Bottom line – the correct video management solution can drive sales and reduce thefts.
Let’s imagine you have a theft in your retail store and report it to your insurer. The first question you will most likely be asked is, “what preventive measure did you employ?” and if you have none, or very minimal in place, then for the sake of your premiums and preventing thefts from your premises, it really is time to start considering a video surveillance solution.
In addition, thefts from businesses have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced staff cuts. Fewer employees working in stores has meant less coverage and more blind spots which has created three main challenges:
- First is an increased potential for shoplifting.
- Second is theft of time by staff using these blind spots to their advantage to make or take calls, text or play games on their smart devices.
- And third is an increased potential for false claims through invented falls or other similar injuries.
How video helps reduce theft
Counteracting this is easy with the right surveillance video management software (VMS) and modern Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Before considering which AI, it’s best to first establish your core VMS. Key points of consideration should start with choosing either a Central Server based platform or Distributed Network Architecture (DNA) system. Central Server Architecture (CSA) Systems are generally more widely found but Distributed Systems have the key advantage of eliminating the single point of failure; the centralized server.
DNA Systems are kind of like “YouTube” for the VMS and function by connecting the User Client directly to the Camera. By going directly to the camera, you bypass the Network Video Recorder (NVR), which in a CSA system plays the role of traffic cop by controlling the user login, camera connectivity, and both the recorded and playback video. However, in a CSA System, if the NVR fails so does your ability to see video, both live and playback. This runs the risk of important events being missed and, while an emergency call to the Integrator can see the camera quickly repaired, the whole scenario can easily be avoided with a DNA based system.
Other direct benefits of a DNA System include the quick camera connection and low-latency movement of PTZ Cameras. Again, because of the direct connection to the camera, the video isn’t bogged down by processing which takes place in the NVR of a CSA System, which can be critical when viewing live video. The means you’ll never miss a frame of video because the NVR was busy performing another process.
DNA Systems are faster at exporting video too; simply, these systems “stream” video to the disk and don’t require transcoding of the video, meaning it delivers video to the disk faster. Speed is everything for both live and playback, and by not having to transcode the video for export, delivery of the forensic evidence is much faster than in CSA Systems. Said differently, CSA Systems can take hours to deliver what DNA Systems deliver in a few minutes.
How AI in video helps reduce theft
When discussing theft, you can’t leave out AI as a smarter, less time-consuming way to review and research your recorded video. Speed of export of DNA-based systems plays well into this aspect by delivering you information for watch lists in near-real time. Use of AI in theft could mean highlighting an object of interest to search for its disappearance or as sophisticated as finding a person who fits a specific description. AIs have reached a level of sophistication that you can ask them to search for a female wearing a blue short-sleeve shirt, ball-cap, and khaki shorts who traveled from right to left at a high rate of speed. In today’s Coronavirus impacted world, AI can also lend itself well to reverse contact tracing.
Thermal Screening is also capturing a great deal of attention and is another related technology that can help encourage sales by giving people the confidence they are entering safe and healthy environments.
AI may also be employed to aid in occupancy counting. Simply, camera analytics are used to count the number of people entering and leaving to ensure private and public buildings remain in compliance of maximum occupancy levels. This same camera could also be used to determine facemask compliance ensuring the well-being of those who have been counted entering the premises.
By way of example, if we look at a DIY store, one person is needed to monitor inbound traffic and another to monitor egress traffic, and a third to supervise accuracy. Amongst these staff members, the time devoted to these tasks could easily equate to 2.25 people multiplied by 12-14 hour per day operations, multiplied by 362 prime days open for business annually, which could equal $120-160 thousand dollars per year in non-productive time required just to have the DIY store remain open.
If we monetize this, a camera AI used for facemask compliance won’t miss a day of work, can alert employees of occupancy and facemask non-compliance, can return employees to productive usefulness, and on average, costs less than employing personnel. Multiplying this dollar value by the number of locations requiring the compliance could translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars Return of Investment (ROI).
How video helps drive sales
We’ve already covered how you can use VMS systems and modern AI to help reduce theft, so let’s cover how you can use video to help drive sales.
With the advancements made to video security solutions, surveillance technologies can be used for more than just prevention of theft, it can also be used to make informed business decisions that can drive revenue growth.
Security teams sharing their footage and analysis with other departments such as production, marketing and sales can help deliver business intelligence.
Retail businesses can make informed decisions on renting prices and signages by analyzing patterns of behaviors. Using AI features such as heatmapping can help retail businesses see where the most popular routes are, where the dwell times are and how people congregate. This can help you decide where to put up signages around the building, how much to charge for rent and where to place your employees to encourage more sales – resulting in a higher ROI.
When taking this all in consideration the cost of a video management solution looks like a small and essential investment.