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View from afar


As a result, remote monitoring can improve


loss prevention and protect retail sites from unauthorised access and criminal damage. CCTV systems should cover key risk locations of premises such as sales counters, entrances and perhaps warehouse entrances, storerooms and car parks to be remotely monitored. Potential risks to the Health and Safety of


employees and customers alike may also be reduced thanks to the effective and efficient use of CCTV monitoring. Inevitably, if an incident does occur then footage may be reviewed and practices improved. Alternatively – and importantly for many


retailers – CCTV footage can be used in evidence against fraudulent claims or otherwise used to show that all necessary precautions had been taken by the host business.


According to the British Retail Consortium’s latest Retail Crime Survey, acts of criminality are said to have cost retailers over £600 million in 2013-2014. Given this situation, it’s clear that effective security isn’t simply a luxury but rather a necessity. Joel Babb assesses how retail security professionals can make the most of their security systems


the UK. An audio warning is defined as an announcement by an operator issued via an audio system installed on a site and managed by a Security Control Centre. A common audio warning is simply: “Your attention please… This is a security announcement… While in this area your actions are being monitored and recorded… This is private property… Please leave the premises immediately…” Such audio warnings are vital in deterring intruders – and potential criminals. The audio warnings issued by ourselves during this period potentially diverted over 32,500 intruders from sites and therefore dissuaded them from possibly causing thousands of pounds worth of damage in theft and vandalism across those locations monitored. Commercial sites received 45% of those audio warnings with the average commercial site receiving 53 audio warnings in the last six months of 2014. Retail sites are categorised as commercial sites. Retailers, then, are clearly facing risks: risks


F


Joel Babb: IT Manager at Farsight Security Services


38 www.risk-uk.com


that are serious enough for remote monitoring operators to issue audio warnings. How, though, does such remote monitoring really benefit retailers beyond the issuance of these warnings? How does the whole process work? What are the wider advantages of intelligent security and remote monitoring? Remote monitoring stations receive and react to alarms raised on sites located separately to that remote station. Alarms are raised on sites via a CCTV system or fire and intruder alarm system and then transmitted to the remote monitoring station. Footage will be sent to this central station if CCTV is in place.


rom 23rd July 2014 to 23rd January 2015, Farsight’s remote monitoring station issued over 32,500 audio warnings to sites across


Beyond loss prevention and safety Examples of benefits associated with remote monitoring listed above are relatively self- evident, but with the dawn of video analytics the plus-points of CCTV and remote monitoring for retailers have now expanded dramatically. Video analytics first emerged as a ‘hot topic’


for retailers in 2012. As IP cameras became more and more popular so video analytics became a more realistic option for many. Today, video analytics remain somewhat underused by retailers, but remote monitoring combined with those analytics has the potential to further boost the security benefits of CCTV while also adding a considerable number of business intelligence opportunities to the mix. Video analytics allow remote monitoring stations to gather intelligent data and track the movement of threats, identify the types of threat(s) and note changes to the monitored environment. For example, CCTV video analytics in a retail environment could monitor queue lengths. When the length of a given queue exceeds a certain quota the remote monitoring station operators would be alerted so they can then decipher if the alarm is correct and if there needs to be another checkout opened. Alternatively, video analytics and CCTV can monitor shop floor activity and footfall. If a certain area were visited far more than any other, for example, it may be beneficial to place current promotions in that zone. Video analytics has the ability to monitor such activity automatically and disseminate the results to Customer Services and Marketing Departments. It’s important to highlight here the fact that


remote monitoring and video analytics can go hand-in-hand with retail business intelligence. The remote monitoring station’s operators, the security consultant or facilities manager and IT


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