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 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).
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.
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!