Cisco Meraki Launches The Most Expensive HD Camera In Years

By Brian Karas, Published Oct 14, 2016, 03:45am EDT

The video surveillance market is racing to the bottom, with 3MP IP cameras being sold for as low as ~$100 through distribution.

Cisco is not joining.

Instead, Cisco Meraki has launched 2 new IP cameras, the 'cheaper' one starting at $1,299 MSRP, with 720p max streaming / recording. However, Cisco has focused on manageability including easy setup utilizing the cloud-based management dashboard of their Meraki product line.

Cisco pitched us on their new IP cameras. Inside, we share their pitch, analyze it and compare to competitive options.

Meraki **********

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***** ********* ******* ** ** integrators, ***** ** ***** they *** ********, *** they **** ****** ** pursue *********** ******** *********** **** this ********. 

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Viewing *** ********

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Pricing ********

*** ****** ****** ** $1,299 ****, *** *** outdoor ****** ** $*,*** MSRP. ********** ********* **** by ******* *****, **** ****** prices ******** ** ** ~10% **** **** ****.

** ******** ** *** camera ******** *****, * per-camera ****** ******* ** required ** *** *** software. ******** ***** ** $300 *** * *-**** term, *** *** ** purchased ******** ***** ** a **** ** *** *********. For ******* $*** **** a * **** *******, and * * **** license ** $***. ***** prices *** **** ****, and *********** *** ****** to **** **** *** a ***** *****. *** licenses *** *-**** ************, so ***** ** ** RMR *********.

Outlook *** ****** *******

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Comments (69)

The race to the top is on! Take that Hikvision!

The only target demo I can see for this is: IT firms that don't work in surveillance whose clients say "I want cameras", clients who have zero clue and have taken the Cisco roofie. I am sure some are out there.

$1300 for a 720p camera and $300/year per camera for license... are you kidding me? Suicide. At $300/yr/camera, that is the equivilent of replacing the system annually with hikvision cameras.

In a way I feel like it would be a great service to the IT administrators out there if this was a public article. If nothing else it will make them spit their coffee back into their Cisco coffee cup, throw their Cisco pen out the window, and rip their Cisco branded shirt off at the decision they almost made.

i cant imagine that anyone with the slightest bit of knowledge about security cameras and the market would buy this.

Didn't Cisco already try the "let's overcharge IT people who don't know what surveillance product should cost or what industry standard specifications are" strategy once already? I don't remember how it turned out. I assume well.

I have this blank stare stuck on my face for this article...



There are people who have the audacity to complain about MY prices SavvyTech Security prices?!?!?!

I... I can't...

I mean really, our dealer prices are pretty dirt cheap already and then some nickel and dime-ing a-hole comes in and demands (not even politely) high end solutions at BELOW MASS DISTRIBUTION PRICING without buying in volume at all?!

BTW, if his cheap ass ever decides to pay for a subscription for this site and sees this, go f yourself and buy that crap grey market on Alibaba. SOB doesn't even have an account @ ADI like a REAL integrator. You wanna know why I still need to make a margin on products? WE HAVE TO SUPPORT THAT PRODUCT AND BRING IT FROM WHERE IT'S MADE TO WHERE YOUR FACE IS CAUSE THAT'S WHERE I'D LOVE TO SMASH IT INTO!!!

And here, Cisco-Meraki wants to throw this in our face? I bust my ass to get people bargains and special solutions and Cisco expects to waltz in and just tell people, "pay me."

Wooooow... My projection on this is not a single one will be sold at this price. None. Whoever does buy this deserves to be fleeced.

/rant (rough week)

And here, Cisco-Meraki wants to throw this in our face?

Robert, get a grip, this is cause for you to CELEBRATE!

You should only be so lucky ALL your competition follows Cisco's lead.

Unfortunately, I'm fairly certain my competition is not THAT stupid. I give them at least that base amount of respect.

Ah, I misunderstood who the "nickel and dime-ing a-hole" was in your rant at first.

Certain integrators man...and some people send THEIR customers here to pick up the product before the install! I mean REALLY?!?!?! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

So everyone has focused so hard on how expensive this is, and it really is. It's priced crazily. And why they'd use a 5MP sensor for 720p video is beyond me.

But, two things:

Cisco is going to sell a bunch of these. Probably not millions, but thousands. Tens of thousands, even. And every single one sold is going to make the margin that a much higher number of Hikivision/Dahua/etc. low cost models make. Plus $300/year. With all the concern about the race to the bottom, this seems like a really shrewd move to show actual differentiation, with a built in target market: Cisco based IT departments.

Second, the cloud management is a great idea, in my opinion. Why we do not already have that from other manufacturers is baffling. I don't care about the cloud viewing/recording, as I'd still prefer a VMS or NVR. But from an end user management/integrator service perspective, cloud config, firmware management, and health monitoring seems very handy. I'm not sure how deep the Meraki camera management will go, but the ability to perform these tasks without having to be on site or use some type of remote access is smart.

Second, the cloud management is a great idea, in my opinion. Why we do not already have that from other manufacturers is baffling.

I'm a little surprised to hear you say that. I suppose its ultimately going there, but I think it might be a rocky road to start with.

So, basically the cloud would store many or all camera level settings and then sync them with the device?

I know the switches must do something like that, but cameras seem a little different. Plus you don't play around with switches and tweak while watching the image like cameras.

Do you think there will be any local interface management, even when on the LAN?

Apologies about the questions, i thought this was the thread from the other day, i didnt realize you just did a review...

IMHO I don't think Cisco has either the cache or the hold-over IT departments like they once did. Not nearly as many blind followers as even five years ago. Still enough to sell thousands maybe, but not tens of thousands.

Only way they get to tens of thousands sold is if a huge user just gives his Cisco rep a blank check. I think those types of users only exist in the government now days though. Private sector is no longer like that.


I would tend to agree with you. I know MSPs (Managed Service Providers) that use ONLY Meraki gear and refuse to take on customers who do not purchase the equipment. Why? Meraki makes their lives very very easy. Having used a full suite of Meraki equipment at a number of customer sites I can say that it is incredibly well put together and makes deploying and managing a customers environment simple. So, some IT companies get their customers to pay for this pleasure. These cameras are just an extension of that thought process. It is not about value - it is about function and ease of install, configuration, management and use.

Meraki depends on partners like these to push their equipment. There will be very few security integrators that will purchase this equipment, but the IT companies or Business that are already in bed with Meraki will likely jump all over this. If a customer is already willing to pay nearly 3K + annual license for an individual 24 port PoE switch with 370W power budget (that will brick itself if the license lapses) are they really going to balk at the cost of this camera?

The likelihood is that the people that will deploy these cameras will not even be installing it themselves. They will be sub-contracting out the cabling and maybe even the installation of the camera. They will have the camera drop shipped to the customer site, the sub-contractor will install it and plug it in, and as soon as the camera hits the network it will connect to the Meraki cloud and all of the configs will be pushed down (or at least that is how the APs, Switches and Routers work right now).

Meraki doesn't sell to security integrators or the security market and aren't interested in trying to break through to us. They are hoping to capture some additional revenue by giving their existing channel more things to install - because they will and oh how the money rolls in...

Finally a cloud managed solution, why did this take so long?

Sure the pricing isn't very realistic but hey, it's Cisco. They sell switches as if they were for free while they cost 2 to 10 times more than the competition.

I 100% guarantee you that if they release this product someone from my IT staff will ask me the following questions:

  1. Why don't we use them?
  2. Will I sit in on a meeting with them to discuss using them?
  3. Where would I suggest they install the one hundred units they just bought?
  4. How many I suggest they buy after the initial hundred they have bought?
  5. Why did I not tell them before that Cisco makes cameras?
  6. Since they were nice enough to buy them will I just manage them?

Here's the questions from 1 year down the road:

  1. Why do we not have video of that? It was only 21 days ago. My 1080p Costco special at home records X days.
  2. What do you mean our IT staff didn't know how to properly tune motion detection?
  3. Why is the image so blocky? My Costco special again...
  4. Why can't I make out the license plate? My Costco special...
  5. What's this $30k bill for recurring support for? My Costco special...
  6. Who do we actually call at Cisco for support? There's 85 different support numbers here. My Costco special...

In a basic product like this I expect the comparisons to other easy to manage systems (e.g. EzViz, Axis Companion, Dropcam) to be substantial.

I didnt even think about government jobs. Yeah, I can imaging they will buy these. Given Cisco is such a valuable brand, the gov jobs just dont care what they spend per camera, they care about reliability and the Cisco Brand has traditionally offered that.

I cant imagine this will do well in the private sector though. Anyone with half a brain should know better than to buy a 720p camera for this much.

Single camera system: $1299-$1499 + $300 per year

Four camera system $5196-$5996 + $1200 per year

Eight camera system $10,392-$11,992 + $2400 per year

I am hoping Avigilon sees this thread as they already have the ES cameras with more storage 256GB, more resolution up to 3MP, on-board analytics, and better form factors. Just need to add the cloud management side and they will have a very popular solution.

Only if they sell to Cisco. You can't discount that part of the equation.

I don't think they need Cisco to make this happen. Plus I think adding an RMR option would eventual help out the stock price.

Am I understanding this right?

You will not be able to access recorded (and live) video if:

  1. The cloud server is not working
  2. The internet connection is down
  3. The camera is not working

Also, does the video go directly to the browser on the LAN or thru the cloud? (I know it doesn't get recorded)

How is remote access handled?

You will not be able to access recorded (and live) video if:

  1. The cloud server is not working
  2. The internet connection is down
  3. The camera is not working

Yes, but other camera architectures are not immune to outages affecting accessibility. If your VMS or NVR is not working you lose access to all video.

The edge-storage approach has the benefit of a camera outage only affecting that camera, and not the entire system. By distributing the recording to each camera you reduce the risking of losing ALL stored video, or recording ability, if any one device fails.

Site-wide issues like a power failure would affect either system equally.

Also, does the video go directly to the browser on the LAN or thru the cloud? (I know it doesn't get recorded)

It does. If you are local the cloud is used for the UI, authentication, etc., but the video stream stays local within your network.

How is remote access handled?

Automagically. I think this could be of their main selling points, no need for port forwarding, no ability for outside users to connect directly to the cameras. No special setup, just plug the cameras in to the network and configure settings (users, recording schedules, etc.) and that is it. You don't need to rely on, or manage, a static WAN IP, dyndns, or other things.

Yes, but other camera architectures are not immune to outages affecting accessibility

True, others are not immune. But none are as fragile and exposed as this. Consider again these three points of failure:

  1. The cloud server is not working
  2. The internet connection is down
  3. The camera is not working

Other designs are exposed to 1 or 2 of these failure modes, but what other architecture is exposed to all three?

Worse yet, its not just acts-of-god that pose a problem. This type of system is a criminals dream.

You know how we used to make fun of criminals because they would take/destroy cameras in a ignorant effort to destroy the evidence?

Here it actually works! Destroying the cameras, destroys the evidence.

Sure you can destroy a nvr, but you have to find it first, and it could be anywhere. Cameras, on the other hand, can't be in a locked closet in the basement.

Net/net: The most expensive system is also the most vulnerable; and that ain't worth the ability to add users from the golf course.

IMHO, of course :)

Would the layperson know that just destroying the camera would eliminate the evidence? They are likely to spend precious time trying to find the non-existent NVR/DVR.

Would the layperson know that just destroying the camera would eliminate the evidence?

That's the irony of course, anyone that knew anything would think there was a dvr. But of course, many don't know.

For instance - Are Smash N Grab Thieves Getting Smarter?

In any event, cameras are destroyed routinely just to stop them from recording any more than they already have.

In those cases the theives will just get lucky that their pre-destruction footage was also destroyed.

Interesting that they used a 5 MP sensor. I wonder if they are using onboard processing to aggregate pixels for enhanced dynamic range? It would take very little processing power to support a 1 MP video stream from (for example) a 4 MP sensor, simply by summing up each 2x2 block of pixels. This could deliver a 1 MP stream at 2x the sensor's native dynamic range.

Horace, I do not know, Brian might.

Even if that is possible / done, it still strikes me as a negative overall since high-end 1080p sensors still deliver far more dynamic range and low light sensitivity than 5MP ones even if you try to enhance a 5MP one.

Thanks, Mike.

Note: 1/3.2" 5MP is a small imager for its resolution. Those sizes were more typical in the 2012 - 2013 time frame. As such, it is likely a relatively old sensor.

5MP / 6MP sensors are typically now 1/2.5" or even 1/1.8"

I would say this was a surprise but we are dealing with Cisco... aggregate pixels for enhanced dynamic range? It would take very little processing power to support a 1 MP video stream from (for example) a 4 MP sensor, simply by summing up each 2x2 block of pixels.

Do you mean enhanced sensitivity thru 2x2 binning? That is often done in low-light mode; and can provide a ~2x boost in sensitivity. Arecont cameras, which got out way ahead of the MP curve, used binning to try and salvage something with their pixel laden sensors. Even, as John alludes, even if its 2x the 5mp version, its not better than a non-binned sensor with the same die size sensor and 1/4 resolution. Due to the fill-factor alone.

As for simple binning for DR, I'm not sure how it could work. Binning does not increase the well capacity of each photosite, so 2x2 area would clip at the same intensity as a single pixel, no?

To achieve improved dynamic range, you would change the biasing or exposure to improve the saturation level (that is, the same amount of light would leave fewer electrons in the well). Then, at the pixel level, you've mitigated saturation at the top end, at the cost of sensitivity at the bottom end.

Just as you've noted, you can buy back that lost sensitivity through 2x2 binning. Analog Devices provides a great overview in their paper, "INCREASE DYNAMIC RANGE OF SAR ADCS USING OVERSAMPLING." In our case, we'd be using 4x spatial oversampling. Improving high end saturation while preserving low end sensitivity, increases dynamic range.

I wonder if they are using onboard processing to aggregate pixels for enhanced dynamic range?

Nothing in my conversations indicated they are doing anything advanced with the 5MP sensor, just cropping it down to 720p and sending the video along.

Meraki did mention that they have the technical capability to increase the resolution through a firmware upgrade, and may at some point add features like taking a 5MP snapshot, or recording a short motion clip at 5MP (or some other higher-than-720p resolution). These options were described as possibilities, not roadmap items, so no guarantees they will ever happen.

It would take very little processing power to support a 1 MP video stream from (for example) a 4 MP sensor, simply by summing up each 2x2 block of pixels.

This requires an expensive oversampling A/D delta-sigma converter though correct?

Or do think that such DR improvements can be made purely from the post ADC pixel values?

Since they're delivering 720p video but using a higher resolution chip, the best approach would be to get more samples from those extra pixels. You're right, in Audio and some radio frequency samplers, oversampling almost always means using a faster clock rate, which tends to be more expensive. But you can get the same benefit by fetching extra samples from other pixels in the focal plane array, instead of sampling fewer pixels faster. That way, you're able to use the A/Ds that are already integrated within the chip.

Optimistically, I'll call a frame of 720p video a megapixel. Although the camera is only delivering a megapixel per frame, the focal plane array could actually read out 4x the area, or 4 megapixels. Then, the camera processor could decimate those 4 megapixels down to one megapixel through 2x2 binning, which would also increase the dynamic range.

The cost driver in this approach is, they must have the computational power to achieve the 2x2 binning, which is a simple add function.

Other design changes include: changing biasing or exposure time to reduce the chip's saturation for a given light level, as well as a different lens focal length, because the effective focal plane area would change from 720p pixels to 4x that many pixels. For the latter, I'm making an assumption that could be wrong. That is, without spatial oversampling, I assumed that they would have chosen to sample a contiguous megapixel, which would require a different focal length than if reading out four megapixels for 2x2 binning. However, without binning, it's possible that they might have chosen to sample one pixel out of every 2x2 block, which would image the same focal plane area and require no change in focal length if upgrading to higher dynamic range by reading out all the pixels in each 2x2 block. Either way, cost should be a wash.

Then the camera could decimate those 4 megapixels down to a megapixel through 2x2 binning, which would also increase the dynamic range.

I don't think simple summation binning is going to provide 2x dynamic range.

If you could do what you are saying then you could get 2x the dynamic range of a 4k clip just by playing it back on a 1080p monitor, no?

Yes, if the 1080p monitor decimated by adding the four values of each 2x2 block of pixels to produce a single pixel, without overflow. If, on the other hand, the monitor just ignored 3 of every 4 pixels, or overflowed, then there'd be no dynamic range improvement. This doesn't even consider the question of what a monitor's typical dynamic range might be. Sometimes, high dynamic range images must be scaled in intensity to attain a benefit because the monitor can't directly support the high dynamic range.

Here's how binning improves dynamic range. Let's suppose you had a one-bit pixel. Any one pixel would have a value of either 0 or 1.

Here are all of the 16 possible values the four pixels might have, followed by a simple sum of all four pixel values:

















Summing all four pixels together changed the range of values of the resultant pixel from (0,1) to (0,1,2,3,4): the latter range of values has a higher dynamic range than the former.

Problem in the real world with your example is the fact that the biggest indicator of a pixels intensity is that of its nearest neigbors.

Given a sensor with one-bit dynamic range, you will find the majority of 2x2 all 1's or all 0's.

So even if there are a few pixels improved, the vast majority will have the same relative intensity they had before, which limits the gain.

If you have even a modest pc video card, it likeky comes with multiple scaling methods for downsampling. I've tried several 4k images downsampled to 1080p, I can't say I see much of a difference.

Can you find a 4k/1080 image that illustrates this?

I'm gonna hafta call uncle on this one. Thanks for the fun conversation, though!

Pleasure as usual, Horace :)

Thanks, that's good information.


Cisco hasn't much dent in the Surveillance sector and they won't make any with this offering. Re-read the Costco special post above. You think that people will not notice, the clear difference? Not professionals! No! The Layperson noticing that what they see at Costco is higher resolution than their Cisco stuff... Then you're asking a security professional to get this rather than an Axis or Canon or ... Hikvision? That wouldn't fly.

We tend to perceive those great corporations as almost deities not able to make any mistakes .. They do and repeatedly .. Notice how Microsoft never was able to present an alternative to the iPod or the iPhone and still today entirely out of the mobile phone space, same for Intel who's product arenot to be found in any cellphone or most tablets or Xerox after inventing the GUI completely missed out the PC space or IBM ..., or <place holder for big large companies making utterly stupid strategic mistakes >...

Cisco needs to either acquire a serious camera or VMS manufacturers. As their products stand now, no one will give a hoot about their Surveillance offering.. It could be much better for them to acquire Avigilon or something similar .. That would be scary.

I agree with you on most of your points. However, if Cisco were to purchase Avigilon those cultures would clash. Avigilon cameras aren't expensive when compared to Axis or Panasonic. Avigilon's analytics are essentially free. Avigilon Control Center is one of the few VMS with no recurring support packages (which is contrary to Cisco's model). Support is free. All of those would be overturned the minute Cisco purchased them unless they left some form of Avigilon management principle in place.

It is still less concerning of a purchase to Avigilon dealers than if anyone out of China were to purchase them...

It is still less concerning of a purchase to Avigilon dealers than if anyone out of China were to purchase them...

You think? At least if China bought them they would be the crowning jewel and flagship line of the company.

If Cisco bought them they would make them the "would you like some fries with that?" add-on.

Cisco has always been the Lindsay Lohan of the surveillance industry. 720p? Um, Cisco, 2005 just called; they want their cameras back.

As for the 5MP sensor vs 720p streaming, they could always add-in enhancement wand, ala Drop Cam.

Compared to the 1080p/3M, a 720p/5MP magic wand would seem nothing short of Merakiculous.

nothing short of Merakiculous

pun score: 0/10

it was auto-correct :)

We've had nothing but issues out of the one site that we have that uses Cisco Meraki devices. It's garbage.

Can you elaborate? Not that I doubt your experiences, but overall Meraki has a lot of good feedback from what I've seen online.

Yes I can. Every week it would reset itself, and we would have to reconfigure everything. This went on for at least six months before the issue was resolved. So each week I had at least 8 man hours of wasted time due to that singular issue. That's 192 hours of time that I had to pay my tech...minimum, on this issue alone. Left a very bad taste in all of our mouths. $19/hr x 192hrs = $3648.

My experience "working" with Cisco types is mostly in federal government area where the IT people just want "it" done regardless of cost. Depending on the command, they don't have to go out and bid out the equipment if it's under a certain amount.

And security equipment gets bundled into their federal government IT maintenance contract and the customer doesn't have to shell out the maintenance money out of his budget.

Single point of management including licensing. Win. Change the script and principal within the security industry? Obvious Win. We now have every other flavor of IP video at our fingertips why not this one? Are we now so quick to condemn new technology changes? Is there a 'bare life' status for rejected technological innovations that do not succeed as the sovereign exalted peers become triggered as the sky falls. The risk element is does not out weigh the big huevos to bring this one out of the cage.

Not a race to the top. The manufacturer and integrator are presented with choice as the path has been severed. Perhaps Meraki can add a selfie app into the camera, a simple hand jester and ping...the selfie is in your mailbox. What if you could ask a camera and say something like this, "AlexaB48....Has Mark Doe entered the building yet? I do not see him logged in, please find him and send him my status report in my que folder".

(Using sign language analytics) ... Alexa, I need help with this file cabinet, please beacon for assistance.

Consumers, Customers and Council be prepared to change the sales pitch, that little IT nerd you have micro managed and stripped of power that was once a great Unix Administration God is now found a way back onto your map!

(Hikvision), surely you can pursue this competition. Then you will not need an Enterprise VMS that people are dying to persecute.

Are we now so quick to condemn new technology changes?

8, in fairness, the issue people have is the camera being poor for a 2016 camera and the price being so high for a 2016 camera.

The 'Single point of management including licensing' has benefits but do you really think they outweigh the negatives for most users?

Are we now so quick to condemn new technology changes?

Maybe Cisco should master the old technology first, no?

@ JH, yes the Meraki camera specifications as marketed are easily out rivaled. Especially if the benchmark shootout of video is based on price+quality. Innovation is key element, what exactly are their intentions of that 5mp sensor? Are there any other hidden upgrades that were not broadcasted the involve future adaptations with the Meraki/Cisco products?

Onboard storage, engineering consolidated and simplified and what seems to be a unified deployment as we all will use the same dashboard for management. I am no SME however the design seems to fall into the DIYs realm **IT Not Required.

My knee jerk reaction to this concept is - Immediate Deployment and the reduction of training all those integrator technicians to master each and every nuance of each and every VMS/IPC GUI available. I know we are all different however look at the similarities between these simple CLIs...BASH, TERMINAL, COMMAND PROMPT, POWERSHELL. Soon IoT will have Cybersecurity at the push of an online audit button, if we are going to get there we have to embrace the simple applications that can be contained to a device before we disperse features that get embedded into VMS manufacturer as a derivative niche that will come at a cost to enable.

Strategic Cisco accounts will never be sold at list price you'll see 70% off these prices For deals that's Cisco wants to get in with for something more strategic and proprietary.

Found a couple videos on how the interface works:

Cisco, where $40k for a network switch that otherwise would cost under $3k is somehow sensible.  Sure, jack up the camera prices, who will notice?  And as all Cisco folks will tell you the Internet is ubiquitous and infinitely reliable so what's yer problem with it all being in the cloud and requiring net access to view video? And what's with this dinky Cisco division buying a SIA membership?


Next up: Tesla cameras.  $8k but comes with a solar battery good for 30 days in the dark?



We will see if Cisco has the free giveway of these to I.T. industry people, I have their, Merkai switch, firewall for free for just watching a webinar.  If they add this to the lineup I will get my greedy hands on one, and do a hands on review.  I would never buy one but I would take a free one.  I think they will sell a lot of these at this price point, we are all laughing, but these will sell to IT departments.  There are a lot if places where the IT department is in charge of cameras, and an all Cisco shop will just scoop these up and not bat an eye at the price.  After all IT departments have big budgets , and spending $100,000's of dollars on equipment is normal for them. 

After all IT departments have big budgets , and spending $100,000's of dollars on equipment is normal for them.

Overall, the Cisco strategy of overcharging their core customers has not worked well for years. Ergo, the repeated layoffs, the significant challenges to grow revenue, etc.

That said, I do agree that relative to security industry standards, given Cisco's still large size (nearly $50 billion annual revenue total), they will sell a 'lot'.

On the other hand, it is a destructive long term strategy to gouge your core customer base, as their own results over the past number of years has shown.

Guys, I don't know exactly how Cisco sell in US, but in CIS MSRP is a partner price list nobody uses, even customers know the partner prices and use them to demand discounts. I was doing several projects (not groundbreaking or super value to Cisco) without gold partnership with Cisco. My client just demanded 60% discount on hardware, I've translated the demand of 70% (cause I want to resell and not just give) and Cisco said OK.

As for the Cisco security - yes their market shortens and this is obvious it is not good to buy all security stuff from one brand. 

Has anyone done any installs or business with these cameras?  The IT department has roped me into a webinar with them and I want to know how much I should be paying attention....

The IT department has roped me into a webinar with them

And that is the power of Cisco, even in 2017...

We have not looked into them any further given the numerous product limitations and far higher pricing.

Looks like Meraki is going to update their cameras:

1080p just in time for 2018! :)

Here is the new camera: MV12N

I did a review for my IT Counterparts in Nov 2017 who were asked to share their feedback at Meraki User Forum.  I state these are MY OPINONS and do not reflect those of my employer.

Meraki Video Surveillance Comments

IP Camera/Edge Recording Platform

  • Storage/Retention
    • The MV solution has limited capabilities due to only offering on-board SD Storage at this time. Published MV retention is about 20 days on SD Card using Motion Only Recording.
      • SD Card Lifecycle Management could be an operational challenge to manage in a large enterprise deployment similar to LARGE FINANCIAL ORG with 100K+ Cameras. The average lifecycle of SD Card is about 10K hours/400 days of video @ 24/7 Recording.
    • Typical banking requirements range from 30 – 120 days. LARGE FINANCIAL ORG Retail Banking requires a minimum of 90 days’ worth of video storage/retention. Adding features such as Cloud or NAS Storage as the Primary Storage to increase Video Retention would be recommended.
  • Recording Options
    • The MV records on Motion Only Video which presents some operational challenges in banking. Many users even outside of financial require Continuous Recording as well as Motion Recording options. The premise is to record activity at lower frame rate/resolution with no motion is present in case motion algorithm did not detect motion in FoV.
      • A typical VMS will offer both Motion and Continuous Recording Options that are configurable on a per camera basis using schedules.
      • Example would be with no active motion the camera would record at 1fps @ selected resolution and upon motion detection would then record at @10fps. Pre/Post Motion times are user definable.
  • Sensor Resolution
    • MV Camera is fixed at 720P even though the CMOS Sensor is 2560x1920 (5MP). 720P video is considered to be below the industry standard of a minimum resolution and does not provide sufficient resolution for IP Cameras.
    • LARGE FINANCIAL ORG Retail Banking requires a minimum resolution of 1080P (1920x1080/2MP).
    • The camera needs to be a create and record individual streams as defined by operator, example is one camera for every two teller stations but each teller has its own “virtual camera” using a single camera/sensor  Multi-Streaming/Camera Virtualization
  • Codecs
    • MV does not appear to employ the use of Smart Codecs to reduce Storage/Retention (and bandwidth in none edge based recording)
      • It is suggested to using H.265 and or SmartCodecs to reduce the amount of Storage needed to meet minimum Storage/Retention Requirements.
      • Using SmartCodecs will also allow for increased MV Camera Resolutions beyond published limitations.
  • Form Factor/Lens Options
    • The current MV offerings is just two form factors with limited lens options do not need to needs of a supplier to find products that are flexible and can be used in a wide variety of applications.
      • As an example LARGE FINANCIAL ORG Banking has needs for multiple form factors
        • Mini-dome w/2.8mm – 20mm Lens Remote Focus/Zoom
        • Box Camera w/multiple lens options
        • ATM/Covert Camera (ultra-small form factor) w/fixed 2.8mm lens

Data Integrations

  • The MV Platform does not appear to have any data integrations available to allow for the indexing of metadata to an associated camera to be used for searching of video files by metadata.
    • POS/ATM/Teller Transaction Data Systems
      • LARGE FINANCIAL ORG Retail Banking has a requirement to capture ALL Transactional Metadata and index to Video files for searching based upon transaction data queries. Those captured fields allow a user to search in quick and efficient manner to locate the event they are looking for by not searching through video in a linear fashion.
    • Intrusion Panel Integration
      • Banking requires CCTV/Intrusion Alarm (DMP) Integration for Alarm Video Verification in Central Station. This feature allows our SC Analysts to visually verify a Hold Up/Intrusion Alarm in real time using Live Video feeds from the Brach to allow for quicker dispatching of authorities upon verified alarms.  
  • PACS Integration
    • LARGE FINANCIAL ORG Facilities w/Physical Access Control Systems (PACS) and CCTV typically have Video Integration to capture and index PACS Data as for reporting and well as Live Monitoring for PACS Alarm Conditions
      •  LARGE FINANCIAL ORG Corporate Security requires CCTV and PACS Integration for all facilities meeting a certain risk level. This allows CS to monitor alarms/events in real time for things such as Door Forced/Held, Anti-Pass Back Violation etc.


  • Cloud Managed
    • Configuration/Patch Management
    • Secure Tunneling
    • Web Interface (no FAT Client)
    • User Access Management
    • Health Alerting Dashboard
  • Plug N Play
    • Auto Discovery of devices in Dashboard
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