Of course with all new products there is that nice and new feeling you get, the taking off the wrapper of the goodies under the tree. Well, keep that in mind, they did get the box right, Cisco Meraki makes this an “Apple” like party. No need to have lots of paperwork that is tossed away, of course all the little screws and misc parts are in a nice little foam sponge like thing–very handy when doing an install(they do the same with the phone and access points). Here are some box pics. Uhm. Yeah.
So on to the camera, this thing is huge, not sure I like that, I’m comparing this to an existing Axis P3344 camera. A little bit about that, I love Axis products, not the cheapest by any means, but damn rock solid for the last 10+ years I’ve been using them. Never had any issues and it always did exactly what I wanted it to do. Of course your mileage may very. And here are some pics of our Axis camera.
So not too bad, the Axis is much smaller, not as deep as the Meraki camera, can I live with that? Maybe. On to the installation… Okay .. this part was odd .. We use Belkin CAT 6 molded cables. It was a little tough getting the cable in. See the pics…
After cramming the cable in, not the best placement–compared to how the Axis is plugged in(see the pics). But then again, this is not something you constantly plug and unplug. Moving on … Now Meraki is good for doing the cloud configuration and latest firmware updates, just plug the stuff in … wait 1o or so minutes for the updates, get some coffee or RedBull, watch the green blinking light(no color rainbow like the APs??) then configure. Simple. However, this is a camera you really need to touch it more after the physical installation is done. I figure that’s expected.
So what’s odd?… the clear dome that covers the camera portion, just turn that a little, like very little and it pops right off and then you can move the camera around. Hmmm. So it could be pointed up, up and into the sky. Well, okay. This is the Internet, use your imagination on this. 🙂
But wait a minute, how would you secure the dome? This is what Axis did….yeah see the pics.
They have it screwed down internally and included two dome options, clear and frosted. What is shown is frosted. Which also includes a black plastic part that covers more of the camera parts. Wait, you said it’s screwed down? I have a screw driver! But is it a Torx one? All the screws are Torx heads. Hmm ok. Meraki does that too. Cool. And, just like the Access Points and now Camera, one security screw is all you need.
Well I finally get it mounted, which that was odd–and I didn’t take any pictures– was how it mounted to the wall plate. It includes a wall plate that you put wherever and then the camera slides onto that. Actually pretty nice. BUT the placement of the network cable and how it lines up with the part that the security screw goes into made it like I had to twist the camera and push down onto the mount plate in an odd way all at the same time. Maybe this is by design to slow people down–you know from taking the camera–which has the security videos.
The hard stuff is done, now onto the Meraki Magic, you know the part where you Merakify everything. Yeah, I hear that’s a thing now, Merakify. Listen, just go with it.
Everything on the dashboard is pretty much just like any other Meraki product, you claim the order/license/whatever number and add it to a Network(you create a new Camera Nework) then combine the Camera Network to an existing Network and you’re done. Simple.
Now, finally to the part that I think could just be a software update. Having finer rotation settings, you either have 180 or 0 degrees. So that’s that mattress man.
But hey you can move the camera lens around after you just pop the clear dome off, and yes– you –can. But let me show you the issue I have—-yeah–more pics. 🙂
Hmm, that looks like shit, well yeah it does. Our camera is mounted on a concrete column by our front elevator. You can see people moving around, ok that’s fine, However this is what the other camera could do. ugh more pics… See how rotation comes into play.
The other camera you could digitally rotate the picture for a better view. NICE!
And, the full screen option is pretty bad on the Meraki side, here’s why… I had to add a camera to a “video wall” and then that “wall layout” becomes full screen, notice the gray side and black bottom bars on the other picture? That’s because the Video Wall only allows a camera to take up so much area of the wall, then the entire wall becomes full screen, you get it?! If I had more cameras I don’t think this would be so bad. Hmm. I would think I should be able to full screen that camera, from the dashboard list of attached cameras?
Nope… I don’t see the button, do you?
So far in this post we have lots of “you can do this with something else or this with that blah blah and this sucks”. I know. I know. Why not just put the other camera back in. etc… etc…
Well, everybody wants to believe in something, right, maybe the next software update will be: “You and me, Max… …we’re gonna give them back their heroes.”
Or maybe not…
I’ll leave you with this, you can Merakify however you like, every product launch has good and bad. Do we know all the details as to why? Nope, Should we? Ok that’s fine. BUT you have to have goals and those goals have to be precise.
I kinda like this quote:
You come at me, you better know I move quick...
...and when I do, I slice like a goddamn hammer.
So you're not gonna make Reuben whole?