This week, the hardware team behind the MC74 were recognized in Essen, Germany, at the 2017 Red Dot Gala. The Red Dot Design Award is an international award for the best product designs, design firms, and design concepts around the world. This was the first time Meraki products were entered, and we were honored to be awarded in the Product Design category.
The MC74 was chosen as a winner out of more than 5,500 products from 54 countries. The winners were chosen by a jury of 39 experts, and they had high praise for the MC74, saying, “The remarkably discreet desk telephone has a timeless design, offers high user-friendliness and is laid out for years of service.”
As part of the award, the MC74 will be featured in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen until 2018.
The Red Dot helps remind us that here at Meraki, it is important to keep building products with the end user in mind. Good design enables people to do work with less overhead, and that is the standard we strive towards in every product.
With the launch of MV, Meraki has been hitting the road to showcase the security cameras at a new crop of trade shows, including both ISC East and West. Next week, the tour continues to the United Kingdom and Europe at IFSEC, hosted at ExCeL London 20-22 June. MV’s Product Manager George is packed up and ready to go along with our booth:
Come visit booth #F900 to say hi and learn more about our cloud-managed security cameras. We’ll be giving demos on how to use MV and highlighting all the newest features like optimized retention tools and more. Meraki experts will be at the show all three days to answer your questions not just about MV, but our other products as well (wireless, switching, network security, communications, and EMM, oh my!). As usual, we’ll have some Meraki goodies on-hand too. Can’t wait to see you there!
Security cameras can serve a multitude of different functions, from providing live footage to a security guard, to analyzing customer behavior in a retail location, to supplying evidence in a liability claim. With each of these use cases comes a different retention policy. Scheduled recording and motion-based retention, both available in public beta now, allow users to customize their camera settings to match their specific retention needs.
Hot on the heels of some otherproductimprovements in just the last couple of months, the engineering team has worked tirelessly to produce features that would help accommodate the most commonly received request from MV customers.
Scheduled recording minimizes extraneous recording for customers who only use cameras during certain hours—think process controls in a factory—with the potential to greatly extend storage duration. Plus, scheduled recording can be used to disable historical footage altogether in instances where only live footage is needed and/or permissible.
Motion-based retention works differently than other motion-based recording solutions on the market. Instead of triggering a camera to record only when it senses motion, which can often result in false negatives and lost footage, MV uses a hybrid cloud processing approach to give a more reliable result. MV will record all footage and then, using the same motion indexing engine as the Motion Search tool, will gradually and intelligently trim segments of footage which contain no motion. This gives users the flexibility to retain the most recent 72 continuous hours for extra security before trimming out the motionless video. This approach also means that motion-containing video segments can be better padded to ensure no valuable footage is lost.
Based on the motion data from all cameras that have been deployed since launch in October, 95% of MVs are expected to record 30 days or more at Standard image quality.
To enable schedules and motion-based retention, simply choose a camera and go to its settings page. Select the “Quality and Retention” tab. To create a new schedule, select “Scheduled” and “Change Schedules.” Select an already-created schedule te mplate, or “New schedule.” Then, just drag the time sliders to adjust when cameras are recording. Click on any timeline to create multiple recording segments in one day.
Motion-based retention can also be enabled on this page. The chart on this page shows how much motion that specific camera actually captured in the past week. Based on an average of the same time period, the dashboard will provide an estimate of the total retention capacity for the selected camera. Adjusting the image quality from Standard to Enhanced will also affect this value. Use scheduled recording in conjunction with motion-based retention to build the retention plan that works best for you.
Finally, video exports now feature timestamps embedded as watermarks. This small-but-mighty feature update will help provide users a more robust experience, should video need to be shared as evidence with law enforcement. Timestamps include the camera name, date, time, and timezone to ensure absolute clarity when reviewing footage.
Optimized retention is now available in beta. To take advantage of this functionality in your network, go to Network-wide, then click General. At the bottom of the page, select “Yes” in the dropdown menu next to ‘Try beta firmware.’ Please proceed with caution, however, if your cameras are housed in a combined network, as enabling this setting will apply to all device types in that network, not just cameras.
If you still haven’t gotten your hands on an MV trial, be sure to contact us to learn more.
Nestled in the gently rolling hills of rural Virginia, Sweet Briar College is a women’s liberal arts college spanning over 3,200 acres. The campus includes a distant equestrian riding site and other remote facilities connected in some places by winding dirt roads. With such a large campus, keeping an eye on everything becomes as challenging as it does critical.
Over the years, Sweet Briar’s small IT team, led by Chief Technology Officer Aaron Mahler, has been tasked with adding more and more elements to their network, including security cameras. Their ten-year-old legacy system was cumbersome and created extra work for Mahler’s staff. As long-time Meraki customers, the team already understood the value in a cloud-managed system, so they were eager to implement the new cameras.
A large campus with several remote facilities made monitoring during off-hours challenging.
Staff from various parts of the school, including the library and bookstore, were unable to easily and autonomously view video footage in their areas due to the complexity of the video management software.
The historic nature of the campus and its architecture provides extra limitations on networking infrastructure and makes it difficult to house extra hardware without disrupting the beauty of the site.
While the school enjoys great network connectivity, the IT team wanted to ensure that bandwidth was used for mission-critical IT and educational tasks, not just security camera footage.
Sweet Briar’s previous camera system was generally challenging to manage, with a complicated and cumbersome interface.
The team had no way of knowing when cameras went offline or stopped recording, which caused major issues when it came time to recall footage after critical events.
In reference to their old camera system:
“We wish we didn’t have any cameras. They are so unreliable that when someone comes to us for footage and we don’t have it because the camera was offline we get blamed.”
The team installed almost 70 MV cameras across the campus.
MVs in remote parts of the campus are connected via wireless mesh with Meraki APs.
A mix of MV21 and MV71 cameras allows for full coverage both indoors and out.
Mahler’s team assigned granular access controls to staff from various teams, allowing them to monitor only their pertinent areas.
With Meraki MV:
“The ease of use is tremendous. The amount of time savings for your staff, the installation and managing the cameras, and the ease of use for your campus police or security office…are all tremendous selling points for us.”
A relatively small team of campus safety officers can provide a safer environment for students and faculty without having to be everywhere at once. The simple web-based interface and mobile app allow them to easily stay keyed- in to remote areas.
Centralized management and the ability to configure and view video through the Meraki dashboard have saved the Sweet Briar staff—from the IT team to the librarians—a considerable amount of time and effort versus their old system.
With user-based permissions, campus staff in charge of specific facilities can better manage their areas since they no longer require a set of eyes onsite at all times.
Installation posed no major technical or aesthetic issues, even in buildings over 100 years old.
The Motion Search tool allows for staff to quickly identify specific events on campus without manually sifting through hours or days of footage.
The team receives alerts when cameras go offline, allowing them to proactively address the issue before they miss a critical event.
In the enterprise technology industry it is often common practice for important customers, partners, and industry analysts to be presented a roadmap. This long established tradition communicates the vendor’s goals and aspirations for their product, while setting the expectations for the recipient.
In a rapidly changing world this traditional approach can hamper the productivity of small, highly agile teams like those at Meraki. It can artificially force a focus on feature delivery, not on solving customer problems. To ensure the MV team can respond quickly to market changes and customer needs, the team follows a set of goals that help communicate the intent and vision for the future of the product.
The goals underpinning the development plans are split into three areas. These drive our internal discussions and allow parties external to the organisation to determine our priorities, taking the place of a feature by feature roadmap.
Cost reduction through architectural simplification
Firstly we must deliver immediate value. This must be simple to understand and easy to achieve. In the context of MV this is our architecture: centralized cloud control with video stored at the edge. Eliminating the Network Video Recorder (NVR) and Video Management Server (VMS) has immediate up front savings and continued operational savings.
Operational simplification through automation
Next we must ensure that customers benefit during day-to-day operations. An example of this goal is Motion Search’s elimination of the dull and highly time consuming process of reviewing video. MV processes all video on the camera and lets users quickly find the footage of interest.
Business value through intelligence
Finally, we look at how security cameras can offer value beyond their primary purpose. 90+% of recorded video is never viewed, but what if the camera can analyze what it sees without human intervention? Can a camera be seen as a sensor in the context of marketing or occupational safety? MV has not yet delivered in this area, but it is an area of intense interest that will shape the future capability of the product.
The recent launch of Meraki MV security cameras is just the first step on the road. As has been the case with the development of other Meraki products, early adopters of cloud managed technology continue to benefit from ongoing feature development. As Meraki continues to deliver solutions to challenging problems, so existing customers investment in Meraki continues to improve.
Meraki MV security cameras have been on the market for just a couple of weeks now, but their revolutionary new architecture hasn’t gone unnoticed. Breaking boundaries and creating new technologies is nothing new for Meraki. We did it first with wireless when we removed WLAN controllers and servers before moving on to other parts of IT. Because of this, we’re not strangers to the multitude of questions and concerns that can arise from our customers when they first encounter these new and very different architectures.
The release of MV security cameras has been no different. We understand just how important security is to our customers and know that it’s our job to ensure those using MV cameras can rest at ease knowing their offices, schools, and other facilities are well taken care of. This is why our engineering team made it a top priority to implement full, at-rest disk encryption (using AES-256, for those nerdier types), which is now standard for all MV cameras—right alongside native management and transport encryption of video.
Those who have encrypted a personal computer before know that it can take hours to secure all that data, so those plugging in MV cameras for the first time may encounter up to a 20 minute encryption process. Encrypting a computer can also be a huge hassle, but we’ve made sure that our encryption process requires no configuration on the user’s end, in true Meraki fashion. The only thing required is a little bit of patience (we know it will be hard!), as refraining from unplugging the camera during initial boot up will ensure everything goes smoothly. The good news is that cameras only need undergo this encryption process once, so after the initial start up, cameras can be unplugged and restarted with much shorter boot times.
MV, like all of the other Meraki product lines, are cloud-managed, meaning the newest and best features will always be pushed to Meraki devices without any additional cost to our customers. Our engineers carefully process every piece of feedback that comes through our make-a-wish tool located at the bottom of each and every dashboard page, and use these comments to inform what features they work on next.
Full disk encryption was released just a week after MV became available—just imagine what else our engineers have up their sleeves! Meraki’s commitment to data security is just as serious as our commitment to making easy-to-use, yet feature rich products. Don’t miss your chance to participate in the product development process by making a wish.
Anyone who’s had something stolen from their office knows that losing the laptop is only half of the annoyance. After a break-in, traditional video surveillance solutions only add insult to injury, requiring complicated software tools for retrieving video from a recording device (such as an network video record, or NVR for short). All too often, administrators have to export days, or even weeks of footage, and rely on the fast forward button and a strong cup of coffee to spot the incident. This experience that many of our customers have endured highlights the underlying problem with video surveillance solutions: security cameras are only useful if you can find what you’re looking for.
Enter, Meraki MV cameras. MV features a tool called Motion Search, which allows users to retroactively select key areas of a video feed and returns motion events that happened in that area. See how quick and powerful Motion Search is:
We’re incredibly excited to get MV into more people’s hands to hopefully decrease the pain associated not just with loss prevention, but also process control, as well as many other applications yet to be explored. Losing a laptop is bad enough — finding out who did it should be easy.
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.
A big challenge of managing the physical security of a large office, school, or other campus is keeping an eye on what’s important at any given time. One way to help streamline this daunting task is grouping relevant video feeds—whether by location, tag, or anything else—into video walls. This not only helps with the organization of seemingly endless video streams, but also creates screens that can be used in a ‘command center’ setup in the main security office or elsewhere.
In contrast to many hard-to-manage and/or clunky video management software (VMS) packages available today, the browser-based Meraki dashboard provides a simple and streamlined experience. Meraki MV doesn’t require any additional software packages or plugins, and best of all, with the dashboard interface, you can create a video wall in just a few clicks. See it in action:
We offer a variety of live and recorded webinars hosted by Product Specialists focused specifically on K-12 environments and deployments. We were recently joined by Scott D. Miller, Director of Technology at Wayne Highlands School District, who shared his story on managing Meraki APs, switches, security appliances, and MDM. This webinar even features Scott adding a Meraki AP to their network on air!
Last minute E-Rate questions?
Check out our handy customer FAQ to answer your most pressing E-Rate questions. From the basics of the E-Rate program to how Meraki and E-Rate interplay, this will cover it all!
Who doesn’t love a deal?
E-Rate eligible schools and libraries can take advantage of the Meraki K-12 promo*, which offers a steep discount on 5 year licenses associated with new hardware purchases. Reach out to your Meraki rep to learn more about the promotion.
Interested in learning more about K-12 for Meraki in general?
Our K-12 solution guide and customer stories are great places to start! The solution guide provides you with a quick overview of what Meraki can offer K-12 environments, while our customer stories give insight on how current customers are using Meraki and why it’s their solution of choice.
Good luck finishing off the FY16 E-Rate season. Remember, summer break is just a few months away!
*All Meraki hardware and licenses are 100% E-Rate eligible with the exception of MX Advanced Security license (50% eligible) and Systems Manager licenses (not eligible) per the Funding Year 2016 eligible services list. Meraki K-12 Promo running through July 1, 2017.