Posts Tagged ‘smart cameras’

Cisco Announces Acquisition of Modcam

 

At Cisco Meraki, we strive to create products that solve our customers’ problems. With our MV smart camera portfolio, we have eliminated the problems of infrastructure cost and complexity that were prevalent in legacy systems. At the same time, we have simplified day-to-day physical security operations, while raising the bar for digital security. Importantly, we have done this all while keeping an eye on the future; a future we deliver on today, with integrated analytics in every camera at no additional cost.

This evolution of security cameras to smart cameras has resonated with every customer I have spoken to. We know that less than 1 percent of the video our MV smart cameras capture is actually watched. One of the questions we ask ourselves is, how do we extract value from the 99 percent that no one ever sees? And in these challenging times, it becomes even more critical that we can offer solutions that deliver valuable outcomes for our customers.

 

 

For this reason, I am pleased to announce the acceleration of this evolution through Cisco’s acquisition of Modcam, a privately held, video analytics company headquartered in Malmӧ, Sweden. In acquiring Modcam, Cisco is investing in a team of highly talented engineers who bring a wealth of expertise in machine learning, computer vision and cloud-managed cameras.

Modcam has developed a solution that enables cameras to become even smarter. Cisco Meraki MV smart camera capabilities include motion detection and machine learning-based object detection, all of which run at the edge, in-camera. Today, these analytics are constrained to a single camera’s view of the world. With Modcam’s technology, this micro-level information can be stitched together, enabling multiple cameras to provide a macro-level view of the real world.

Modcam’s technology for precision locationing and journey pathing provides insights that inform strategic planning of physical spaces. These collaborative, cross-camera analytics can allow retailers to better understand customer behaviors — from products of interest to check out wait times. Facilities managers and office space planners can better measure occupancy and room usage, while using trend data to optimize space utilization that can create safer working practices.

The analytic functionalities of the Cisco Meraki MV smart camera portfolio allow for the protection of individual privacy, while still providing intelligent insights. These features will be maintained with the integration of the Modcam technology, allowing users to continuously monitor an individual’s path without obtaining or disclosing personal information.

We are thrilled to welcome the Modcam team to Cisco Meraki and we look forward to sharing more details on the technology integration in the future.

Video Exports, Better Together

Unfortunately, bad things happen – whether it’s theft, vandalism, a workplace accident, or something else. In these cases, security cameras can help create a timeline of events and provide evidence. MV smart cameras make it easy to isolate footage and export video, but the more cameras you have and the more video you need to export, the more challenging managing those exports can become. 

All your exports, in one place

 

Previously, a user would need to go to each individual camera to view and manage exported video from that camera. With the new Exports page, MV smart camera customers can see recent exports from all cameras in a network in one centralized place. This means users no longer have to remember if they exported video from Entrance Camera 1 or Entrance Camera 2. Simply navigate to the Exports page to see the status of all recent exports, download video footage, or share download links. 

Video exports table showing all exports from your network

The Exports page on the dashboard shows you all video exports in one place

All your exports, in one file

 

And if, by chance, you exported video from both Entrance Camera 1 and 2, video files can be merged into one using the new combine export tool. This can be very helpful in a retail environment, as you may need to capture footage of a suspect taking merchandise, as well as showing them leaving the store without paying. To combine files, simply select the clips that you would like to combine. The files can be arranged in the desired order, and you can specify a name for the new file. Once completed, the merged file will appear in the Video exports table. A title card will appear before the individual clips — indicating the name of the camera and the date and the time of the video — for seamless playback of the entire event without losing important context. Like all MV export files, it can be easily downloaded to an .MP4 file, or shared via a link. 

Combining exports from multiple cameras into a single file

 

Let us know what you think

 

The new Exports page is available now. 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 what you think!

See More of What You Want with MV

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. 

Set it and forget it, with MV camera profiles

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)

More information on the APIs can be found under the Meraki Developer Hub.

 

Do you have an upcoming deployment? Visit our documentation for more information on how to use quality and retention profiles. Let us know what you think on the Meraki Community page!

Export Video, On Your Schedule

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. 

Integrating MV Smart Cameras with Access Control

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

To learn more about our MV smart camera APIs, visit the Meraki Developer Hub on DevNet. To learn more about the Sequr cloud access control system, check out the Meraki Marketplace.

A Revolutionary Way to Not Watch Video

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.

Let us know what you think about the new Motion Recap feature in the Meraki Community or request a risk-free evaluation to try out MV for yourself!

Introducing the Meraki MV Snapshot API

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.

Catching MV gnomes at the coffee bar

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 other Meraki 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.

Generate a new API key in dashboard

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.