Network Video: Changing the face of loss prevention by Atul Rajput, Retail Business Development Manager, AXIS Communications

Despite an increase in the adoption of security technologies, theft is still on the increase. This is reflected in the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer report which shows it is costing UK retailers £4,890m, up from £4,417m in 2010. This is despite the fact spending on security has risen by 4.3 per cent to £1,019m this year.

The report also reveals that it’s not just outside influences that retailers have to watch out for. Staff theft and sweethearting are on the increase and cost UK retailers a hefty £1,765m last year, with POS fraud arising from internal theft or unauthorised discounts for friends or family members being a major contributor.

So having invested more in security, how can retailers use this investment and adopt a smarter approach to loss prevention? Raising the bar with HDTV

Just as the consumer television market is moving rapidly towards HDTV, so too is the video surveillance market, as customers demand better image quality. HDTV network cameras offer a minimum of three times the resolution of the analogue CCTV cameras that exist in many retailers today. Retailers evaluating smarter loss prevention techniques should consider the benefits of deploying HDTV cameras, which include significantly boosting operators in identifying and tracking suspect shoppers real time, enhancing interrogation of suspicious transactions and achieving a higher probability of gaining positive identification.

The benefits can also be extended to liabilities and service level improvement. For example the powerful digital zoom capabilities offered by HDTV network cameras on recorded video footage, would significantly increase the probability of zooming in to read the denomination on a bank note, useful when dealing with a contentious customer transaction.

HDTV network cameras also address a long standing challenge faced by grocery chains in monitoring aisles, where the optimal image would require a narrow horizontal view, with higher vertical coverage. Conventional cameras offering a landscape format ( 4:3), waste a lot of video information as a large part of the field of view – specifically the sides of the image – is redundant. To address this challenge, AXIS Communications developed the Corridor format, a unique solution which involves rotating a widescreen HDTV (16:9) image into a 9:16 format, offering a vertically orientated video stream that captures more usable images along an aisle, which is of particular relevance to high shelving environments.

Work smarter, not harder with intelligent analytics

Network video systems based on open standards offer a multitude of integration possibilities with intelligent video analytics which can detect all non scans at the till, a powerful tool in the fight against shrinkage. Integrating network video cameras with the POS transaction data can help you spot patterns of potential fraud before they damage your profit margins, alert store managers of any non scan at the till and offer synchronised video footage, to confirm if fraudulent activity has actually taken place and identify who the culprit is.

Having the ability to monitor closely what is happening at the tills allows store managers to make real strides when it comes to preventing internal theft, but also to identify losses associated with process and technology related issues, where retraining of employee’s can have a positive impact on reducing a retailers shrink loss arising at the till.

Smart use of video surveillance also can generate real time alerts to detect “sweeping” – a term used to describe when an unusual amount is taken off the shelf. Real time images relayed to security personnel’s mobile devices can help staff to distinguish between an incident of deliberate organized retail crime (ORC) or shoppers avidly making the most of a promotion. Retailers can also leverage more from their investment by using the same video stream with a dwell time analytic to detect unusually long dwell times. By generating real time video alerts, store personnel can visually analyze whether the customer is contemplating shoplifting or is simply in need of assistance, helping to boost customer service levels.

Network video enabling real time response

As multichannel strategies strive to gather near real time business intelligence, network based surveillance offers a platform for real time review of activity over the store network, enabling security and business managers to access video footage from any location via the internet, including mobile devices. Real time remote access to video enables security staff to adopt a proactive approach to identifying potential threats.

The benefits also extend to operational efficiencies. Active queue management analytics are intelligent enough to determine acceptable queue lengths have been breached, allowing management to be proactively notified via mobile devices of the need to open additional tills. This proactive approach not only reduces frustration for time-conscious customers, but also gives them longer to browse and buy, as well as providing key metrics to make optimal use of available staff resources.

Axis Communications UK

Tel: 01923 211417

www.axis.com/retail   

www.retail-surveillance.com