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Cisco adds ML to Meraki cameras to track objects

Cisco's MV Sense is available as a subscription with Meraki MV cameras. Companies can use the service to count boxes in a warehouse or track equipment on a factory floor.

Cisco has introduced analytics software for Meraki MV cameras that tracks the location of inventory in warehouses, machinery on factory floors and the use of protective gear in hospitals.

MV Sense, launched this week, is a subscription service using machine learning (ML) algorithms to enable Meraki MV cameras to recognize specific objects. The machine learning technology is from Cisco partner Cogniac.

The Cogniac technology lets Meraki cameras collect data and send it to a business intelligence platform for processing. The software supports Tableau BI and Microsoft Power BI. Cogniac specializes in AI-powered computer vision that performs tasks like image recognition.

The data helps organizations track boxes of products in warehouses and machinery on an assembly line. Also, it can help hospitals track whether nurses and doctors are wearing required protective gear.

"Most verticals have something they want to keep track of," said Andreas Nordgren, head of camera intelligence at Cisco. 

The latest technology adds to the surveillance capabilities of Meraki cameras. Companies use the product today to track the number of people in a conference room and the room's temperature and humidity.

Bundling AI or ML software with hardware reduces the need to hire a systems integrator to connect products from separate vendors, IDC analyst Mike Jude said.

Cisco Meraki camera
Cisco's Meraki MV cameras use machine learning software from Cogniac to track objects in warehouses and on a factory floor.

"What's notable about this is it's building a one-stop shop," Jude said. "In the not-too-distant future, other vendors will do this too. We view this as a market-moving announcement."

The Cogniac platform works with all second-generation Meraki MV cameras except the MV52. They include the MV2, MV12N, MV12W, MV12WE, MV22 and MV22X.

Meraki MV models cost as much as $3,200. The first 10 a company buys will come with MV Sense licenses. Companies will have to buy a separate license for each additional camera. The license costs $150 for one year, $300 for three years, $450 for five years and $600 for seven years. 

MV Sense faces competition from computer vision vendors like and Cognex and large companies like Amazon that offer computer vision services.  However, those vendors have yet to release cameras and ML services in a bundle, Jude said.

Cisco released the first Meraki MV in 2016 as a security camera. The camera required no additional on-premises hardware or software. Instead, companies managed it through the Meraki cloud-based dashboard.

Maxim Tamarov is a news writer covering mobile and end-user computing. He previously wrote for The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C., and the Sun Transcript in Winthrop, Mass. He can be found on Twitter at @MaximTamarov.

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