Going Beyond Retail
Turning security cameras into tools of intelligence
- By Tom Hesterman
- Apr 01, 2021
Physical security infrastructure has traditionally
been seen as a sunk cost; an expense that represents
a cost of doing business. But, what if your
security system could also provide additional business
intelligence and operational insights to let you
know what is working and what is not?
Extracting insights from the data generated by security cameras
and monitoring solutions can help organizations maximize
ROI for their security investments when budgets are tight and
there is a greater demand for results. In this article, let’s look at
three ways organizations can leverage their security systems to
gain clear business insights that drive value.
Turn security cameras into business intelligence tools. A key enabler
in the growth story of online retail trailblazers such as Amazon
has been their ability to collect, analyze and effectively use
the vast amounts of data their customers generate.
When a business truly understands the behaviors of its customers
by collecting key insights, it can then tailor every customer
touchpoint to maximize customer satisfaction, increase sales
revenue and improve operational efficiency.
For example, traditional retailers with brick and mortar stores
are just as hungry for the same analytics and insights that help
ecommerce giants run agile and responsive business.
Video analytics solutions that offer another layer of valuable
customer and employee behavior data on the videos captured by
security cameras can unlock valuable, real-time insights. Examples
include the number of people who come into their stores,
what they do while there, which products they are engaged with
the most and how the store design or floor plan is working.
All of the data will reveal insights that can help retailers optimize
store layout, make critical decisions on merchandising,
correlate customer footfall to online campaigns, identify staffing bottlenecks, test new store designs or compare the effectiveness
of in-store campaigns.
With video analytics, brick and mortar stores can turn their
security cameras into powerful business intelligence tools to enhance
customer experience, and maximize sales.
INTEGRATE POS WITH VIDEO
TO UNEARTH BUSINESS INSIGHTS
POS exception reporting is widely used by asset protection
teams to combat shrink. A typical POS exception reporting solution
comprises a platform that analyzes POS transactions and
searches for common scenarios that indicate potential problems
for follow-up investigation such as employees doing false returns.
By extracting a feed from the POS and integrating it with
the video system to automatically pull and store video clips surrounding
the time of the exceptions, the time spent on these investigations
can be dramatically shortened. That is the case when
they are both made available in a simple dashboard where the
video clip can be played alongside the transactions on the same
screen. Investigators can improve their efficiency multifold.
Combining the POS feed with other data sources can also offer
businesses the ability to track and improve multiple facets of
their operations at every location. These include people development,
comparing business location performance across an organization,
optimizing store efficiencies, tracking cash and ascertaining
popular buying/selling trends.
Store managers can review transaction data, identify training
opportunities for employees, and track and analyze store/location
Time card information can be included to analyze and optimize
store efficiency and a business can quickly assess how many
people are working per hour, calculate total profitable transactions
and revenue generated daily, weekly and monthly. Pulling
in the data from the intrusion alarm system enables management
to view intrusion data, closely monitor when stores are opened
and closed, deliveries are made, cleaning is done, and whether the
store is being remotely armed and disarmed at appropriate times.
Once the key data is pulled and correlated, the information can
be viewed in visual dashboards to more easily understand relationships
between the data and to drive focus on key performance
metrics. These dashboards can be configured for visualizations
that compare performance across all regions, uncover insights
pertaining to campaigns, and track performance improvements
mapped to training interventions.
LEVERAGE INTERACTIVE VIDEO
MONITORING IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD
As many retailers, restaurants and public venues strive to stay
open, the need to enforce physical distancing and food safety
measures has never been more critical.
Video surveillance solutions that may already be available for
security can be leveraged and enhanced to monitor and enforce
occupancy levels, social distancing or cleanliness routines. By implementing
an interactive monitoring solution with microphones
and speakers installed in addition to security cameras, remote security
teams can see, hear and speak to employees and customers.
This capability can be used in several ways.
Overhead announcements can be automatically triggered reminding
customers and employees about social distancing norms.
Monitoring teams can also initiate specific live voice downs when
they see overcrowding or people failing to observe social distancing
norms or not wearing masks.
The same system can be used for employee training and monitoring
for operational procedures. Messages can be played for
employees before and after store hours. Cleanliness routines can
be monitored and violations can be documented with video evidence
for training or corrective actions. Inventory handling processes,
food handling, waste management, and safety practices
for delivery and a drive through can be monitored and enforced
remotely. Key procedures can be monitored for violations and
real-time intervention or documentation for later follow-up.
Interface is actively innovating, identifying and beginning to deploy
the next set of advanced solutions that can be integrated with
the interactive monitoring systems we already offer our customers.
Our new technologies are addressing some of today’s greatest concerns
and we continue to look for ways to best leverage the information
that our security platforms are gathering
every day. Our goal is to equip companies with
accurate insights so they in turn are empowered
to make the best business decisions.
This article originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of Security Today.
Tom Hesterman is the senior vice president of products and system engineering at Interface Security Systems.