Update: After posting additional details and clarification were provided and as a result edits were made to make things a little more correct.
This came out of the blue for me today – clearly I am off my game but today Meraki is launching “Meraki Vision”
Not a Traditional Offering
Analog days we had coax cameras to capture cards, and now IP cameras that send H.264 and JPEG streams to “NVR” or Network Video Recorders. Even companies like QNAP and Synology offer up NAS devices that will record from a myriad of cameras both expensive and cheap.
There is no question existing technologies are difficult, and everyone has their own proprietary way of dealing with it. Even Ubiquity who were selling a very successful series of standards based cameras took heat when they installed proprietary software on them in order to force people to use their NVR platform – a few years later they reversed that decision.
Different codecs, different stream types, different camera features and a mixture of protocols have made this difficult to deploy. With today’s announcement Meraki has decided to disrupt this normal way of doing this – and eliminate the traditional NVR (storage) and VMS (management) platforms as they typically exist today
The goal at Meraki is to expand beyond networking, first with the MC74 line I previously wrote about and now in the security camera world. With solid state storage becoming cheaper and an existing extensible management platform at Meraki they are able to provide a cloud managed security product line.
High End Specifications
Two cameras will be offered at launch, MV21 Indoor Model will be $1,299 (List USD) (works with 802.1AF Power) and MV71 will be $1,499 (List USD) for an outdoor (802.3AT POE+ required). The outdoor will have a heated chassis.
Both will feature a 5 megapixel camera and 720P HD recordings. 3-10mm Vari-Focal lens for a flexible field of view and a wide angle where appropriate or zoomed in for long shots.
Cameras do support IR illumination up to 100 feet and have good low light performance.
Wall Mount, Pole Mount and Bracketed mounts will be available at launch
Cloud Licenses which include all hardware support will run $300/YR/Camera with options for up to 10 years with significant discounts.
Video Wall, Motion Search, Granular User Access
No NVR Required – Dashboard!
Meraki’s MV line will not require any NVR on site, and no Video Management Software (VMS) that will all exist in the Meraki Dashboard. They have no interest in following the old way.
Each camera will have 128GB of on board storage, or in Meraki’s estimation about 20 days of footage. To eliminate the need for centralized storage the camera will perform motion indexing and thumbnail storage in the camera. For Meta data, it will use 50kbps of bandwidth, when viewing BW it depends on how many cameras you are viewing, and a few other factors. Camera’s will allow local access (Question is, will it be a standardized stream you could send to another NVR or another monitoring app..)
You can create different layouts right on the Meraki Dashboard and provide multi user access to give individual users access to only their cameras.
One of the best features of the Dashboard – and to be honest my first concern was – streaming all these cameras to the cloud – the cameras do their own storage, and for live view, the dashboard figures out if you are local to the camera, and if you are the streams are delivered directly from the camera, to your workstation. If you are not local, the streams are proxied via the dashboard.
Individual Cameras can have motion search capability to look for motion.
This would appear to be a very complete offering for a first launch. As someone who has actually built camera systems in the past it is missing only a single thing – a PZT camera offering. We need cameras that can do patrols, and cameras that auto-zoom and long lenses for outdoor surveillance. The platform is a very good start, I do hope that Meraki has even more offerings coming down the pipe for this line.
The few customers I have spoken to regarding this today all said they want the ability to record the video somewhere else. If someone smashes the camera, you would normally get the video of the smash – and then black – in this case you get nothing with all content on the camera.
This isn’t it. If we are doing security cameras and phones now – I am willing to bet card access, building security, and other IOT plans are in the works over there. It would make the most sense to have a single platform to manage all of these things. How about a Meraki NAS with cloud backup? Desktop Meraki Backup services? The ideas for things cloud managed are endless.
The question is – how big are they going to get ? How far will Meraki take this?
Some time ago I was talking about Meraki maybe being re-banded – I could see it already “Cisco Cloud Networking” or “Prime Networking” – it wasn’t something I was looking forward to, I would rather Meraki is left to their own devices (pun intended). This little green skunk works in California is quickly turning into the one stop networking shop.
I want to get my hands on one of these things as quickly as possible – when I do, I will bring it to you live.