If you had asked retailers in December 2019 to define an enterprise video system and then asked them the same question in December 2020, I would suspect each respondent would have two highly different answers. As a video management software (VMS) manufacturer in 2020, end users came to us and the main question we received was how do we make all of this work together.
Now a lot of retailers do have fully enterprise video solutions. However, many of the customers we talked to have some stores on an enterprise VMS, but they have hundreds if not thousands of stores on various DVRs from the past 15 years. Our job was to figure out how we could help these manufacturers quickly grow their video system to an enterprise solution without having a major outlay of capital expenditures.
First Step: DVR Integration
One of the biggest drains on efficiency in any LP environment is trying to maintain and support various brands, models, and viewing softwares for DVRs in the field. As retailers changed the way they did business in 2020 and offered more remote video for their users, the inefficiencies that were once viewed as workarounds were now deemed unacceptable business practices. Those excel sheets that listed every store and what viewing software to access the system had to come to an end when we now had more viewers than ever in 2020.
One of Salient’s biggest undertakings in 2020 was to ramp up its integrations to third-party DVRs to help support this migration while keeping the budget in mind. Salient could now offer an umbrella of integrations for a retailer so all of the employees viewing video could connect through one enterprise software and have access to a store regardless of what type of DVR was in that store. Users can still access the live and recorded video, but now the LP team only has to maintain one viewing software and train its users to use one system.
Second Step: Subscription Pricing
Enterprise softwares in the IT space have embraced the idea of subscription pricing for a long time and outside of cloud-based VMS companies, this trend has waltzed its way past the traditional VMS companies with little fanfare. Salient has adopted a subscription model to sit alongside its perpetual license business. The idea of a subscription model really fits well with the new DVR integrations Salient is deploying.
The largest hindrance to a complete replacement of DVRs for retailers is the overall cost to replace all of the hardware in the field. With Salient’s integrations to third-party DVRs, we have crossed that problem off the list. The second hindrance is now the perpetual license cost to connect to those DVRs from the centralized recording/management server. A typical VMS would require a one-to-one perpetual license for every camera attached to the DVRs in the field. Let’s look at the 250-store project:
250 DVRs x 8 cameras = 2000 camera licenses needed
2000 camera license x $200 MSRP = $400,000 license investment
With this scenario, our retailer does not have to replace all the DVRs in the field, but there is still a significant upfront cost to implement the software needed.
Not only does Salient offer a subscription model, but Salient also offers an 8 to 1 license conversion for DVR integrations. For example, if a DVR has 8 cameras and a retailer wants to bring that DVR into Salient, it would only require one camera license (perpetual or subscription).
250 DVRs x 8 cameras = 250 camera licenses needed
250 subscription licenses = $1416 per month or $5.67 per store
This pricing model allows a retailer to quickly move to an enterprise platform by utilizing the existing technology in the field and not having to incur an overwhelming upfront software cost to make this happen.
Retailers in 2020 were searching for ways to stay connected to their stores, their supply chains, and their people as the year moved on, and technology played a huge role in that. As shopping and travel trends to continue to move back towards a somewhat normal 2021, the stresses that retailers waded through can help propel changes to their organizations for many years to come. By understanding what a true enterprise VMS can offer a retailer in efficiency and allowing a workforce to stay connected to its stores without breaking the bank, retailers can use these stressors to become a stronger, more streamlined organization in 2021 and beyond.
About the Author
Grant Cowan is the director of national accounts for Salient Systems where he focuses on regional and national retail project design and deployment. Cowan serves as a trusted advisor to his customers by helping find creative solutions for the problems that exist for retailers and other customers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.