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 Malm?, 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.
When Cisco Meraki introduced MV security cameras two years ago, the goal was to create a product for an industry that had seen little in the way of fresh, innovative approaches to solving common problems in decades. MV featured a new architecture that fundamentally made the business of installing, managing, and interacting with security cameras easier, more enjoyable, and less resource-intensive.
A year and a half later, MV12 came into the picture and brought advanced analytics to the MV family, including computer vision powered by machine learning—all without the need for any servers or additional software complexity. But with the introduction of in-dashboard analytics came tons of questions about additional analytics capabilities.
Today, MV Sense joins the MV family as a tool to help users create better, smarter business solutions. MV Sense is the first installment in a broader analytics category called Meraki IQ, a powerful class of intelligently processed data delivered via simple APIs.
Further underpinning this dedication to enabling customers to make use of cameras as sensors, the MV lineup grows to include MV22 and MV72, indoor and outdoor varifocal cameras featuring the same powerful processor as MV12.
The in-dashboard analytics tools found on MV smart cameras—motion heat maps and person detection/tabulating—can provide users a wealth of high level information about foot traffic and behavior patterns, but the use cases for MV’s machine learning algorithms are so vast and varied that we wanted our customers to be able to take advantage of it in their own way. Enter MV Sense, a new way for customers to interact with and build on top of the person detection data that comes out of MV12, MV22, and MV72 cameras. Each MV Sense license allows users to access person detection data produced by a camera (including location, time, and count) via a set of both RESTful and MQTT-based APIs.
This means that those once far-fetched or cost-prohibitive ideas can become a reality. MV Sense allows for solutions that do things like:
Trigger a special in-store media display to begin playing if there are more than 10 people in close range of the screens
Understand wait times in grocery queues around the world
Quickly understand and alert emergency personnel if there are people left in a building during a fire drill or evacuation
Set off an alarm if the person count next to a dangerous piece of machinery in a manufacturing facility drops below the safe minimum
The most exciting part? 10 MV Sense licenses will be included with every MV organization to allow for tinkering to begin right away.
Advanced analytics are now available on two new hardware models—a duo of indoor and outdoor varifocal cameras, MV22 and MV72. They feature not only the same processor as MV12, but also many of the same hardware benefits: audio recording, wireless capability, and 256GB of onboard storage, all with the added bonus of optical zoom, which can be configured and adjusted simply via the Meraki dashboard.
MV72 also features increased weather- and impact-resistance ratings from the first generation, IP67 and IK10+. IK10+ happens to be the highest impact resistance rating available, meaning those advanced analytics can now be deployed anywhere and everywhere.
The edge-storage architecture of MV smart cameras was created thoughtfully and deliberately to serve Meraki customers’ needs. This meant building a product that would accommodate those customers who had real-world bandwidth constraints and limitations. Still, there are times when it’s necessary for particular cameras in a fleet to offload their storage or have a backup of the data, and that’s where the cloud archive tool for MV comes in.
Cloud archive comes in 90- and 180-day storage options and can be enabled on a per-camera basis, allowing for custom-tailored storage solutions for every organization. This means that only critical cameras will back up their video to the cloud and bandwidth limits can be adhered to. Cameras will continue to retain footage locally in addition to the cloud copy, providing redundancy and greater peace of mind.
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.
In keeping with the age-old Meraki philosophy of empowering our customers to do more with less, people-counting analytics on MV12 has finally arrived!
We’re excited to see this new set of tools build on top of an already impressive (and necessary) security product. Now, MV12 can act not only as a great security camera, but also as a sensor for businesses big and small — no servers or extra infrastructure needed.
If you’re already familiar with our wireless product line, this rollout might feel reminiscent of our WLAN Location Analytics tool, and it should! At Meraki, we love the notion of providing our customers more intelligence with less infrastructure, an idea especially apparent with MR and now MV.
How does it work?
Using the advanced processor on our recently launched MV12 security camera, and built-in, anonymized person detection (not to be confused with unique facial recognition/identification) software, video is stored and analyzed on-camera, at the edge. This metadata is sent to the cloud and aggregated into people-counting metrics independently of the video itself. Plus, over time this software will become more accurate using machine learning.
To see this functionality in action, just click on the ‘Analytics’ tab for an individual camera and select the time resolution (minute-by-minute, hourly, or daily) and timeframe of interest. The ‘People count’ section of this page shows an at-a-glance overview of your busiest time period, estimated peak occupancy over that period, and the total number of entrances. Remember that the ‘Total Entrances’ value will double count individuals if they leave a frame and then return, since this data is anonymized. Consequently, we encourage thoughtful placement of cameras intended for use as sensors to minimize both double counting (place them in an area with restricted traffic flow moving in one direction, like an ‘Entrance Only’ door) and occlusions (where two people or objects pass in front of one another, making it difficult for the camera to see what’s going on).
Clicking on the ‘Most Utilized’ and ‘Peak Occupancy’ results will jump directly to that moment in the camera’s historical footage so you can quickly analyze what events may have driven that spike in traffic. Drilling down into each bar in the people counting bar chart will also take you to the corresponding piece of footage, making it simple to investigate anomalies.
You’ll now be able to observe and quantify granular foot traffic patterns through a given frame.
For retailers: monitor the ebb and flow of customers throughout the day, optimize staffing headcount to make sure your customers get the attention they need, and increase the efficacy of marketing campaigns by targeting days of the week with the greatest or least traffic.
In schools: track general attendance patterns, see which areas of campus are used most frequently, and make a business case for updating facilities and equipment based on usage patterns.
At offices: figure out whether it makes sense to add more common spaces, or repurpose these areas based on popularity with office-dwellers. And are those pricey espresso machines actually getting used anyway?
Of course, these examples represent only a fraction of the uses cases now available with this additional functionality. Coupled with motion heat maps (available on all MV models), it’s never been quite so easy to see the big picture quickly.
Does this mean my MR Location Analytics setup is now redundant?
Definitely not! Think of these tools as complementary. Because MR access points count mobile device wireless signals throughout a wireless network, they provide a broad “macro” level view of foot traffic through, say, an entire store location. People counting on MV only tabulates traffic within that visual frame, making it more accurate on a “micro” level, like an individual product display within that store. By pairing these two features, you can quickly gain insights across multiple levels of your business.