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.
Video access is a powerful tool. Knowing this, it helps to ensure that the right people get timely and secure access to video when needed.
While current camera permissions on the Meraki dashboard allow a lot of flexibility, they may not be the quickest way to share video. For this purpose, we have added the ability to share live video externally to non-dashboard users. Admins like school principals or branch managers can now easily share live video to emergency response personnel or temporary workers when additional situational awareness is needed. Because these links expire, security camera administrators can rest easy, knowing sensitive information is protected.
On top of this, users need to be accountable when they are accessing video to ensure the system is not abused. With the new video access log, site managers can verify if employees are accessing video for legitimate business reasons. Network administrators can now also monitor the number and length of video viewing sessions to mitigate bandwidth usage spikes.
Share live video to non-dashboard users
An admin can now quickly share live video externally to any email address. These links expire and can be revoked, so admins can be certain no one can get access to sensitive information unless required.
On a network with many camera users and custom permissions, it can be extremely valuable to have a clear audit log of who is accessing video through the Meraki dashboard and how. The video access log provides network administrators with information on who’s doing what with video in your network.
The log includes access-related actions for all cameras within the network, including:
Video viewed locally
Video viewed through cloud access
Video viewing session ended
Video export created
Video export deleted
Video export downloaded
Video export link created
Video range paused
Video range unpaused
Video range deleted
Snapshot created via API
Learn more by visiting the Meraki Documentation site, and try using these features today! We would love to hear your use cases and thoughts on the external stream feature and video access log, on the Meraki Community.
Since its launch in 2016, the MV smart camera has been making the deployment of security cameras hassle-free for network administrators and security camera specialists. With onboard storage and management through the Meraki dashboard, from anywhere, the MV camera is essentially plug-and-play. However, for larger deployments with different coverage scenarios and target use cases, one can spend a lot of time and a lot of clicks customizing settings across all cameras and networks.
With the new quality and retention profiles and APIs, you can now deploy your cameras faster than ever before.
Bulk configure using profiles on the dashboard
Each camera deployment faces unique requirements. Some cameras, like the ones facing entrances, or monitoring important assets, may need to record with the highest resolution, frame rate and bitrate, for the most amount of detail when identifying faces. Some sites have strict retention requirements and may require scheduled recording, motion-based retention and the lowest resolution and quality. With profiles, everything under the camera’s “Quality and retention” tab can be combined together and applied in one go.
After creating quality and retention profiles on the dashboard, you can then easily select multiple cameras within a network and bulk-assign them the same settings.
Bulk-assign a profile to a number of cameras through the nodes list page
More information on using the quality and retention profiles can be found on the Meraki Documentation site.
Work even smarter using APIs
On top of being able to use profiles to quickly apply settings to multiple cameras, you can work even faster by using a number of APIs that provide more freedom and automation.
You can perform the following actions using APIs:
Quality and retention profiles (for a given network)
List the quality retention profiles
Create new quality retention profile
Retrieve a single quality retention profile
Update an existing quality retention profile
Delete an existing quality retention profile
Individual quality and retention settings (for a given camera)
Return a list of all camera recording schedules
Return quality and retention settings
Update quality and retention settings (individually, or using a profile)
When you need to get video off of a security camera – say for evidence collection after an incident – you want it to be simple. With MV smart cameras, video can be exported from the camera and uploaded to the cloud in just a few steps. As simple as exports are to set up, there are times that users may want to wait to export video after hours, as they do require upstream WAN bandwidth. Before, this would require logging into the dashboard at a later time to export the video, but the newly released scheduled exports allows a user to set and forget.
Schedule Video Exports to Minimize Disruptions
With scheduled exports, users can select the video they’d like to export from their security cameras, and choose the time most convenient for exporting. Scheduling exports after hours can help reduce the potential bandwidth impact on other business critical applications, allowing your organization to run more smoothly.
Scheduling video for export is easy in the Meraki dashboard
Scheduling video for export is easy. Once you’ve navigated to the desired video time, select the “Share” drop down, and the export video option. You can drag the sliders on the video timeline to adjust the length of the export, or use the date/time boxes at the top of the video stream. Then, choose the date and time that you’d like the video to be exported, and select “export”.
Download or Share Video Clips After Export
After export, the file will be available for download or sharing in the dashboard by selecting the “Share” drop down, and then “Show recent exports”. Video clips are saved for 12 months in the dashboard, during which time they can be downloaded to a computer as an MP4 file. Need to share the video with someone outside the organization? Generate a shareable link within the dashboard to send, and they’ll be able to download the file via the unique URL.
Interested in learning more on exporting videos, or MV smart cameras? See our documentation for more information on how exporting video works, or check out a webinar for an overview of our MV smart camera line. Let us know what you think about the new feature on the Meraki Community page.
As Meraki users are well aware, one of the benefits of the cloud management is seamless updates. We talked about the security benefits of automatic firmware upgrades in our recent blog post, “Security Starts with Simplicity.” Another advantage is getting new features and functionality without doing any extra work. Starting today, MV smart camera users have access to several new and upgraded features designed to make the solution even easier to use, and offer additional value.
Timeline Navigation Changes
The timeline may not be something people think about as a feature, but it’s a core part of how users interact with video. Our goal has been to make that experience as simple as possible. Natural language processing is one example of this — users can type in “yesterday evening” or “a week ago at noon” to access to the corresponding video. Now, users have new options for fluidly navigating the timeline using the scroll wheel on a mouse or the equivalent controls on a touchpad:
Zoom in and out by scrolling on a mouse.
Move forward or backward in the timeline bar by swiping on a touchpad, or shift+scroll on a mouse.
Finally, in a motion search, slider bars will appear on the timeline to indicate the time range for the results. Search results default to the middle 50% of the current visible timeline bar, and can be adjusted by moving the slider bars or changing the start and end date selectors above the motion search results. Refer to our documentation for more information on timeline navigation.
Motion Alerts 2.0
Motion alerts was one of our most requested features post-launch, and our engineering team granted that wish early last year. Alerts could be scheduled, and configured for the full frame or area of interest. When Motion Recap was released, images were included with motion alert emails to make alerts easier to understand. But our engineering team wasn’t going to stop there. They’ve been working on ways to make motion alerts better by making them more meaningful, and potentially reducing the frequency of false alerts.
Motion alerts 2.0 offers new tools to select motion sensitivity levels and multiple areas of interest, allowing for greater flexibility. The average expected motion alerts per day are now displayed in the dashboard, making it easy to understand the impact of any configurations made. For more information, check out our motion alerts documentation.
With this new release, MV smart cameras are getting a little smarter. In 2018, we announced advanced analytics with people detection. Now, using the same ML/AI capabilities, MV cameras will be able to detect vehicles in the frame of the camera. The vehicle detection model will be enabled on outdoor cameras (MV72), and vehicle count information will be displayed in the dashboard in the same format as people count is today.
The ability for the camera to detect vehicles opens a variety of new applications. In addition to being able to discover motion events with vehicles more quickly, vehicle traffic and trends can be easily monitored in areas like parking lots or garages. Vehicle detection data is also available via the MV Sense API, allowing for custom integrations and applications. Check out our MV Object Detection documentation article for more information on vehicle detection.
Camera Field of View in Maps
Rounding out the list of new features is an enhancement to maps and floorplans. In December 2018, we added cameras to maps and floorplans. Now, the camera field of view (FoV) can be displayed for easy reference. The MV32 (fisheye) camera view is indicated by a circle, while other models will have a directional triangle. Simply use your mouse to position the FoV as needed. You’ll find more information about placing cameras in maps and floorplans in our documentation article, here.
How will you use the new features with your MV camera deployment? Share your plans and let us know what you think in the Meraki Community!
A puzzle is a picture broken up into hundreds of pieces. An individual piece doesn’t offer much insight into the big picture, but as more pieces are connected, the story becomes clearer. Physical security is similar in that one piece of information about a single event doesn’t always provide a clear picture of what actually happened.
Say that a security team receives an alert with two pieces of information:
A door was propped open for 60 seconds.
An employee badge, Sarah’s to be specific, was used to unlock the door.
What should the security team do? The answer depends on the circumstances. Was it actually Sarah using her badge? Why was the door open for so long? Was there tailgating, and if so, who else came in? Video can help answer these questions, but how do you know when and where to look? To make sense of events faster and get the complete picture, video and access control systems need to work together.
Get Answers More Quickly
Fortunately, Meraki MV smart camera APIs make it easy to provide video context to establish the validity of things like access control logs. The video link API can be used to pair video footage with access control events. The snapshot API can retrieve a snapshot from the relevant camera for more immediate context on a given event, in this case a person badging in.
This means when there is an alert, or an event needs to be reviewed, it’s easy for the user to quickly understand what happened. With this type of integration in the scenario above, security could have easily looked at the snapshot or accessed the relevant video in the dashboard to verify that it was Sarah using her badge, and that she propped open the door to carry in a couple of boxes.
The Sequr Platform make it easy to access relevant video from your MV smart cameras
MV Integration is Built into the Sequr Platform
While the APIs are available for anyone to use, Sequr has made it even easier for customers using their cloud access control system. The Sequr platform integration with Meraki MV smart cameras make it quick and easy to get started. Once the API key has been entered, simply map cameras to doors and start monitoring access control logs with Meraki MV smart cameras.
In the Sequr platform, a video link to the relevant feed will appear next to each event. Selecting the link will launch the camera in the Meraki dashboard and play video for the event. Sequr users can also configure the system to create a short video clip, viewable in the Sequr platform. The videos can also be included in alerts, sent via email or to a messaging platform, making it even easier for teams to quickly assess events.
MV smart camera video clips can be included with alerts on the Sequr platform
Last week, several members from the Meraki product management and product marketing teams huddled in the webinar room at our SF headquarters to present the Meraki Quarterly. The Quarterly takes place every three months and highlights new product innovations that took place over the last quarter. The intent of the Quarterly is not only to keep customers informed about the latest and greatest updates from Meraki, but also to provide customers with an opportunity to get their questions answered by Meraki product experts.
While we were thrilled to see over one thousand registrants for last week’s webinar, we recognize that not all those who registered were able to attend and that some people would prefer a written summary over watching an hour-long webinar. For these folks, here’s a recap of what we discussed.
1. Meraki MV: Small improvements, big impact
The MV smart camera line took a major step forward in April when we introduced the MV32 — our first fisheye camera with the capability to capture 180° of footage — and Motion Recap 2.0, which helps IT admins see motion at a glance by capturing motion in a single image. In the last few months, we’ve made Motion Recap more useful by making the images it captures available in Motion Alert emails and by providing admins the option to disable Motion Recap for bandwidth-constrained networks.
But Motion Recap isn’t the only thing we’ve been working on in the world of MV. We also introduced export checksums, which helps admins ensure that exported footage hasn’t been tampered with, and we extended the retention of exported video to 12 months. Admins now also have the ability to retain captured video when moving a camera from one network to another — e.g., from one office location to another. Finally, a small but useful improvement in the Meraki dashboard is that users no longer lose the tab they’re on (e.g., “Quality and Retention” or “Analytics”) when paging through different cameras.
2. Systems Manager: Playing games and taking names
Customers in every industry use Meraki Systems Manager (SM), Cisco’s official endpoint management tool, to manage devices of all stripes. But there’s one industry that’s particularly excited about SM: education. To help IT admins in education, teachers, and students get excited about SM, we hosted an escape room game at ISTE 2019, the largest K-12 technology show in the US. SM was a key part of the game, with players using SM to solve various puzzles by performing common tasks, like deploying apps and documents to devices.
This past quarter, we also announced a couple of enhancements to SM on the dashboard side. Building and deploying custom profiles is now a lot more scalable and simpler than before thanks to the ability to automate custom Apple profiles with variables; admins no longer have to manually build these profiles one by one. Additionally, end users who want access to corporate email can now upload their own identity certificates through the Self-Service Portal, so IT admins no longer have to create certificates for all their users. These certificates will appear in the Meraki dashboard, so admins will continue to be aware of all the end users with access to corporate email.
3. Why-Fi 6? We’ll tell you
One of our most exciting product launches in recent memory took place this past quarter as we debuted the newest Meraki wireless access points, the MR45 and MR55, equipped with Wi-Fi 6. The new wireless standard is far from a mere spec bump; Wi-Fi 6 is a meaningful step forward that enables higher throughput, higher density, and greater energy efficiency. With features like Target Wake Time, MU-MIMO, and dual 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios, the MR45 and MR55 set the standard for the next generation of wireless.
Of course, talking about Wi-Fi 6 isn’t as fun as seeing it deployed live. To that end, during the Quarterly, we highlighted a few real-life deployments of the MR45 and MR55. One of the first deployments of Meraki Wi-Fi 6 was McLaren, the automotive company, where the new APs proved so popular that different teams were moving the APs around to serve their own high density and high throughput purposes. Wi-Fi 6 also proved a popular draw at the US Open, where over 350 of the latest Meraki APs blanketed the course and allowed players and spectators to share, tweet, post, and communicate to their heart’s content.
4. A switch in time saves nine
As any IT admin knows, switches are a crucial part of any network deployment. In the Quarterly, we started by discussing a few key trends we’ve recently observed that are shaping the world of switching: live video streaming & video-first services, more PoE-capable devices, a steady evolution of always-on, power-hungry IoT devices, and inadequate uplink capacity. To address these needs, we just introduced the MS125 access layer switch, which helps admins future-proof their networks by offering 4x10G SFP+ uplinks.
Here’s how the MS125 compares with the MS120 and MS210:
5. Getting Cloudy
Meraki was, of course, born in the cloud, so this is an area of intense excitement for us. First up, this last quarter, we introduced the Meraki Developer Hub and APIs Marketplace, one-stop shops with everything you need to build or buy solutions on top of the Meraki platform. Second, we announced new partner integrations with PagerDuty, Ansible, and OneLogin to help customers make the most of their Meraki deployments. Third, we highlighted action batches and several new endpoints. Finally, we announced that Meraki will be included in a few brand new DevNet certifications coming in early 2020.
That’s a lot of cloud and API announcements! To get a full sense for the Meraki APIs story, sign up for our next Cloud Services and APIs webinar.
6. Security and SD-WAN
Over the last quarter, the Meraki MX team has been hard at work to make our security and SD-WAN appliances more flexible and easier to manage. One of the ways we’ve done that is by debuting a whole new host of API endpoints so developers can use other applications to configure and manage an MX, whether they want to update the MX Layer 7 firewall rules for an MX network or view and update content filtering settings for group policies.
Something we know lots of our customers will be excited about is the news that HTTPS inspection is now in beta. We haven’t yet announced a final release date, but if you’d like to give this feature a try on your own network, contact your sales engineer, sales rep, or Meraki support!
7. Insight into Insight
With Slack and Office 365 recently suffering server outages, we published a couple of blog posts in the last few weeks about Meraki Insight, our network assurance tool. That doesn’t mean our product team wasn’t making Insight better; over the last quarter, we’ve enhanced Meraki Insight with some great new UI improvements designed to make it easier to use and navigate. First, a new Web App Health Details interface improves the troubleshooting experience and helps admins make correlations quicker:
Second, in the WAN Health section, two new fields are available: % capacity, which shows what percentage of upload and download capacity are being used on a particular uplink, and a notes field, which admins can use to take any notes they want about one or more uplinks.
7. Last, but not least
Aside from product updates, we’ve focused on improving the customer experience in a couple of new areas this past quarter. If you haven’t heard already, we have a new podcast, Meraki Unboxed, to give you an inside look at our company. Additionally, the always-thriving Meraki Community recently announced its first set of All-Stars, ten outstanding contributors to our community forum. Congrats to these winners — keep the conversations flowing!
If you made it all the way down here, a sincere thank you for reading all about the latest developments at Meraki. Make sure to tune in to our next Quarterly in October. We don’t want to spoil anything now, but we promise that we’ll have lots more news to share then!
Organizations are rich with information sources, from point-of-sale solutions and IoT sensors to camera systems and wireless access points. This data promises to optimize workplace processes and improve services by offering insights into customer behavior. But to truly take advantage of these benefits and make data-driven business decisions, organizations must find a way to connect their various data sources, presenting a complex challenge that can be difficult to execute in reality.
Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) is one organization that has figured it out. MDPLS started with an ambitious goal — to provide personalized, relevant, and timely experiences to more than six million annual visitors across their 50 library branches in Miami-Dade County, Florida. To do this, MDPLS needed to understand unique differentiators about each library, such as how many guests they served, when the busiest times were, and what services were the most popular. By using APIs in combination with data and analytics, they were able to collect this valuable information and turn it into actionable insights.
In order to identify the personalized services and content required at each library, MDPLS needed to determine what data sources to pull from. The wired and wireless network was one clear choice to gather insights into how the different libraries were being used. However, with a lean IT team and tight government budgets, a complex networking solution that required additional analytics tools and resources couldn’t be justified. The small team needed a comprehensive, easy-to-manage solution that could provide the reliable connection visitors expected, while also providing data and analytics to improve library experiences. The MDPLS team was able to meet these requirements by implementing Cisco Meraki cloud-managed access points and switches. The browser-based Meraki dashboard enables complete visibility and control with the entire network being managed from one place, simplifying day-to-day maintenance and troubleshooting.
However, collecting network data was just the first step. The IT team then needed to decide which other IoT or connected devices they wanted to implement to collect additional data. The MDPLS team started this next phase with Meraki MV smart cameras. Like the rest of their Meraki products, the cameras are managed through the same cloud-based dashboard, streamlining the management of all their IT devices. The added benefit of on-camera storage also eliminated the need for a network video recorder (NVR) and its associated software, greatly simplifying the deployment and ongoing maintenance for the IT and facilities teams.
Above all, the most important element of the smart cameras for MDPLS is the built-in machine learning-based analytics. This enables the cameras to anonymously detect and count people, find incidences faster and with more accuracy, and understand where people are moving throughout specific areas, without additional software, servers, or complex configurations. By setting up a camera at each library entrance, the MDPLS team can better understand the number of people entering and exiting throughout the day and learn the overall number of library visitors. Additional cameras throughout the libraries help MDPLS understand what library services are being used and what content is the most popular based on where people are moving and congregating.
In addition to their Meraki access points, switches, and cameras, MDPLS had additional data sources to consider, including book checkout machines, library-owned computers, and more. In order to take advantage of these different data sources, they needed to find a way to collect the data in a digestible format. Using the Meraki API, the team pulls relevant data from the access points, switches, cameras, along with library data, into a cohesive, custom-built dashboard that shows important information about the library system. By having insight into this data, including how many people are visiting each library, the number of people that are using the Wi-Fi on their personal devices versus the library computers, what types of books are being checked out, and what other library resources are being used, the MDPLS leadership is able to determine what additional services and resources their visitors may need. This, in turn, helps to inform them where budget adjustments or additions are needed. With 50 different libraries spread across a very diverse area, being able to ensure the needs of each branch are being met is key to the library system’s success.
To learn more about theMDPLS Meraki deployment and how they are using data and analytics to make decisions, watch the webinar recording with Julio Campa, Systems Support Manager for MDPLS. You will see a live demo of their Meraki dashboard and hear some great insights into their deployment. Watch now.
With the rise of more advanced video editing software, it can be hard to separate fantasy from reality. As realistic as they may look on the big screen, dinosaurs and heroes with superhuman strength don’t really exist (yet). While these special effects belong in movies and TV shows, they have no place in video surveillance. With the new calculate checksum feature on MV video exports, you can rest easy knowing that no changes have been made to downloaded footage. When you rely on video for evidence, it is imperative to be able to ensure its authenticity.
Real or Fake? Pineapple gets eaten by dinosaurs in Meraki San Francisco office
For every generated MV export, Cisco Meraki provides you with the original file’s checksum for as long as the export is viewable on the dashboard. Every time you need to verify that any copy of the exported video is legitimate, you can use any terminal to calculate this copy’s checksum and compare it to the one provided on the dashboard. If they match, the video is identical. Otherwise, it has been corrupted or tampered with.
When do I need this?
While all Meraki MV exports contain a date and time stamp burnt into the video, there are a variety of circumstances in which additional verification provided by checksum may be desirable. A few examples include:
Chain of Custody:If you need to present a video clip as evidence and want to prove that it was not tampered with in any way.
Export Download:If you want to verify that your export download went smoothly and did not suffer any transmission errors, especially if it’s a large file that took several minutes to download.
File Transfer: If you want to verify that the stored video export has not been corrupted, especially if transferring the file between different locations.
For more information, check out our article on Sharing Video on the Documentation Portal.
Typically, when we write these MV-related blog posts, we love to highlight the challenges that a particular feature will help you overcome, or the frustration that a new solution will help ease. Other times, we want to be a little bit more flashy. This is one of those times.
With the recent launch of Cisco Meraki’s second generation of MV cameras, customers can now take advantage of three zooming features on both their indoor and outdoor cameras: optical zoom (available on MV22 and MV72 only), sensor crop, and digital zoom. While each is powerful in isolation, when combined, these three features allow you to achieve truly dramatic levels of magnification on your video feed while maintaining extremely high video quality.
Just how dramatic is the zoom? Let’s take a look below.
What you can accomplish today with MV
The following images show the progression of an image when each zoom option is applied. The first photo shows the video feed from an MV72 outdoor camera with no zoom applied. You can see something is on the table in the far corner of the patio, but not much else.
Screenshot from MV72 video feed with no zooming applied
The next image shows a maxed out optical zoom, focused on the table area. We can start to see something take shape, and that shape looks suspiciously like a gnome.
Screenshot from MV72 with optical zoom applied
In the next image, we use sensor crop to focus in on an even smaller area. Sensor crop, like optical zoom, is lossless zoom, meaning there is no loss of detail or stretching of pixels. Things are starting to look a little clearer, and we can definitely tell this is one of those mischievous Meraki gnomes.
Screenshot from MV72 with optical zoom and sensor crop
For an extra bit of fun, let’s see what happens when we use digital zoom. Maybe we’ll be able to identify which Meraki gnome it is. Can you guess?
In-dashboard digital zoom of the MV Gnome
With digital zoom, now you can see that this gnome is sitting on what looks like a security camera. It’s the MV gnome! (Did you expect any different?)
Digital zoom can be used on live and historical footage. Keep in mind, though, that that sensor crop and optical zoom only apply to footage that was recorded after you applied the settings to the camera. You cannot apply sensor crop and optical zoom on historical footage. So, the dramatic level of zoom illustrated above is only possible if optical zoom and sensor crop were already applied before using digital zoom.
If configured properly, your MV cameras can truly can give you (gnome) portraits from pixels.