From The Editor | February 18, 2010

Why Are You Wasting Video Intelligence?

Don't spend another dime on your video infrastructure unless the benefit transcends LP.

By Matt Pillar, Editor In Chief, Retail Solutions Online/Integrated Solutions For Retailers

Last week I had a great conversation with King Rogers, the well-respected LP consultant and former head of LP for Target. As we talked, Rogers lamented the fact that our industry so grossly undervalues, and subsequently underutilizes, the rich volumes of data we collect by video every minute of every day. "For all the recording we do, only a fraction of a fraction of video is ever actually used in some way, and that use is usually limited to the LP department," he said. "But the information being collected holds so much interdisciplinary value for marketers, merchandisers, operations professionals, LP personnel, and the list goes on." Our point exactly. The "integrated solutions" in Integrated Solutions For Retailers is about just that — creatively connecting interdisciplinary technologies and solutions, not only to maximize your investments but also to gain competitive advantage.

This concept is the future of retail technology and operation solutions. Investment decisions are no longer made in silos. As it relates to LP, this presents a challenge to traditional mindsets, whereby EAS and digital video investment decisions, for instance, are made by the LP department, for the benefit of the LP department. Today's EAS and digital video solutions integrate with POS and exception reporting software. They support — rather than hinder — merchandising efforts by facilitating the measurement of things like customer traffic, dwell time, product movement, display effectiveness, and more. Because progressive vendors of traditionally LP-oriented products get this, they're developing solutions that have broad interdisciplinary appeal and facilitate integration.

Earlier this week I talked with Kathryn Howe, VP at BVI Networks. The two-year-old company offers a case in point. The acronym stands for Business Video Intelligence, and as Howe adamantly states, "We're not a video surveillance company. We're not an LP company. We're a retail business intelligence company that runs on a video, transaction data, and analytics-based platform." While video analytics have gained some business intelligence traction in recent years, Howe still finds it necessary to shift the mindsets of her customers and prospects as it relates to leveraging video for value outside the LP department.

I'm very pleased to announce that, starting next month, King Rogers has agreed to contribute a regular column to Integrated Solutions For Retailers. His first piece will reflect on this very subject — leveraging your video infrastructure to bring enterprise-wide value to the business. We'll feature his columns in future editions of this newsletter. If you're using your video infrastructure to benefit departments outside of LP, I'd like to hear about it. E-mail me at