Posts Tagged ‘Video surveillance’

Sweet Briar College MV Case Study

Nestled in the gently rolling hills of rural Virginia, Sweet Briar College is a women’s liberal arts college spanning over 3,200 acres. The campus includes a distant equestrian riding site and other remote facilities connected in some places by winding dirt roads. With such a large campus, keeping an eye on everything becomes as challenging as it does critical.

Over the years, Sweet Briar’s small IT team, led by Chief Technology Officer Aaron Mahler, has been tasked with adding more and more elements to their network, including security cameras. Their ten-year-old legacy system was cumbersome and created extra work for Mahler’s staff. As long-time Meraki customers, the team already understood the value in a cloud-managed system, so they were eager to implement the new cameras.

Original Challenges

  • A large campus with several remote facilities made monitoring during off-hours challenging.
  • Staff from various parts of the school, including the library and bookstore, were unable to easily and autonomously view video footage in their areas due to the complexity of the video management software.
  • The historic nature of the campus and its architecture provides extra limitations on networking infrastructure and makes it difficult to house extra hardware without disrupting the beauty of the site.
  • While the school enjoys great network connectivity, the IT team wanted to ensure that bandwidth was used for mission-critical IT and educational tasks, not just security camera footage.
  • Sweet Briar’s previous camera system was generally challenging to manage, with a complicated and cumbersome interface.
  • The team had no way of knowing when cameras went offline or stopped recording, which caused major issues when it came time to recall footage after critical events.

 

In reference to their old camera system:

“We wish we didn’t have any cameras. They are so unreliable that when someone comes to us for footage and we don’t have it because the camera was offline we get blamed.”

 

The Deployment

  • The team installed almost 70 MV cameras across the campus.
  • MVs in remote parts of the campus are connected via wireless mesh with Meraki APs.
  • A mix of MV21 and MV71 cameras allows for full coverage both indoors and out.
  • Mahler’s team assigned granular access controls to staff from various teams, allowing them to monitor only their pertinent areas.

 

With Meraki MV:

“The ease of use is tremendous. The amount of time savings for your staff, the installation and managing the cameras, and the ease of use for your campus police or security office…are all tremendous selling points for us.”

 

Results

  • A relatively small team of campus safety officers can provide a safer environment for students and faculty without having to be everywhere at once. The simple web-based interface and mobile app allow them to easily stay keyed- in to remote areas.
  • Centralized management and the ability to configure and view video through the Meraki dashboard have saved the Sweet Briar staff—from the IT team to the librarians—a considerable amount of time and effort versus their old system.
  • With user-based permissions, campus staff in charge of specific facilities can better manage their areas since they no longer require a set of eyes onsite at all times.
  • Installation posed no major technical or aesthetic issues, even in buildings over 100 years old.
  • The Motion Search tool allows for staff to quickly identify specific events on campus without manually sifting through hours or days of footage.
  • The team receives alerts when cameras go offline, allowing them to proactively address the issue before they miss a critical event.

Video on the Go

During the months prior to launching Meraki MV, our extensive user experience testing for the new product spanned everything from the layout on the dashboard to physical installation of the security cameras. In doing so, we realized just how difficult it is to stand at the top of a tall ladder while holding a laptop (often the unfortunate reality of IP camera setup). That’s why we’re excited to announce that the Meraki mobile app for iOS and Android now supports MV security cameras.

MV-android

The Meraki app makes it easier and quicker than ever to set up your cameras. View live video feeds and adjust focus, zoom, and aperture, all from a smartphone. Simply download the Meraki dashboard app on your phone, login with your standard dashboard credentials, and then navigate to your cameras in the left-hand navigation menu. Click on the camera you want to view, and then click “Live” in the lower right hand corner. The live video feed will automatically start to stream, and, if needed, you can make any necessary camera adjustments. For video walls and enhanced video monitoring functionality, MV also works with mobile browsers in Android.

MV-iphone

Kiss the days of climbing onto a ladder with a laptop goodbye, and say hello to security camera configuration and management from your phone! Whether onsite or halfway around the world, the mobile app will help to keep tabs on what’s important to you and your organization.

As always, our engineers are keeping their ears open for requests through our Make a Wish tool. It’s hard to believe MV just launched a couple of months ago, and MV engineers have already added full disk encryption and support for the mobile app since then. Just imagine what could be coming next!

To learn more about MV, sign up for a webinar or get in touch with a sales rep.

Looking at the future of security cameras

In the enterprise technology industry it is often common practice for important customers, partners, and industry analysts to be presented a roadmap. This long established tradition communicates the vendor’s goals and aspirations for their product, while setting the expectations for the recipient.

In a rapidly changing world this traditional approach can hamper the productivity of small, highly agile teams like those at Meraki. It can artificially force a focus on feature delivery, not on solving customer problems. To ensure the MV team can respond quickly to market changes and customer needs, the team follows a set of goals that help communicate the intent and vision for the future of the product.

The goals underpinning the development plans are split into three areas. These drive our internal discussions and allow parties external to the organisation to determine our priorities, taking the place of a feature by feature roadmap.

Cost reduction through architectural simplification

Firstly we must deliver immediate value. This must be simple to understand and easy to achieve. In the context of MV this is our architecture: centralized cloud control with video stored at the edge. Eliminating the Network Video Recorder (NVR) and Video Management Server (VMS) has immediate up front savings and continued operational savings.

Operational simplification through automation

Next we must ensure that customers benefit during day-to-day operations. An example of this goal is Motion Search’s elimination of the dull and highly time consuming process of reviewing video. MV processes all video on the camera and lets users quickly find the footage of interest.

Business value through intelligence

Finally, we look at how security cameras can offer value beyond their primary purpose. 90+% of recorded video is never viewed, but what if the camera can analyze what it sees without human intervention? Can a camera be seen as a sensor in the context of marketing or occupational safety? MV has not yet delivered in this area, but it is an area of intense interest that will shape the future capability of the product.

balcony

The recent launch of Meraki MV security cameras is just the first step on the road. As has been the case with the development of other Meraki products, early adopters of cloud managed technology continue to benefit from ongoing feature development. As Meraki continues to deliver solutions to challenging problems, so existing customers investment in Meraki continues to improve.

Find out more on the new range of Meraki MV security cameras by attending a webinar or arranging a free trial to test out the technology for yourself.

Voice and Video aren't just for your wired network anymore!

Since releasing enhanced voice and video capabilities earlier this year, we have seen growth in the number of video and voice applications running over Meraki wireless networks.  Physical security and voice/data convergence have been implemented broadly over wired networks in the last decade, but providing these applications over wireless networks is a more recent trend.  Our customers have been able to deploy these applications easily and reliably by utilizing a number of features in the Meraki solution:
1.       WMM and Power Save capabilities enable wireless devices to obtain quality of service (QoS) and conserve battery power, respectively, when associated to a Meraki wireless network.  With these features, wireless surveillance cameras and VOIP handsets can stream audio and video content with the best performance available, and at the same time, spend less time docked in battery chargers.
2.       Offline mode allows multimedia devices to continue operating in the LAN, even if connectivity to the Meraki Cloud Controller is not available.  Surveillance cameras can still stream to monitoring stations on the LAN, and mobile handsets can continue to place or receive calls, regardless of network changes outside the LAN.
3.       Bridge mode provides seamless connectivity between wireless and wired devices.  With this feature, surveillance cameras, DVRs, VOIP phones, monitoring stations, and any other networked devices that send or receive multimedia data can discover and connect to each other without any network barriers.
4.       VLAN tagging helps ensure that wireless multimedia traffic gets QoS prioritization over the wired network.  Wireless surveillance cameras and VOIP handsets can associate to Meraki over a dedicated SSID, whose traffic can be VLAN-tagged to get VIP treatment by the upstream switches and routers.
5.       Meraki’s mesh networking technology just works, without any additional configuration.  Meraki access points communicate with neighboring Meraki access points to provide wireless coverage in areas where Ethernet ports are not available.  In this way, an administrator can deploy a video monitoring environment or a wireless VOIP network quickly and easily.

All of these features work in concert to provide a superior multimedia experience over the Meraki wireless network.  As an illustration of this capability, below is a screenshot that one customer sent us, depicting 15 wireless surveillance cameras streaming video across a Meraki network to a DVR on the LAN.

video cameras

We are excited about this convergence in voice, video, and data over the wireless LAN, and we will continue to invest in features that make this convergence easier and more reliable for enterprise customers.

-Posted by Jed Lau

Voice and Video aren’t just for your wired network anymore!

Since releasing enhanced voice and video capabilities earlier this year, we have seen growth in the number of video and voice applications running over Meraki wireless networks.  Physical security and voice/data convergence have been implemented broadly over wired networks in the last decade, but providing these applications over wireless networks is a more recent trend.  Our customers have been able to deploy these applications easily and reliably by utilizing a number of features in the Meraki solution:
1.       WMM and Power Save capabilities enable wireless devices to obtain quality of service (QoS) and conserve battery power, respectively, when associated to a Meraki wireless network.  With these features, wireless surveillance cameras and VOIP handsets can stream audio and video content with the best performance available, and at the same time, spend less time docked in battery chargers.
2.       Offline mode allows multimedia devices to continue operating in the LAN, even if connectivity to the Meraki Cloud Controller is not available.  Surveillance cameras can still stream to monitoring stations on the LAN, and mobile handsets can continue to place or receive calls, regardless of network changes outside the LAN.
3.       Bridge mode provides seamless connectivity between wireless and wired devices.  With this feature, surveillance cameras, DVRs, VOIP phones, monitoring stations, and any other networked devices that send or receive multimedia data can discover and connect to each other without any network barriers.
4.       VLAN tagging helps ensure that wireless multimedia traffic gets QoS prioritization over the wired network.  Wireless surveillance cameras and VOIP handsets can associate to Meraki over a dedicated SSID, whose traffic can be VLAN-tagged to get VIP treatment by the upstream switches and routers.
5.       Meraki’s mesh networking technology just works, without any additional configuration.  Meraki access points communicate with neighboring Meraki access points to provide wireless coverage in areas where Ethernet ports are not available.  In this way, an administrator can deploy a video monitoring environment or a wireless VOIP network quickly and easily.

All of these features work in concert to provide a superior multimedia experience over the Meraki wireless network.  As an illustration of this capability, below is a screenshot that one customer sent us, depicting 15 wireless surveillance cameras streaming video across a Meraki network to a DVR on the LAN.

video cameras

We are excited about this convergence in voice, video, and data over the wireless LAN, and we will continue to invest in features that make this convergence easier and more reliable for enterprise customers.

-Posted by Jed Lau