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!
Every three months, like clockwork, the product marketing team at Cisco Meraki shares a retrospective look at what’s been going on behind the scenes at Meraki. Why? We know our customers and partners want to hear regular updates on what’s new at Meraki as we continue to introduce new products and features. The Meraki Quarterly webinar is our answer to that request.
The Quarterly is an hour-long webinar in which thousands of attendees get the opportunity to hear from the Meraki product marketing team and have their questions answered live. We love hosting the Quarterly, but we realize that not everyone can take an hour out of their busy schedules to watch the webinar. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to attend or simply want a written recap of what we discussed, here’s a comprehensive look at what the team covered during our April 2019 Quarterly.
The Meraki MV smart cameras team has been on a tear recently, launching new products and features to our fast-growing camera product. Since our last launch in November, the team has debuted new software and hardware to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.
Throughout the quarter, customers have seen several software enhancements to the MV experience. The new Snapshot API is a RESTful API that makes it possible for third party applications to request a snapshot capture from an MV camera. The Snapshot API, when used in conjunction with MV motion alerts, can make it easier for security admins to make more informed decisions by giving these admins more context (a snapshot) when they receive a motion alert. Another software enhancement makes it possible for MV to detect lux levels in a particular scene and take action based on these readings. For instance, if light is suddenly detected inside a room that’s normally supposed to remain dark (e.g., a supply closet), a security admin can be sent a notification.
More recently, we launched several major updates to the MV product line. These include a new version of MV Motion Search (which we creatively named Motion Search 2.0), Motion Recap, and a brand new camera: the MV32 fisheye camera with historical digital pan, tilt, and zoom. You can read more in the detailed blog post.
2. Systems Manager: DEP Improvements, New Sentry Features, and More
Cisco’s official endpoint management solution, Meraki Systems Manager (SM), continues to become more flexible and robust. First up are some improvements to SM’s integration with Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, or DEP. It’s now possible to add, remove, and edit multiple DEP servers within the same organization in the Meraki dashboard — so a county’s library system, for example, can have a DEP server at each branch while managing all of them under a single organization. Additionally, admins can now set a DEP profile to be automatically assigned to newly synced devices. SM also features support for activation lock bypass on Apple devices.
We’ve also made some updates to Systems Manager Sentry, which is a collection of integrations between SM and Meraki MR & MX:
Network admins can now configure SSIDs so only devices with an SM profile installed can connect to the SSID.
Wi-Fi can deployed to devices based on certain criteria, eliminating the need to manage a certificate authority, RADIUS server, or public key infrastructure.
Sentry VPN lets admins provision client VPN automatically using Meraki VPN, while controlling access based on certain criteria.
Sentry Policies ensure that only devices that meet a certain set of criteria (e.g., aren’t jailbroken) can connect to the network.
3. Meraki MR: Setting the Stage for the Future of Wireless
In January, shortly after our last quarterly webinar, the Meraki engineering team released a public beta of the MR26.1 firmware. In addition to improving stability and reliability, this update comes with a few great features. First, Cisco Umbrella, the cloud-based DNS security solution, now integrates with the Meraki dashboard, so network admins can import security policies built in Umbrella into the Meraki dashboard and apply these policies to specific SSIDs. There’s also an alternate management interface, which lets an AP source its management traffic from an IP address other than that of the default management VLAN. Finally, admins can now enforce mandatory DHCP and prevent devices with statically assigned IP addresses from wirelessly connecting to the network.
Of course, we know as much as anyone else that the networking world has been abuzz about the next generation of Wi-Fi: 802.11ax, also known as Wi-Fi 6. Meraki is excited about this new wireless standard, and on April 29, all will be revealed about our strategy and plans. Mark your calendars for Cisco’s live webinar in which you’ll learn more about Cisco’s Wi-Fi 6 strategy across both the Meraki and Catalyst portfolios.
4. Switching Things Up with Meraki Switches
As Wi-Fi 6 APs enter the marketplace, switches need to be able to keep up with gigabit speeds. That’s why at the end of January, we introduced the MS450, which packs over 1.3Tb/s of switching capacity, 100Gb/s QSFP28 uplinks, and 400Gb/s of stacking capacity. If that wasn’t enough, the MS450 can be paired with the MS355 multigigabit switches we introduced back in November 2018, a combination ideal for extremely demanding environments.
In addition to this new hardware, the MS team has unleashed new firmware for Meraki switches, MS11. This firmware update comes with IPv6 Multicast Listener Discovery, improved stacking and scaling capabilities, and an alternate management interface. Moreover, for customers with MS350 or MS355 series switches who have two power supplies connected to a switch, there’s now the option to either use one power supply as backup or to use both power supplies in concert to supply PoE for more ports than normal. Now that’s what we call powerful!
5. Cloud & API Milestones
Just under two years ago, we announced that we had hit 1 million Meraki networks around the globe, a fantastic milestone we were proud of. This month, we were even more elated to reveal that we just hit the 2 million mark — a doubling in less than two years! That kind of growth shows just how prescient the decision Meraki’s founders make to move networking to the cloud truly was. Today, we’re continuing to find ways to take advantage of the cloud in every which way possible, including building out a wide set of APIs that third party developers can use.
Already, we’ve seen significant adoption of our APIs (over 70,000 application developers and 30 million API calls a day!), and over the last few months, we’ve added a whole host of new API endpoints across the MS, MX, MV, and SM:
Meraki is continuing to push for more extensibility across our entire product line. To learn more, visit https://create.meraki.io/.
6. All Things MX
The Meraki MX is a versatile box. Though it started out as purely a security appliance, over the years, Meraki engineers have packed it with more and more functionality, including SD-WAN and network insight. In the last few months, we have made several improvements in all of these areas.
First, we have added tag-based IPsec VPN failover. What’s that? Simply put, it’s now possible to do failover from one data center to another. This documentation page explains how it works in more detail.
We also announced during the Quarterly that public betas are now available for an integration between the MX and Cisco Umbrella (similar to the just-launched MR/Umbrella integration) and for IKEv2. The latter includes support for route-based VPNs and stronger encryption algorithms for non-Meraki VPNs. To enable these betas, get in contact with Meraki Support.
Lastly, we announced full general availability of Meraki Insight across the MX portfolio. Attend an upcoming webinar to learn more, or if you’re ready to dive in and try it out, start a free trial!
Phew! That was a lot. If you’re still hungry for more details, we encourage you to watch the full webinar recording. And don’t forget — the Meraki Community is open 24/7 if you’re looking to chat with like-minded folks about the latest happenings here at Cisco Meraki.
Every quarter, the Cisco Meraki product marketing team presents a comprehensive review of new product introductions and improvements released over the previous three months. By keeping customers informed on a regular basis about what’s new at Meraki, we hope to help them make the most of their Meraki deployments.
While the Meraki Quarterly consistently enjoys excellent attendance, we’re cognizant of the fact that many IT admins find it difficult to find the time to watch an hour-long webinar. For those who haven’t found the time to watch the full webinar, here’s a quick recap of some of the material we went over earlier this month.
1. Improvements to Maps and floor plans
Meraki network admins have long enjoyed viewing their MR access points on floor plans in the Meraki dashboard. This helps in optimizing indoor and outdoor wireless coverage and figuring out where to place new access points.
Now, admins can map MS switches and MV cameras in addition to their access points. We think this is an exciting development for MV in particular, since mapping cameras can help admins ensure that important areas receive the surveillance coverage they need. Read more about the newest member of your floor plans.
2. An update on MX LTE deployments
Back in August 2018, Meraki introduced a slew of new MX security and Z-Series teleworker appliances, with a few new models that come with integrated LTE. By baking LTE right into the product instead of forcing admins to attach a separate cellular dongle, we hoped to give IT admins a new level of visibility into their connections and the ability to leverage a new set of APIs to make these MX models a new platform to build new capabilities on top of. Just five months later, we’re pleased to report that organizations worldwide have embraced this vision.
In the webinar, we briefly discussed how a few Meraki customers have taken unique advantage of our MX models with built-in LTE. Here are a couple of examples:
A globally distributed food processing company previously paid for an expensive secondary uplink to augment its primary uplink, afraid of the downtime that could occur if the primary uplink failed. After deploying new MX models with built-in LTE, the company not only saved money by replacing the secondary uplink with a less expensive LTE backup, but also gained centralized visibility via the Meraki dashboard of all uplinks.
A media company with numerous locations around the United States needed the ability to stream multiple streams of live video from branch sites back to headquarters. Relying solely on one ISP simply wasn’t an option, so the company deployed MX security appliances as well as Z-Series teleworker devices, both equipped with LTE connections, to arm employees in different locations with reliable connectivity back to HQ.
Watch the webinar for additional ideas of ways your organization can leverage the power of MX + LTE.
3. Endpoint management becomes even simpler
Since its debut, Meraki Systems Manager (SM) has offered customers a comprehensive endpoint management solution that brings device management, application management, content management, and mobile identity under a single umbrella. This past quarter, the Systems Manager team was hard at work at making SM even easier and more powerful. These improvements include:
A revamped Applications page that makes it simpler to perform bulk operations (e.g., update or delete) and search for just the right app
A new Target Groups feature that gives admins more flexibility in delivering apps, profiles, and configurations to the right groups of devices
Support for tvOS, enabling education, retail, and hospitality customers to manage and deploy Apple TVs en masse
Enhanced Windows 10 support and smoother enrollment processes for Android devices
Finally, we highlighted a new Customer Success Training program available for customers who purchase at least 200 SM licenses. This training gives customers the opportunity to engage one-on-one with a Systems Manager expert for assistance with deploying and configuring SM across different devices.
4. MV smart cameras make massive moves
Meraki MV smart cameras took a major leap forward last November with the launch of two new hardware models, extensible analytics capabilities, and a new cloud archive option. Since then, the MV team has hardly rested on its laurels, continuing to work hard to bring new improvements to the experience of managing cameras in the Meraki dashboard.
In addition to the aforementioned ability to place MVs on maps and floor plans, admins can now use up to 12x digital zoom to get a close look at live and historical footage and set up rotating video walls to monitor multiple scenes from one place. Additionally, admins can gain access to more detailed analytics with configurable zones. As an example, a large department store could organize multiple MVs scattered throughout the men’s area under a single “Men’s Zone” and use the MV’s people counting capabilities to see how many people navigate through the men’s area in a certain timespan, whether they’re looking at men’s pants, shirts, or shoes.
Finally, during the webinar, we took a deep dive at MV Sense, a set of integrations that let admins build interesting business solutions that leverage the data collected by MV cameras. To provide a bit of inspiration, we highlighted a few fun use cases that Meraki has built involving Nerf guns, a piano, and a light that changes color based on how many people are detected in the frame!
5. A deeper look at APIs
Did you know that one out of every five Meraki customers is using APIs? We’re incredibly pleased with the uptake of our API offerings. During the quarterly webinar, we walked through a whole host of new features and enhancements recently made to the Meraki dashboard API. For example, webhook alerts now let you subscribe to cloud-based alerts in any receiving service, and admins can use templates to configure many different syslog servers at once.
Visit apps.meraki.io for turnkey solutions developed by Meraki and third-party developers. To learn how to create your own solutions using APIs to build on the Meraki platform, visit create.meraki.io.
The full recording of the January 2019 Meraki Quarterly contains tons more detail, and we encourage you to watch it if possible. If you weren’t able to make it this time around, no worries — we’ll be back in April with another quarterly.
Want to sound off on something we covered? Head to the Meraki Community and let us know your thoughts!