this data within the Meraki platform to quickly diagnose what’s affecting cellular connectivity, or what led to performance degradation, through historical stats— signal strength, latency, and loss—that are visual and easy to interpret. By knowing how cellular connectivity is at certain sites at any given time, it’s simple to get to the root cause of network issues. Easy monitoring of live data along with the signal level, signal quality, and connectivity data could potentially save hours of troubleshooting. 

It gets even better with an API-driven architecture. MG can be managed completely through APIs, giving customers the flexibility of custom reporting and integrations that they need. Stay tuned for more updates!

How to access

From your Meraki dashboard, go to Monitor->Cellular gateways; select the MG for which you’d like to get the health data, and then go to Uplink from the menu bar. Scroll below to view the historical and connectivity data as far as 30 days in the past. 

MG Cellular Monitoring

 

Test out the new capabilities for yourself.  To learn more about the MG Cellular Gateway, you can refer to these additional MG resources: 

Introductory Blog

Features

Datasheets

Free trial

 

Twice the Storage, Twice the Fun

In the past few weeks, we’ve released several new features for the MV smart cameras – including scheduled exports, live link-sharing, and profiles and APIs for quality and retention settings. We have more feature announcements this week, and some new hardware models, with the MV22X and MV72X.

See More, Store More

The MV22X and MV72X models share the same form factor as the MV22 and MV72, but with 512GB of storage. Organizations have two ways to take advantage of this extra storage – longer retention, or higher resolution. For customers interested in longer storage duration, the new MV22X and MV72X can store up to 90 days of 24/7 video.

For those looking for higher resolution, the new MV22X and MV72X can record in up to 4MP resolution, which contains almost double the level of detail found in 1080P. The additional pixels can be useful for the identification of subjects or objects at farther distances, or when used by a 3rd party computer vision service for additional analytics. 

Video Wall Enhancements for MV32

The MV32 is also getting new functionality, with support for dewarped tiles on video walls. This lets users see multiple views from a single MV32 camera at one time, making it easier to stay on top of what is happening. Users can also add in de-warped tiles from multiple MV32 cameras to a video wall, and mix in other camera views, allowing them to create highly customized video walls. For more information on video walls, and setting up dewarped tiles, please refer to the documentation.  

Meraki as a Bluetooth Radio Platform

Finally, we will be enabling the Bluetooth radios on all second-generation MV smart cameras (the MV12 series, MV22 series, MV32, and MV72 series) in the first half of 2020. As part of this, we will be making Bluetooth scanning be available via API on MV cameras. For customers with both MR access points and MV smart cameras, this will offer improved BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) coverage. Stay tuned for more information!

Interested in learning more about these announcements, or MV smart cameras in general? Check out what’s new on the website, or join a webinar for an overview of the MV smart camera line. Let us know what you think about the new models and features in the Meraki Community!

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