Key Solutions Retailers Deploy

Predominant solutions include video, access control, point-of-sale systems, intrusion and panic alarms, EAS, electronic product protection and suspicious vehicle identification, said Scott Thomas, Director of Business Development, Retail Market, Genetec.

"The focus of chain store retailers is revenue maximization," said Oren Feldmann, Vice President of Marketing & Sales for EVT Technologies. "Their focus is on cost-effective solutions that can easily integrate with many other systems and are designed to utilize all existing security and surveillance devices, such as existing analog cameras."

EAS is used predominantly in very large retail facilities such as hypermarkets, clothing and toy shops, and to a lesser extent in drug and convenience stores, said Everett. However, the advent of self-checkout in supermarkets throughout Europe has led to a reduction in need for EAS.

Some retailers are still using tape-based analog systems; only a small number use the latest networked digital technology. According to Feldmann, the biggest users of network video are Wal-Mart, Target, malls and shopping centers. Tesco, the U.K.'s largest supermarket retailer, has installed imaging cameras to minimize queue waiting time.

All stores within the Edgars chain have intruder alarm systems, which are being upgraded to a digital system; smoke detection integrated with surveillance and alarms is also in the cards. Cosmetic stores within the chain are also equipped with EAS from Checkpoint Systems.

IP and Analytics in Retail

In terms of analytics, 40 percent of retail stores which are planning to install the technology have already chosen the vendor they will be working with. However, only 20 percent of the market is currently using analytics. There are more than 50 different types of algorithms used in higher end commercial analytic systems, making it possible for retailers to combine these and create a best-fit solution, said James Somerville Smith, Market Development Director for Honeywell Systems Group in EMEA.

Analytics in cameras without video management does not allow the user to manage live images from different cameras, which are embedded with different kinds of analytics at the same time, warned Feldmann. Video management software also allows different systems to follow different commands input by the operator at the same time and send alerts to different people according to the area in which the trigger was set off.

While the main sources of loss have not changed, methods employed by individuals to accomplish these thefts and overall impact on profits are changing, said David Gorman, President and CEO of retail loss prevention consulting firm David Gorman & Associates. "The application of traditional solutions for controlling loss has, for years, represented an industry-wide best-practice paradigm that is now undergoing significant change. Loss prevention directors must embrace more current technological advancements to maintain expected ROI."

Analytics: Data Mining Software

Data mining software is the most popular analytical tool used by retailers to analyze POS data, said Paul Everett, Senior Research Analyst, IMS Research.. Technically, data mining is the process of finding correlations or patterns among dozens of fields in large relational databases. Exception reporting is being used by retailers to identify cashier transaction patterns, such as above-average numbers of voids,cancellations, and other unusual transactions that might indicate theft, fraud or error. Most exception reporting tools look for trends in saved data rather than detect anomalies in real time.

Another example is loading bay areas outside warehouses where analytics determines whether a fork lift truck enters a truck when full and exits when empty, as opposed to the reverse when the truck is supposed to be being loaded. This is used to identify and prevent fraud at the loading bay. In addition, analytics is being increasingly used to monitor suspicious behavior in car parks where systems can be set to alarm if someone is either loitering or walking up and down a row of cars rather than walking directly to his or her car.

As for shopping centers and department stores, analytics can be used by owners of malls to find out where high-traffic areas are, and shop space rentals can be adjusted accordingly. Within department stores, oft-used exits and entryways can be monitored, and use of these as shortcuts can be curbed. Additionally, displays near doors and gates can be altered to attract customers to new products by using analytics to automatically analyze number of people standing in a particular area and dwell times over the course of a day or days.

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