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xis Communications recently hosted an exclusive roundtable to discuss how and why many

retailers are not getting maximum value from their video surveillance in store. The global network video leader commissioned independent research that revealed 58% of UK retailers’ main driver for switching to internet protocol (IP) network video was ease of integration with best-of-breed business intelligence features. Together with partners Genetec and Agent Vi, Axis Communications therefore gathered retailers together to an invitation-only event hosted by Retail Technology to explore how IP network video-based investments can add powerful control and analytic capabilities to retail management’s arsenal.

Increasing store visibility Scott Brothers, retail business

development manager in Northern Europe for Axis Communications, told attendees: “The gap between bricks and mortar and online is huge in terms of the amount of business information retailers can acquire about the customer experience and journey. You may count them on the way into the store and gain PoS [point-of-sale] data if they buy something, but lose sight of their behaviour during the browsing period.” Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Nottingham-based Centre for Retail Research, commented: “The problem is that many retailers, particularly the larger ones, have had CCTV for so long, they don’t realise its full potential.” And he should know, as he shared further results of the Axis-sponsored Northern European retail loss prevention survey of 702 retailers across six countries conducted by the Centre. Every retailer surveyed who had

deployed store video surveillance cited RETAIL TECHNOLOGY MARCH/APRIL 2013

security as the key benefit. “We did find that some retailers saw investing in CCTV as a way for them to get the police involved in cases of theft,” Bamfield added. But, overall, the research showed 81% of retailers surveyed confirmed video surveillance positively impacts in store losses.

Of the non-security applications for video explored, people counting emerged as the next most important benefit from store video deployments. Ariel Frischoff, vice president of sales for distributed video analytics software provider Agent Vi, commented: “Most retailers use CCTV or DVRs [digital video recorders] for post-event analysis. But many could use that same infrastructure to create a new layer of intelligence, for finding lost children to people flow analysis.”

system, for instance. Bamfield added that the use of video systems to monitor operational store systems, like heat maps or dwell time, also emerged as popular from the survey. Over one third (37%) of survey respondents confirmed their interest in this function as a driver to improve customer satisfaction levels in store.

Optimising retail performance Using the example of queue management, Frischoff said Agent Vi could be configured to send alerts to the store manager via the Genetec monitoring

There was broad agreement that IP video not only improved loss prevention capabilities beyond traditional CCTV, but also offered business and operational optimisation value. But IT consultant and roundtable attendee, Patrick Stout questioned the bandwidth management implications of IP video on store networks. Simon Barnes, business development director for unified IP and physical security provider Genetec, responded: “Our appliances and virtualisation support mean we can create a package of access control, reporting and investigation software with our Gold Partner Axis that meets network and infrastructure requirements.”

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