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Security hardware, software that make retail smarter than ever

Security hardware, software that make retail smarter than ever
Today’s offline retailers are enabled with a range of security technology tools to boost their stores’ performance. These include IP cameras and various analytics. In this article we take a closer look at how they can help retailers.
Today’s offline retailers are enabled with a range of security technology tools to boost their stores’ performance. These include IP cameras and various analytics. In this article we take a closer look at how they can help retailers.
In the previous article we discussed certain retail challenges. These include shrinkage/losses, manpower shortages and poor customer experience. Luckily, security, especially video surveillance, can help in this regard.
“Video surveillance is critical not just for looking back on recorded video from a theft incident to prosecute the offender but also to prevent future crimes, just as a coach would review game footage to see what could have been done better. Retailers are returning to recorded video to analyze past incidents to improve policies for loss prevention, manage employees in the store remotely or evaluate different locations from the home office in lieu of physical travel,” said Keith Abuele, Chief Security Officer at Salient Systems.
Below we look at certain video surveillance hardware and software that can come in handy to make retail smarter than ever.


Cameras are essential in video surveillance systems in retail. Different cameras can help retailers in different ways.
According to Jason Burrows, Regional Sales Director for Western U.S. at IDIS, panoramic or fisheyes enable comprehensive surveillance of shop floors, showrooms, and aisles. “They provide wide area coverage that’s free of blind-spots and make it easier to identify and tackle shrinkage and theft, investigate incidents, and see activity right to the periphery of every scene,” he said.
Burrows added that discreet mini-domes and bullets can be focused on high-value items, cash desks, returns counters, and stock rooms, deterring theft, sweethearting and fraud. High-definition pinhole cameras also offer a discreet option for upscale boutiques and jewelers as they can be invisibly blended into displays of designer handbags, precious gems, and luxury watches,” he said.
Further, Burrows said traditional fixed lens cameras and PTZs placed at entrances, exits and parking lots are ideal tools for deterring crime, and increasing protection for vehicles and drivers. “These cameras can also be leveraged for car parking management and for gathering business intelligence through AI-powered license plate recognition,” he noted.
Meanwhile, digital signage can be combined with audio and analytics to provide possibilities for some clever usage. “For example, retailers can show certain messages based on visitor frequency in pre-defined zones, display a notification on the screen when a certain number of people have passed, and play content related to the weather,” said Atul Rajput, Director of Channel Partners and End Customers for EMEA at Axis Communications.

Video management software

To well manage different video feeds taken by cameras, a good video management software is needed. This is especially true when data sharing to combat retail crime and other issues has become more important than ever among retailers.
“Local law enforcement often don’t have the time or resources to investigate and prosecute organized retail crime (ORC) at the store or regional level, so retailers are taking it upon themselves to investigate ORC internally. A lot more information is shared from store-to-store and between different brands to have a consolidated approach to mitigating ORC,” said Abuele. “From a VMS perspective, there are tools that help retailers play the long game and share data across enterprises with the click of the mouse by creating a database with information from a multiple-years-long investigation.”


Then, there are analytics that can help retailers boost security, efficiency and business intelligence.
“For improved loss prevention in larger stores, malls, and parking areas, AI-powered analytics tools include intrusion, objection, and loitering detection, all of which can take pressure off busy monitoring teams by reducing false alarms and triggering automated alerts when security intervention is most needed,” Burrows said. “Analytics are also making it easier to review recorded footage, with the ability to search for events, objects, and people, and to pinpoint irregular transactions.”
From a business intelligence perspective, analytics can also play a key role.
People counting technology enables retailers to count in real time the number of people passing under the camera and in what direction. Being armed with this data means these insights can be used to inform decisions, such as staffing levels during peak times,” said Rajput. “Similar to people counting technology, queue monitoring enables retailers to track how many people are standing in a predefined area (e.g. a queue) and the level of activity within that area. It can also be used to trigger real-time push alerts to staff or speakers if the queue is too long. Retailers can gather information on average waiting times and churn rates, allowing them to swiftly make alterations.”
Rajput added: “When visualizing the store as a whole, heat maps built using collected data can enable quick identification of hot spots, dead areas and bottlenecks over a set period of time and real-time.”

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