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.
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
When it comes to our favorite shows, riveting movies, or funny cat videos, some of us can’t get enough screen time. But reviewing security camera footage is another matter. When tasked with going through hours of video to understand what happened during a particular incident or situation, most of us want a way to figure it out as quickly as possible.
What if there were a way to see the entirety of an event in a single image? Motion Recap makes this possible.
Motion Recap takes advantage of the Motion Search 2.0 algorithm, which uses background subtraction to isolate motion. Imagine a person walking down an empty street. Things in the background — buildings, signs, trees, or parked cars — remain unchanged. The only thing that changes is the location of that lone individual. Now imagine that activity as a series of still frames. A Meraki MV Smart Camera analyzes those frames to determine what is the same in each — in other words, the background. When the background is removed, what remains frame over frame is the motion (the individual walking).
A lone individual makes their way down the street.
Motion Recap images are composite images, built in-camera, that summarize a motion event. In the example described above, the Motion Recap image is created by superimposing the individual on the background at set intervals as they make their way down the street. This image allows the viewer to understand the entirety of an event with just a glance, instead of watching a 30 second video clip to see that the person did indeed walk down the street.
The path of a delivery person shown in a Motion Recap image
Find What You’re Looking for, Faster
The new Motion Recap feature on MV smart cameras enables users to find answers without having to watch video. Motion Search results are now displayed as Motion Recap images, allowing users to understand what has happened in video, without ever watching it. Say you need to find out who placed this dog toy on the couch in the video feed below. You use Motion Search to select the dog toy, and the Meraki dashboard returns results containing motion in that area.
Who moved the toy? Isolating activity using Motion Search.
Below are the six Motion Search results, returned as Motion Recap images. We can see the toy is on the ground in the top left image, and on the couch in the bottom middle image. In the fourth result, the bottom left, we can see an individual reaching down to pick up the toy and place it on the couch.
Motion Recap images offer answers without watching video.
Motion Recap images are grouped by events, and each image contains up to 30 seconds of motion. Longer events are made up of multiple images. By selecting any Motion Recap image, we can scroll through to view other images, or watch the corresponding video for that event.
Want to see the demo in action? Check out this video to find out how Motion Search and Motion Recap solve the mystery of who stole the MV Gnome in our office.
Motion Recap image from an MV32 fisheye camera
Motion Recap is now available to all customers with second generation MV smart cameras (models ending in -2). Users can toggle between Motion Recap and list view results using the buttons on the right-hand side. Or, if you prefer the list view, disable Motion Recap completely on the “Quality and retention” tab.
The goal of Cisco Meraki MV cameras has always been to deliver an exceptionally simple experience to customers. Unfortunately, running Ethernet cables across your site to power cameras isn’t always as simple as actually using them. For customers with existing analog camera deployments, the cost of recabling, the associated downtime in coverage, and the rigidity of wired systems were all common barriers for switching to an IP camera system that we knew needed to be addressed.
To that end, we designed the Low-Voltage Power Adapter (LVPA) and introduced wireless functionality into our cameras. Using the LVPA, you can now deploy your second-generation MV cameras without needing to run new cables across your buildings to supply connectivity. Instead, you’ll only need access to AC or DC power (e.g., from your existing analog deployment) and Wi-Fi to get your cameras up and running! This gives you the coverage you need, while minimizing additional overhead costs and downtime.
What does the LVPA actually do?
The LVPA takes AC or DC power input and converts it to PoE output, which is used to power your MV cameras. This eliminates the need to connect to an upstream switch or gateway, as would be required in a traditional deployment. Instead, the LVPA connects to a 12/24V power source, like an outlet or the power cord from an existing analog camera, and outputs PoE to power the MV camera.
Your camera will then use its onboard wireless chip to interface directly with your Wi-Fi access point for all video and data streaming.
You can monitor the status of your wireless configuration by navigating to Cameras > Monitor > Cameras and adding the corresponding columns as shown below. For more information on wireless configuration, read the MV Wireless Configuration Guide.
It’s important to note that camera function does not change at all if deployed wirelessly. Video will still be stored and processed on the edge, meaning it will be retained during temporary network outages — making MV a highly stable and secure alternative to legacy camera setups.
What the LVPA can do for you and your organization
With its flexibility, there are many ways that the LVPA can help simplify your Meraki MV deployment. For a bit of inspiration, here are some of the most exciting ways we see customers leveraging the LVPA today!
Upgrading analog systems – deploy MV smart cameras to get the same coverage with greater simplicity and security, with minimal disruption and downtime.
Remote and outdoor deployments – install cameras with the LVPA in challenging locations, far from the “primary” site.
Temporary site security needs – the LPVA allows you to bring MV and security wherever you need it, even running multiple cameras from one cell signal.
Flexibility and scalability – use the LVPA to add Meraki smart cameras wherever you need them, without being limited by your cable infrastructure or other hardware.
Zero downtime for critical cameras – the LVPA can help minimize downtime during building renovations or other disruptions.
If any of these challenges sound familiar to you, chat with a Meraki sales rep to learn a little bit more about what it will take to deploy MV with the LVPA at your sites.
If you’ve already installed the LVPA at your site,we’d love to hear about your wireless MV deployment on the Meraki Community!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Now imagine along with each motion alert you receive from the Meraki dashboard, you simultaneously obtain a snapshot image from the camera feed to validate the cause of the trigger. Or perhaps you just want to call up a snapshot from your camera because you got word of pesky gnomes drinking tea in your coffee bar… again.
While you may not be trying to catch gnomes sharing a cup of tea together, the power of a picture extends into multiple situations and use cases. You can improve site visibility by accessing a snapshot of your camera feed on-demand from a simple text message, improve video analytics capabilities with third-party API integrations (click here for a cool example), or validate a motion alert with an attached image of the trigger event in your email notification. All of this and more is possible with the new Meraki MV Snapshot API.
The Snapshot API is a new RESTful API endpoint available through the Meraki dashboard that allow you access to a screenshot from your live or historical video. Once enabled, your application can find your camera through an HTTP POST request specifying a unique network ID and serial number. The camera will respond with a snapshot and expiration date after which the image will no longer be available.
Setting up the Snapshot API
How do you get started? Like otherMeraki dashboard APIs, API integrations begin by enabling your organization’s Meraki dashboard API access. If you haven’t already, do this by navigating to Organization > Settings, and clicking the checkbox to enable access to the dashboard API. Now, navigate to your profile page by clicking on your account name in the top right corner and selecting My profile. Find the section labeled API access and generate a new API key.
Once generated, you can use the API key in your application and submit an HTTP POST request to generate the snapshot of your choosing.
The Snapshot API has many applications, opening a huge array of cool use cases restricted only by your imagination. Get started by accessing MV API documentation and let us know how you plan on using this new API in the Meraki Community pages.
The “smart” descriptor gets tossed around the tech world so much today, it’s hard to know what, if anything, actually makes a device smart.
In the case of the Meraki MV security camera line, a mobile-grade processor on each camera means that the power of a smartphone is packed into each device, rendering onsite servers and special software unnecessary. Instead, users simply log into a browser-based dashboard to see rich person detection and motion-sensitive analytics. These tools can help with everything from keeping a campus safer, to streamlining processes in a manufacturing plant, to monitoring foot traffic in even the tiniest of retail locations.
Listen to MV’s product manager George Bentinck describe the benefits of a cloud-based smart camera system and see him demo the dashboard at newsroom.cisco.com.