Posts Tagged ‘automation’

Accelerating Your Wireless WAN rollout with Meraki Dashboard API

In adopting digital transformation, businesses increasingly rely on connecting cloud-specific services. The ongoing pandemic has necessitated, and in many cases, speed this adoption. By leveraging technology, businesses are likely to continue looking for ways to improve efficiency, and reduce costs, as they navigate these difficult times. 

Cisco Meraki Cellular Gateway (MG) is built to address the growing demand for operational reliability and business continuity across industries. MG allows for better performance, quick provisioning, high availability, and redundancy in providing cellular wireless WAN connectivity to geographically dispersed networks. 

As businesses are starting to take advantage of the advancements in cellular technology, we’re empowering them to be scalable. The shift towards the distributed application model, workforces, and software-defined technologies is leading to the increased need for API access to the network. The good news is that MG can be configured and managed using the Meraki Dashboard API

 

What can the Meraki API do for your cellular WAN connectivity?

Through automation and integrations, the Meraki Dashboard API for MG enables scale, growth, and future-proofing. 

Automation 

IT teams can add new organizations, administrators, cellular networks, and MG devices across thousands of locations in minutes with an automation script. By automating network provisioning and bulk configurations, IT teams can minimize manual and routine tasks, freeing up time to work on more important things such as optimizing for better performance or developing modern apps. The Meraki Dashboard API also offers flexibility in cloning sites or developing templates to help you get MGs deployed easily.

 

 

Much of configuration-related set up such as DHCP, LAN, port forwarding rules, subnet pool, and uplink settings, entails repetitive tasks and is prone to human error. Network administrators spend a lot of time on these repetitive configuration and monitoring tasks that can be automated and made error-free using APIs. With MG, customers can do so via APIs to avoid manual error and service downtime—significantly reducing the management workload. 

With the Meraki Dashboard API, one of our retail customers was able to rapidly automate deployment and provisioning at more than 2000 distributed locations nationwide. The resulting streamlined operations reduced overhead and costs for them. 

 

Integration and future-proofing

The potential of the Meraki Dashboard API goes beyond faster, seamless, and cost-effective automation. Meraki API services are easy to use, easy to train staff to program with, and ripe for technology partners to continue to build native integrations on top of. For growing businesses, using these API services can significantly increase speed-to-market. 

The Cisco Meraki Dashboard API is a RESTful API that uses HTTPS requests to a URL and JSON as a human-readable format. So, what does this mean for our customers? This higher software programmability using structured network data makes it easier to integrate with business logic systems. When building APIs, they can choose from a larger pool of skilled resources. Businesses can build their dashboard for store managers or specific use cases, allowing them to quickly add new services. 

 

Visibility

Lack of end-to-end visibility is problematic when troubleshooting network issues such as high latency and jitter. By monitoring the cellular connectivity and signal strength of MG devices through APIs, IT teams can save hours of troubleshooting. Meraki APIs make our platform extensible and allow you to be agile in responding to quickly changing business needs. Meraki offers a comprehensive platform that complements out-of-the-box management and analytics for Wireless WAN deployments with the integrations and solutions powered by Meraki APIs. 

The access to the Meraki Dashboard API for MG, your cloud-managed cellular solution, is available at no additional cost. 

Experience the Meraki Cellular Gateway in action with a  free trial and check out the Cisco Meraki Developer Hub to preview API options, today. 

 

Beyond Security: Innovative Uses for Cameras in Manufacturing

Security cameras have long been used in many different business settings to protect against theft and keep an eye out for suspicious behavior. Only fairly recently, though, have manufacturers recognized the unique value that cameras can bring to warehouses, distribution centers, and factory floors. Besides obvious applications like monitoring for the theft of valuable raw materials, here are a few innovative ways manufacturers can use cameras to improve their processes and make their operations more efficient.

1. Safely monitor automated machinery in demanding production environments

Advanced manufacturing operations, especially those that involve converting raw materials into finished goods, often involve extreme temperatures, loud noise, and dangerously fast-moving machinery. It’s important for businesses to not only track the reliable and efficient operation of this (usually automated) equipment, but also ensure the safety of employees on the plant floor.

Thanks to ruggedized cameras built to withstand challenging conditions, manufacturers can keep a close eye on machinery from afar, minimizing employees’ direct exposure to potentially hazardous equipment. In addition to real-time monitoring, staff in the control room can review previously recorded video footage. This can help them identify patterns (say, if a piece of equipment struggles with a certain type of material time and time again) and make changes quickly to fix issues.

2. Keep workers on the same page

The more sophisticated a manufacturer’s operations, the harder it is for employees to stay in sync. Because those working in manufacturing environments have to lend their undivided attention to their surroundings, it’s harder for them to always stay connected to other employees, even those in the same building.

Strategically positioning cameras and hooking them up to video monitors placed where employees can see them can help workers stay on top of activity around the facility. For example, at a food distribution center, employees inside the building can remotely watch as delivery trucks approach and then work together to help unload and transport the food. Setting up configurable video walls can help workers monitor the footage from multiple cameras placed around a facility.

By empowering lower-level employees to work together more seamlessly, cameras can ease management burdens and help eliminate information silos.

3. Monitor the product journey across different sites

As manufacturers expand their operations and increase the number and size of their facilities, monitoring activities across multiple sites becomes increasingly difficult. Goods often travel from one location to the next, making it important for manufacturers to track product loss and delivery delays. Cameras placed in and around plants make monitoring and tracking goods simple and straightforward for workers as well as plant managers.

Of course, it’s not as simple as mounting a few cameras: the footage from those cameras needs to be easily accessible from anywhere. If video is only accessible at the site itself, it can’t be efficiently shared across different locations and users. The best way to accomplish cross-site sharing is to ensure the video can be viewed through a secure portal, like the Meraki dashboard.

4. Watch for product loss and accidents in the supply chain

Wasted resources are the bane of any manufacturer’s operations, whether it’s raw materials or time. While increases in manufacturing automation have certainly helped to standardize operations and minimize waste caused by user error, humans still play a crucial role in many processes. Cameras can help manufacturing staff easily monitor for product loss and catch accidents before they impact operations downstream.

The food manufacturing space experiences some form of product loss on a fairly regular basis. With high volumes of product being processed regularly, even a small amount of loss can have a substantial financial impact. Just ask Noosa Yoghurt, a premier purveyor of delicious flavored yogurt. At the company’s Bellvue, Colorado facility, cameras deployed on the plant floor help staff look out for incidents of spilled or contaminated milk. According to Network Technician Brandon Colter, these cameras helped the company save at least a few thousand dollars less than a year after the initial deployment. Watch Noosa’s story:

Meraki MV security cameras bring Meraki’s legendary ease-of-use and advanced cloud management capabilities to the camera space. With Meraki MV, manufacturers can ensure quality control, easily monitor activities across multiple locations, and improve the overall efficiency of their operations. To learn more about the benefits manufacturers can gain from deploying Meraki MV, check out the MV for Manufacturing solution guide.