When Cisco Meraki introduced MV security cameras two years ago, the goal was to create a product for an industry that had seen little in the way of fresh, innovative approaches to solving common problems in decades. MV featured a new architecture that fundamentally made the business of installing, managing, and interacting with security cameras easier, more enjoyable, and less resource-intensive.
A year and a half later, MV12 came into the picture and brought advanced analytics to the MV family, including computer vision powered by machine learning—all without the need for any servers or additional software complexity. But with the introduction of in-dashboard analytics came tons of questions about additional analytics capabilities.
Today, MV Sense joins the MV family as a tool to help users create better, smarter business solutions. MV Sense is the first installment in a broader analytics category called Meraki IQ, a powerful class of intelligently processed data delivered via simple APIs.
Further underpinning this dedication to enabling customers to make use of cameras as sensors, the MV lineup grows to include MV22 and MV72, indoor and outdoor varifocal cameras featuring the same powerful processor as MV12.
The in-dashboard analytics tools found on MV smart cameras—motion heat maps and person detection/tabulating—can provide users a wealth of high level information about foot traffic and behavior patterns, but the use cases for MV’s machine learning algorithms are so vast and varied that we wanted our customers to be able to take advantage of it in their own way. Enter MV Sense, a new way for customers to interact with and build on top of the person detection data that comes out of MV12, MV22, and MV72 cameras. Each MV Sense license allows users to access person detection data produced by a camera (including location, time, and count) via a set of both RESTful and MQTT-based APIs.
This means that those once far-fetched or cost-prohibitive ideas can become a reality. MV Sense allows for solutions that do things like:
Trigger a special in-store media display to begin playing if there are more than 10 people in close range of the screens
Understand wait times in grocery queues around the world
Quickly understand and alert emergency personnel if there are people left in a building during a fire drill or evacuation
Set off an alarm if the person count next to a dangerous piece of machinery in a manufacturing facility drops below the safe minimum
The most exciting part? 10 MV Sense licenses will be included with every MV organization to allow for tinkering to begin right away.
Advanced analytics are now available on two new hardware models—a duo of indoor and outdoor varifocal cameras, MV22 and MV72. They feature not only the same processor as MV12, but also many of the same hardware benefits: audio recording, wireless capability, and 256GB of onboard storage, all with the added bonus of optical zoom, which can be configured and adjusted simply via the Meraki dashboard.
MV72 also features increased weather- and impact-resistance ratings from the first generation, IP67 and IK10+. IK10+ happens to be the highest impact resistance rating available, meaning those advanced analytics can now be deployed anywhere and everywhere.
The edge-storage architecture of MV smart cameras was created thoughtfully and deliberately to serve Meraki customers’ needs. This meant building a product that would accommodate those customers who had real-world bandwidth constraints and limitations. Still, there are times when it’s necessary for particular cameras in a fleet to offload their storage or have a backup of the data, and that’s where the cloud archive tool for MV comes in.
Cloud archive comes in 90- and 180-day storage options and can be enabled on a per-camera basis, allowing for custom-tailored storage solutions for every organization. This means that only critical cameras will back up their video to the cloud and bandwidth limits can be adhered to. Cameras will continue to retain footage locally in addition to the cloud copy, providing redundancy and greater peace of mind.
Providing up-to-date information to the right people at the right time has always been a fundamental driver of telecommunications technology. With Meraki MV security cameras it is exceptionally easy to provide situational awareness to first responders in emergency situations.
Due to its cloud architecture and browser-based interface, the MV system allows any number of police officers or firefighters access to video from any device with a modern web browser. This ability to gain situational awareness in just a few minutes can have a big impact on public safety when a crisis occurs.
Four major attributes of MV’s functionality enable this capability. The first is the automatic delivery of video to remote viewers through the cloud. This automatic cloud stream is dynamically created when the Meraki dashboard detects the user’s device can’t connect directly to the camera for instance, from outside of the building. This secure encrypted video delivery eliminates the need for a VPN and the associated complex configuration.
The Meraki cloud will automatically detect whether the viewing computer is in the same network as the cameras, sending video directly or proxying through the cloud.
The second is that because the cloud acts as a proxy for the video coming from the MV cameras, video is only streamed once from the camera to the cloud but many times from the cloud to the clients. This allows the system to scale in an emergency to allow for many first responders to have access to video simultaneously. This happens automatically and dynamically with no pre-planning or configuration required.
Video streams once from the cameras to the cloud, but can stream to multiple remote computers simultaneously.
Thirdly, the implementation of HLS for video transport means video can stream to any device with a modern web browser. In an emergency situation all you need is access to an Internet-connected device and a web browser: no special computer, no software to install, and no wasted time.
Finally, comprehensive access controls allow for login and video viewing privileges to only be assigned to those who should have them. These privileges can be integrated with existing user databases with Meraki’s support for SAML, or new access can be provisioned directly within a couple of minutes with just a user’s email address.
Combined, Meraki MV’s features offer a new level of capability and customizability when it comes to public safety. When making the right decision is paramount, the value of having rapid access to the right information cannot be overestimated. Contact us today to find out more about MV and to arrange a trial to test the technology for yourself.
The last couple of weeks have shown how vulnerable our connected world can be. Reports of a new wave of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks at a scale beyond what has been seen before are attracting worldwide headlines. With traffic floods now reaching the terabyte scale, only those with global resources and deep pockets can withstand such an onslaught.
“The attack began around 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 20, and initial reports put it at approximately 665 Gigabits of traffic per second.”
KrebsOnSecurity Hit with Record DDoS – KrebsOnSecurity – September 21st 2016
Powering this new wave of cyber weaponry is the Internet of Things (IoT). A nascent breed of devices taking their steps into the world at a time where the value of something is dramatically amplified by its integration into the network. Unfortunately this rapid push to connect everything has not always been balanced with the rapid push to secure the underlying technology architecture.
“That cyberattack was powered by something the internet had never seen before: an army made of more than one million hacked Internet of Things devices.”
How 1.5 Million Connected Cameras Were Hijacked to Make an Unprecedented Botnet Motherboard – September 29th 2016
One of the unwilling device types in these recent attacks are IP enabled security cameras. These cameras and recording systems are typically well connected and remotely accessed. When this is combined with poorly implemented web interfaces, default passwords, and a lack of cyber security oversight, systems are effectively waiting to be exploited.
“Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks last week, prompting fresh concern about the vulnerability of millions of “smart” devices”
The Meraki MV Security Camera delivers on the promise of simple connected devices without security compromise. At the heart of MV is the same core software powering other Meraki devices like wireless access points and security appliances. This code has been honed over the last 10 years, battle tested in the most demanding of locations, and it provides the most secure control infrastructure of any security camera available.
All MV management traffic and video transport is encrypted by default: it’s not even possible to configure MV to operate without encrypted communications. Administrative access to the cameras is only available through the Meraki dashboard, an interface that can be secured with advanced technologies such as two factor authentication.
Beyond the individual devices, the Meraki infrastructure is housed in SSAE16 / SAS70 Type II certified data centres, undergoes daily penetration testing, and is covered by our security rewards program. These policies and processes allow us to meet the most rigorous of customer requirements, including the need to be PCI compliant.
The initial savings of a low cost or consumer grade security camera system may prove expensive later on. If it is trivial for cameras to be used to attack legitimate businesses and other organisations, how much extra effort would it take for someone to start snooping through those same cameras?
With the advent of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the MV team will be posting more information on MV’s security architecture to highlight our commitment to a safe world of connected devices. Until then, for further information please contact us to find out more.