End users are now not only pursuing for higher image resolution and more up-to-date surveillance systems but added values from their investment in the security systems. Video footage, for example, sourced from surveillance systems can turn into actionable information with proper analysis, and further serve daily operation and assist decision making. “IP solutions offer the most benefit and retailers are actively looking to connect multiple systems together to gather more data and enhance situational awareness,” said Steve Gorski, Chief Sales Officer at Scallop Imaging.
“But many retailers still rely on analog solution because of the previous investments in legacy technology,” continued Gorski. When it comes to retrofit projects, most of the retailers have to upgrade under constrains of limited budget, making a total migration to the IP systems from existing CCTV systems unrealistic, despite IP solution does offer more cutting-edge applications. Instead of ripping out previous investments at once, many end users may opt for migrating in a slower pace – keeping part of the analog systems while adopting IP-based devices only at location necessary – with hybrid solution, leaving hybrid solution a strong place in this competitive market.
When it comes to retrofit projects in chain stores, making sure of the consistency between new and existing investments and interoperability between multiple systems at disparate locations is the most crucial factor for successful systems upgrades. “End users need assurance that the products they have invested money in work seamlessly with other new products or existing investments,” emphasized Mitchell Kane, President of Vanderbilt Industries.
“Another challenge to retrofit projects is making sure users are thoroughly trained on system operation,” Kane continued. It is important for the integrators to provide an intuitive interface with easy user experience that the staff can get familiar with in the shortest possible time. This also helps to minimize downtime and disruption during installation.
Open architecture is one of the most prominent criteria for systems upgrades. “When retrofitting an antedated IP system, end users must select an open platform security solution. This ensures support for their current IP cameras and third-party systems in place, such as access control, point-of-sale, and retail analytics,” said Karen Olsen, National Retail Sales Manager at Tyco Security Products. Adopting systems with open architecture ensures that the investment is scalable and flexible, making future upgrades and systems migration easier to implement.
It is also important to keep in mind that chain-wide operation is one of retailers’ top considerations. “In the chain store sector, considering several sites are involved in the project, the migration path must be taken under consideration to allow all sites to keep pace with the changing technology,” said Johan Akesson, Business Development Director of Retail at Axis Communications. Considering that the conditions at each store might be very different, it is important to choose the best-suited camera model for every single site as well, according to Akesson.
One of the most common requests from the chain stores is connecting video surveillance with video analytics software. For instance, with fine integration between video surveillance systems and POS systems, the system will automatically inform manager the POS exception along with the corresponding video footage, according to Akesson. Furthermore, video analytics can be used for optimizing customers’ experience in the stores. “The customer’s shopping pattern can be tracked and analyzed in online stores, retailers can follow the customer’s journey in a brick-and-mortar by using video footage and analytics software to be kept updated of the customer’s habits and interests,” Akesson continued.
Being able to gather actionable information is important. However, ultimately, given the fact that systems may reside at several locations, cities, or even countries, being able to efficiently make the most of these information with centralized management system is a must-coming trend. As more and more retailers recognize centralized platform as a mean of data sourcing across multiple departments in the organization, applying could-based service and full IP-based systems will inevitably become their next upgrades goal.
“Retailers will continue to move to an IP/HD video infrastructure over time, with more use of cloud-based services built upon video metadata,” said Alex Johnson, Senior Director of Retail Technology at Verint Systems. Retail facilities require solutions that can be leveraged by multiple departments within the organization; these solutions not only enhance the added values of technology but also achieve return on investment (ROI) in short order. “And there will be a greater push toward more ‘real time’ actionable information versus traditional forensic use of solutions,” Johnson concluded.
As Internet of Thing (IoT) has become even mature and widespread, suppliers are then able to provide more mobile functions, enhancing interoperability between disparate systems at various sites. With remote control over video surveillance systems, access control and other equipment, the chain store owners are promised the most instant operation information and effective management anytime anywhere. “This feature is also valuable in helping owners and managers remotely manage employees and customer service during store hours, as well as allow for delivery access when the store is closed for business,” Kane commented.
Retailer has started to set their eyes on highly integrated solutions instead of acquiring for single security products. In the future, it will no longer about those functions merely serving security purposes; users now care more about how the systems help to increase business benefits and provide actionable data for precise decision making.