Exclusive: Transforming security with cloud-based video

The new cloud approach, developed by global Wi-Fi and distributed computing solutions leader, Cisco Meraki, is a significant advance on previous ‘cloud’ offerings in the video security market. These are often not true cloud solutions at all, but simply modifications of existing systems which incorporate a cloud component.

Meraki has come to the sector without the burden of a legacy video portfolio – no baggage – so we’ve had the freedom to start from scratch, ask what’s really needed and develop a new model that really takes full advantage of cloud architecture for the first time.

Looking at how the market will now develop this has exciting potential for the security sector, with many benefits for surveillance applications.

A chance to discover the new cloud video offering

We’ll be exploring these advantages in an introductory webinar on 27 January at 14.00 GMT.

If you work in security or have an interest in IP video but you haven’t looked at cloud video in a serious way yet, this webinar will be your perfect starting point.

Register here

What you’ll learn when you join the webinar:

Find out who we are and why we see such huge potential in the security sector

In the IT and networking world Cisco Meraki is one of the most trusted solutions providers, but our pedigree may be less familiar to security professionals.

Our Wi-Fi, cloud and network solutions are used by more than 500,000 customers around the world, from small businesses to multinational enterprises. We have more than 8 million active network devices online, with more than 2.5 million active networks, making us the global leader in the areas that we specialise in.

Cisco’s cybersecurity capability exceeds that of many governments and is comparable with that of the world’s most advanced intelligence agencies, an expertise which of course feeds into Cisco Meraki technology.

This breadth of activity gives us a detailed understanding of what organisations want now – and will want in the future – when it comes to investing in their corporate infrastructures and capabilities.

And that increasingly includes cloud security.

Learn why more video customers will shift to cloud architecture, as IT and physical security converge

As we look to 2021 and beyond, organisations will be more focused on achieving new operational efficiencies, building competitiveness and increasing resilience.

They’ll also want more usable data as they adapt their corporate systems to the challenges of the future and, increasingly, to the realities of decarbonisation.

For a growing number of customers, these strategic priorities will apply not just to their IT and networks, but to their video surveillance and wider security systems too.

We see customers asking for:

  • True ease-of-use – with advance video tools that are intuitive and accessible for every level of user, whether that’s senior managers and general administrators to trained, front-line security operators.
  • Easier and faster video system design – both for initial installation and subsequent upgrades.
  • More efficient data processing and management – including affordable transmission and storage.
  • Analytics that deliver genuine value and insight – not just for security, but increasingly for business intelligence too. We’ve purpose-built our tools for usability, featuring extensible and open APIs, plus in-dashboard graphs and overviews.
  • The highest level of cybersecurity – and assurance that their layers of protection will keep pace with emerging threats.
  • More rapid solutions deployment and delivery – including faster camera installation and more flexible, remote commissioning.
  • ‘Extensibility’ – which means the ease with which solutions can be developed and extended by adding new tools and functions. As we’ll explain in relation to video, with true extensibility comes genuine futureproofing, because your solution can be easily upgraded and developed rather than ‘ripped and replaced’.

In our webinar we’ll be covering each of these areas and explaining how cloud video scores highly in every case.

Discover the benefits of simplified video solutions with advanced capability at the edge

With conventional IP video systems, it’s hard to avoid complexity. You need to configure the various elements (cameras and related devices, NVRs and VMS) to make sure everything works together. Where multiple vendors are involved that leads to complexity.

Difficulties don’t just arise during installation, but potentially whenever elements of the system are updated, or when subsequent hardware upgrades are needed.

And if you don’t upgrade you leave yourself open to huge network vulnerability.

Neither do these systems scale well. If you need to add a camera you may also have to upgrade your storage.

The Meraki video product philosophy is about solving those problems. When we first looked at the security camera market, we wanted to build something from the ground up to let customers accomplish what they needed to without the complexity of disadvantages of traditional systems. For example, we wanted to make it easier to manage busy surveillance operations by setting up unique user accounts with role-based permissions and access. We wanted to combine simplicity with granular control, down to individual camera level, with role-based permissions for every function from live view only, live view-plus-review, to full video export rights.

  • With our architecture the scene being recorded is stored on each individual camera ‘on device’. This means that storage scales up very logically with each new device added and it eliminates the single point of failure that exists with traditional NVR based solutions.
  • Configuring the cameras and watching the video is all made easy through the Meraki dashboard, which the user can log into from any modern web browser.
  • We’ve designed in the most efficient method of video data handling and whether the user is viewing video locally or remotely in both cases the process is the same: the operator simply logs into the browser-based dashboard. If the system is being viewed locally, the video is pulled directly from the camera and streamed to the viewing device, using only LAN bandwidth. If the system is being viewed remotely, the Meraki dashboard automatically creates a secure cloud proxy stream to send the video from the camera, over the Internet, to the viewing device.
  • We are very bandwidth conscious: because primary storage is on the camera itself, very little bandwidth is used unless video is being watched.

Cybersecurity – Find out why Cisco Meraki cloud video solutions have the highest protection

Through 2021 and beyond cybersecurity will become increasingly critical, with corporate resilience and reputations dependent on privacy, data security and robust networks. For customers, no video system is acceptable if it leaves open potential backdoors into corporate networks or is in any way vulnerable to video data theft.

The Meraki cloud is the largest and most battle-tested cloud platform in networking.

Our webinar will help you understand more about this vital issue – explaining:

  • how our video is automatically encrypted at rest and in transit;
  • how our firmware is automatically updated from the cloud;
  • and how we make it easy to configure systems with unique usernames, passwords and access for each user based on their authorisation level.

Video analytics – Why cloud solutions are about much more than security and why that matters

In the fast-developing field of video analytics we have an opportunity to deliver exciting new value for customers who are more than ever focused on operational efficiency and competitiveness.

With our cloud-managed architecture, video is analysed on the camera, for motion and objects and is then accessed securely from the Meraki cloud and is accessible wherever and whenever you need it.

This means we can be very agile and move ahead of traditional video surveillance systems whose functions have been designed largely with risk and security in mind. Our cloud architecture makes motion and object detection easier to use and easier to install and adapt.

Privacy-compliant detection of people and vehicles

All our internal cameras feature anonymised people detection, fully compliant with GDPR and privacy legislation and our external cameras have additional anonymised vehicle detection capability.

These analytics are ready to go out-of-the-box for a wide range of applications. For example, if a retailer wants an additional camera – or set of cameras – to analyse a new pattern of customer behaviour in a particular part of their store, that’s now much easier to do. Or if a business needs to measure building occupancy, or understand traffic flow or use of parking pays, that can be quickly delivered.

And whatever purpose the cameras are needed for, a major benefit for the customer is agility and speed of implementation. Installation is completely plug-and-play and can leverage wireless networks if required with minimal disruption and cost. The new cameras are then easily configured and commissioned, even remotely and in tandem with security and loss prevention manager, using the intuitive Meraki dashboard. And of course, each new camera comes with its own on-board storage and works instantly to add value and deliver new insight.

A new ecosystem for video and security tech

The Cisco Meraki cloud video model has one other major benefit that we’ll be exploring in our webinar: the fact that it does not degrade but gets better from the day it’s installed. How? Because it’s a dynamic solution that can be continually extended and improved.

Users can take advantage not just of Meraki smart cameras, but easy integration with third-party technologies. These can include specialist detectors or devices that are easily linked to cameras via Bluetooth, or the latest third-party computer vision services that automatically analyse recorded scenes to determine everything from the ages of people shown to the license plates and colours of vehicles.

So as these analytics and other tools advance, the Meraki cloud-based model ensures that your system will keep pace and never need to be ripped and replaced again.

Register here

If you’d like to learn more or join the conversation about Cisco Meraki’s new cloud-based video offering, our webinar on 27 January 2021 at 14.00 is open to you. For help or further information, email [email protected] or call +44 (0)203 640 6121.

This article was published in the January 2021 edition of International Security Journal. Pick up your FREE digital copy here