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
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!
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.