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March Networks’ Data Mining Software Gets SaaS Treatment

March Networks Inc. has configured its VideoSphere Loss Prevention (LP) data mining software suite into a hosted application aimed at smaller retailers.

The new service, VideoSphere Hosted Business Intelligence (BI) Services, launched last week at the ASIS International 2008 Seminar and Exhibits in Atlanta, and marks another step in the growth of “software as a service,” or SaaS, in the security sector. Brivo’s hosted Online Access Control System (ACS) is another notable example. SaaS, in which an end-user subscribes to a software application via the Internet instead of purchasing a license to run it on an enterprise network, is a growing trend in other information technology applications.

March Networks is aiming Hosted BI at small to mid-sized retail chains looking to identify and control revenue leakage that results from dishonest employees. Retail security is among March Networks’ vertical strengths. The Ottawa, Ontario-based company numbers Wal-Mart and Boots, a major U.K. and European pharmacy chain, among its customers. “Now smaller, tier two retailers can use the solution,” said Peter Wilenius, vice president of investor relations and corporate development at March Networks.

Like VideoSphere LP, Hosted BI tracks point-of-sale transactions looking for and flagging anomalies. BI comes standard with 40 pre-set policies, and other policy parameters can be set by the user, Wilenius said. The service will flag questionable transactions, such as an excessive number of voided sales, returns or gift card sales from one cashier, and then record the documentation, alert security personnel and link to the video surveillance footage of the transactions in question. While fraud and leakage hurts retailer margins, because they tend to be non-violent crimes with low community visibility, local police generally give such cases low investigative priority. In response, some large retailers, most notably Target, have expanded their own security operations into forensic laboratories that can build prosecutable cases that can be handed over to a district attorney. The hosted app puts this forensic capability in the hands of retailers with 100 outlets or less, Wilenius said.

“The system is very good at gathering intelligence so you can initiate a case,” Wilneius said. “Data mining provides the documentation. Video is the evidence.”

Alongside Hosted BI, March Networks also announced it has expanded its VideoSphere Intelligent Video Management portfolio to include camera and encoder platforms incorporating H.264 compression technology and video analytic features.

The MegaPX camera streams high resolution video (1280 x 720 pixels) at up to 30 fps over standard IP networks. In addition to H.264 compression the camera uses progressive scan technology to ensure clear images in either bright or low-light conditions.

March Networks’ VideoSphere intelligent video analytics suite now features enhancements that expand behavioral analysis capabilities and streamline setup and configuration. VideoSphere analytic applications detect and track a wide range of events, alerting organizations to potential threats and providing valuable insight into customer and employee behaviors, staffing levels and other operational activities.

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