Skip to main content
Cisco Meraki

MV Encoding Improvements: Smart Codec


For video encoding, a standard codec such as H.264 will use one set of compression algorithms to compress a RAW video into an encoded video. A Smart Codec will dynamically adjust the parameters within the compression algorithm in real time in order to efficiently increase or decrease the compression levels. 

MV cameras use H.264 by default and starting MV4.15, Gen2 MV cameras will implement Smart Codec encoding. 

Benefits of Smart Codec 

Smart Codec can be beneficial in many ways not limited to the following: 

  • Improved on-camera video retention

  • Low bandwidth utilization for Cloud Archive uploads

  • Low bandwidth utilization for local and cloud streaming 

  • Faster file exports 

As Smart Codec aims at reducing the overall size required to store videos, any action where video file sizes have an effect will be improved. 

Retention Improvements with Smart Codec 

Smart Codec aims at offering up to twice as much video retention improvement on our Gen2 MV product line. This would mean that a camera running a specific resolution and video quality setting will experience anywhere up to twice as much retention when it is upgraded to a firmware supporting Smart Codec. 

One of the main factors that influences the compression algorithm is the amount of motion seen by the camera at a given time. As every camera sees a different scene and thus, a different amount of motion, the benefits of Smart Codec will also vary with different cameras. 

Due to the dynamic nature of Smart Codec, every camera will not see the exact amount of retention as it will be dependent on the scene the camera is looking at, however, all cameras will see improvements with the retention. 

The following factors can affect the retention on a Smart Codec enabled camera: 

  • Amount of motion seen throughout the day

  • Camera being in day or night mode

  • Lightning condition and noise level in the frame

With the roll out of Smart Codec, the Quality and Retention page has been updated to reflect more dynamic retention values per cameras. 

Screen Shot 2021-12-02 at 10.26.33 AM.png

For every camera running Smart Codec, the retention values will be estimated based on the motion data and storage used by the video over the last 3 days. This will provide more accurate retention values based on each and individual camera. 

Video Quality with Smart Codec 

The goal with Smart Codec is to achieve maximum efficiency with compression of video while maintaining the video quality option as set on dashboard.

Network Bandwidth and Cloud Archive Benefits  

As Smart Codec reduces the size of the video files, the benefits can also be noticed with respect to the network bandwidth required by the camera to perform local stream and cloud stream. For cameras using Cloud Archive, this network bandwidth usage will be most visible as seen below: 


This screenshot displays the network bandwidth usage with Cloud Archive enabled for a MV using 1080p at standard video quality setting with H.264 (top) and Smart Codec (below). 


What is a codec? 

A codec is software that encodes or decodes a data stream like video. Meraki MV smart cameras use the H.264 codec. Starting MV4.15, MV cameras will start using Smart Codec.

How do we deliver more video retention?  

Smart Codec analyzes a scene in real-time and optimizes video retention and playback dynamically. It observes various levels of motions, and other parameters to apply corresponding levels of compression logic to the video files by intelligently determining which scenes require more compression and which scenes do not. 

How much video retention improvement can be expected?  

As the Smart Codec applies various compression algorithms based on the amount of motion detected, the video retention noticed on the cameras will also depend on the motion detected. For most cameras, the results show double the improvement in the video retention as of November 2021. 

How is this going to affect the video quality?  

The Smart Codec will achieve various levels of compressions on videos while maintaining the visible video quality. 

Which MV cameras will leverage the new Smart codec?  

All second generation MV cameras (MV12, MV22, MV32 and MV72) will receive the Smart Codec update. MV2 will be supported with a future firmware update. 

Will Gen1 Cameras support Smart Codec?  

Gen 1 cameras will not support Smart Codec. 

Smart Codec Troubleshooting 

Different cameras with different retention days

If there are different cameras set to the same settings and showing different days of retention, please note that this is not an unexpected behavior, as the dynamic results of Smart Codec relies on various factors such as motion detection, day and night mode, lighting conditions, noise, etc.

  • Was this article helpful?