Magazine Article | December 16, 2008

Make Surveillance A Business Advantage

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

As LP (loss prevention) options advance technologically, retailers have a greater ability to reduce shrink and, in turn, increase profits.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, January 2009

Most retailers are quick to adapt new technologies because competition is fierce, and retail managers are looking for an advantage. Because of this, most retail operations today are computerized and networked. To go a step further with technology, retailers may want to consider IP (Internet Protocol) video surveillance to 'video enable' the store.

What every LP professional strives for is reduced shrinkage/theft and subsequently, the highest store performance possible against the bottom line. An IP-based network can decrease shrink and improve performance because images are stored and read as digital information, which can be accessed from anywhere on the network. This allows LP to access these images along with other departments to view, analyze, and manage the content to make informed decisions for the company. Built-in intelligence enables cameras to detect suspicious behavior, allowing LP staff to create solid evidence when an incident occurs.

IP video surveillance is meeting expectations of many of today's traditional retailers in reducing theft. Most, if not all, companies have an existing network infrastructure already in place. With the savings being realized from VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) phones and other network-based solutions, why not share the same 'pipe' for LP? An important consideration is choosing the right platform software that can enable IP video surveillance when considering network-based solutions. Choosing IP video software with an open platform can prepare the company's infrastructure for the future because it is equipped to keep up with the speed of innovation. IP video surveillance installations can be done in stages with standard off-the-shelf hardware so you can change a camera when it reaches the end of its life cycle. Staged installation can be an advantage from a total cost of ownership standpoint.

Reduce Shrink With Smart Camera Recognition
Video surveillance is usually viewed as a common cost for a company, an essential part of LP. As technology has advanced, video surveillance has gained effectiveness in preventing things such as inventory reduction, theft, and insurance fraud.  IP video surveillance uses digital cameras that produce high-resolution images, which could be used as evidence in court if necessary. Smart cameras allow the retailer to integrate analytic features, such as facial recognition and license plate recognition, for increased security. With the right IP video software, these features can be integrated at various paces to an existing infrastructure, or 'phased in.'

This goes back to the idea of 'video enabling' your business. Imagine having a video surveillance system that provided such clear and rich information that you could design a new store strategy to optimize traffic. Or a system that provided detailed information to increase security, such as being able to read an employee badge number. As technology continues to provide more advanced solutions, the ability to adopt and layer the solution into your existing system with an easy-to-manage software platform is a key component in keeping a competitive edge.

According to the National Retail Security Survey at the University of Florida, nearly $33 billion dollars is lost each year to shrinkage. To prevent shrinkage and theft, which in turn maximizes profits, retailers may want to consider implementing video surveillance technology.