Surveillance Strategies / Video Surveillance / Columns

Making Surveillance a Business Intelligence Necessity

There are two types of successful CSOs today: those that have cross-purposed their investment in video surveillance, and those that will.

There are two types of successful CSOs today: those that have cross-purposed their investment in video surveillance, and those that will.

In today’s competitive business environment, departments and individuals must constantly demonstrate value to the bottom line in order to survive and excel. Security and Loss Prevention executives are no exception to this rule.

Leveraging technology, LP departments have found new and innovative ways to transform themselves from a cost center into a profit center. Data that is collected by cameras and sensors can provide valuable insights throughout the organization. Operations can optimize staffing to match customer traffic. Marketing can analyze promotional effectiveness by assessing dwell times and traffic patterns. Customer counts combined with POS data can be used to calculate conversion rates. This trend has resulted in video surveillance moving beyond the confines of loss prevention and security. As a result, an asset traditionally dedicated to loss prevention has evolved into a corporate asset that can maximize a business’s productivity and operational effectiveness, leading to increased customer satisfaction, expanded sales opportunities, optimized store performance and overall operational efficiency and profitability. 

In business, anomalies (events that differ from the norm) should get your attention. From a loss prevention perspective, one of the most effective ways to counter theft and fraud is to identify and track POS transactions that differ from the norm. These include: manually entered values, which can be an indication of system manipulation; item returns with no item present, no customer present or no supervisor present; no-sales when the cash register is opened and no customer is present or no transaction is registered. By establishing such user-defined exceptions, administrators and LP professions can be alerted, in real time, any time events or transactions fall outside of the established norm.

The same principles can and should be employed when it comes to anomalies found in your business processes or metrics. Anomaly detection software can also alert you when data collected falls outside of established parameters. The anomaly detection engine monitors the health of the data your system is collecting and notifies you, in real time, when exceptions or unexpected change comes to your business process data. In this way, your effectiveness increases as you are basing your actions and reactions on data, not assumptions.

Moving forward, it will be necessary for business analytics and intelligence to forego the utilitarian, mechanical interfaces of today in favor of visually consumable graphical interfaces that capture and communicate information in an intuitive, easy-to-understand dashboard. Gone are the cumbersome buttons and tabs. In their place are icons, graphs and intuitive images coupled with colors that enable complex compilations of data to be interpreted in an easy to understand, intuitive manner.

This is not to say that the myriad of customer-defined rules and parameters powering the leading VMS platforms will no longer be available. On the contrary, it is the user interface (UI) that needs to radically change. Gone are the static interfaces so prevalent today. In its place will be a revolutionary way to see and interpret data on any type of device, hand-held or desktop. Modular in its design, you can drag-and-drop modules relevant to your specific needs.

Yet, as a CSO, video surveillance remains key to your Loss Prevention initiative. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your core responsibility remains protecting the assets of your organization.

This intelligent approach to data collection and analysis proves to be an ideal feeder for a Business Intelligence (BI) infrastructure. Yet, in a world where a picture is worth thousands of words, what is video worth to you? LP-based video surveillance systems give you an edge over merchandise- or sensor-based systems in that they provide you the ability to bring visual verification into the equation. Now when an event or transaction occurs, you can conduct a visual audit to see first-hand what actually happened, whether it is reviewing a slip-and-fall claim, a questionable transaction, or an employee injury incident.

While retail, education and health care enterprise security executives have been early adopters embracing this move to visually consumable data, its impact will be felt across all verticals. Efficiency, optimization and process improvement appear to know no industry boundaries.

Video-supported Business Intelligence provides “single pane” awareness through dashboards, reports and portals into the health and viability of your operation and organization. This unified approach gives you instant access to all your key metrics. Now you have access to real-time, actionable data relevant to making informed, critical decisions in a timely manner. Its modular, customizable visual report format is designed to make information consumable by the audience for which it is intended. This adaptable, flexible reporting infrastructure, delivering the right data whenever and wherever you need it, truly puts you in control of your operation and your destiny. 


About the Columnists: Bob Liscouski is CEO and co-founder of Axio Global LLC, an innovative enterprise cyber risk management firm focused on protecting and preserving the value of companies that are essential to our global economy by providing complete cyber risk mitigation and transfer solutions. He is the former Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection for DHS. Matthew Kushner is CEO of 3xLOGIC. He has 25 years of experience with several  industry-leading security companies including Telular Corporation, Honeywell, TAC, Integral Technologies, and most recently CNL Software.  

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