The future of retail security lies in smart integration capabilities. This refers to the capacity that the system has to provide a reliable security structure, as well as a comprehensive infrastructure tool to improve the operational efficiencies.
This is according to Gus Brecher, managing director of Cathexis Africa and group marketing director of Cathexis Technologies, who says that retailers need to consider a sophisticated and fully integrated retail surveillance solution. “With seamless flexibility and scaleability, the system enables retailers to combine the security management requirements with the ability to measure operational efficiencies.”
Addressing the need for surveillance
“In the wake of a nationwide crime spree on local shopping malls during the recent festive season, the retail environment has to minimise security risk,” says Brecher. “Despite the risk of crime for customers and employees, we are still hearing the old grudge purchase argument.
“Some may think it’s absolutely ludicrous that there can even still be a debate over the relevance and necessity of a security system installation in an environment, which is clearly quite vulnerable to crime. However, we need to bear in mind that retailers are also under enormous financial strain in the current economic climate.”
A business intelligence tool
It is for this reason that the industry is moving towards video management systems that go beyond straightforward security surveillance applications. A surveillance system that provides vital business intelligence information suddenly has buy-in from all departments, including finance, risk control, operations, training and marketing.
When the system can help reduce incidents of fraud and shrinkage, while monitoring customer trends; when the system can help identify where staff require additional training and notify management of incidents that require immediate action – the surveillance system delivers a significant return on investment. The cost of the surveillance installation now also becomes a shared responsibility across the retailer’s various operations and departments.
Consider how captured data of customers moving through the retail store can provide marketing departments with vital information about customer shopping trends, foot traffic and people flow. Now the marketing team through a People Counting System, which is integrated with the surveillance system, is armed with information that will help them in assisting appropriate areas for promotions, and perhaps even change the layout of the store. The operations department can now also address issues such as high congestion areas and the length of queues at the till points.
Smart integration of third-party systems
A sophisticated surveillance solution includes the smart integration of third-party systems, which includes: access control, fire panels, and burglar alarm panels. Objects such as bags left unattended could be a potential security threat. Loitering by suspicious persons could signal a potential robbery. The advantage of video analytics and smart integration with third- party systems is that the security management team are immediately notified of any of these incidents, and immediate action can be taken
Point of sale
Point of sale (POS) integration provides a full database of all transactions and associated video footage. In a nutshell and with employees well aware of the surveillance system, the retailer will significantly reduce the likelihood of any shrinkage. Operations managers will also quickly identify those employees that possibly require additional training.
“For almost two decades the Cathexis Software has revolutionised the traditional surveillance system with intelligent functionality that meets all security and infrastructure requirements, while maximising company return on investment,” says Brecher. “This includes the recent release of CathexisVision 2015, with its exceptional new features that meet all the demands of the retail sector,” he adds.