Going Beyond Retail

Going Beyond Retail

Turning security cameras into tools of intelligence

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.

VIDEO ANALYTICS

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 performance.

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.

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