Magazine Article | April 20, 2009

The Importance Of Video Surveillance

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

Significant progress has been made in surveillance technology to help retailers increase security.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, April/May 2009

Video surveillance is key in combating shrink, liability, and loss in the retail world. But is all video created equal? What about video of periods when it seems as if nothing is happening? While first impressions might be that video without motion isn't worthwhile, the fact is that both motion and nonmotion video bring value in reducing risk. In the case of motion-oriented video, the footage is usually used to prove something occurred and who might be responsible for it. In the case of nonmotion video, the value may be in disproving that any event actually occurred. The latter is common in costly retail personal injury claims where events are often not picked up by the "record on motion" cameras as significant enough to be recorded, don't occur in a camera's area of interest, or are fraudulent. These normally leave the retailer no choice but to settle the case. When armed with proper footage, however, retailers often prevail.

Take Advantage Of Affordable Video Surveillance
Video surveillance is a vital tool for protecting people and property around the clock. The increasing availability and, thus, lower cost of higher-quality cameras makes improving the effectiveness of video more affordable. However, a new issue now holds back users  — increased storage requirements. In a normal retail environment, it is common for video storage costs to exceed 50% of the entire surveillance system cost. This places an incredible financial burden on retailers, especially during these tough economic times. In response, many retailers are turning to "record-on-motion" devices that have the potential to save storage, but can leave costly gaps in visibility. The answer — record everything in a cost-effective manner.

In the practice of surveillance video, it is generally accepted that time mitigates risk, meaning that as time passes the risks are reduced. High-risk events are detected quickly and can be reacted upon quickly, whereas low-risk events may take weeks to realize. Lower-risk events, such as slip-and-fall claims, can even be filed months after the incident. However, the cost of storing surveillance data remains constant from day one, driving up storage requirements and budgets. The longer you keep data, the more storage you need, and in turn, the higher the cost. This forces retailers into trade-offs for high storage costs, grainy video, or prematurely deleted data.  

A new nonmotion data technology called Motion Optimized Recording (MORe) takes motion detection to the next level by eliminating the need for record on motion. This elimination saves money while giving full protection to the retailer. This video storage technique determines if there is motion. If no motion is detected, the system applies much higher compression and lower frame rates to these nonmotion periods of video, dramatically reducing the size of the video. Therefore, the storage needed is also reduced. This makes the storing of nonmotion-oriented video almost free (i.e. adding less than 3% to the needed storage space). Retail surveillance users can now get the security of retaining everything with greater storage savings than "record on motion only" without the risk of premature video data deletion or the creation of costly video surveillance gaps.

Significant progress has been made in both intelligent surveillance software and cameras to help retailers increase protection and security. Advanced detection without data deletion or budget decimation is what the practice of motion-optimized recording promises.