Leveraging Camera Technology to Enhance Retail Security

Not all retailers take full advantage of the existing video security options in the marketplace. The cameras on the market today cameras have vastly improved from those in recent years, offering tangible benefits to retail businesses that go beyond standard security. As the global pandemic continues to bring forth operational challenges and regulatory hurdles, commercial spaces require a robust video security system to not only help ensure the safety of shoppers and employees, but also improve operational flexibility with reliable and intelligent monitoring.

Maximizing Visibility

Store layouts vary in size and complexity, but regardless, security personnel always face the challenge of increasing visibility throughout a facility. Nowadays, retailers realize that investing in a video security system is a must-have that will inevitably pay off through abilities like being able to detect overcrowding, reducing shrinkage or identifying a thief, and these are just as a few examples. One of the primary aspects to consider in a broader security strategy should be attaining total situational awareness with immersive coverage of all areas of concern.

Panoramic fisheye IP cameras offer retailers the ability to view footage with an expanded scope of view. When implemented strategically, these cameras provide extraordinary clarity and an uninterrupted field of view with virtually no blind spots. What’s more, a centralized, more expansive view — instead of requiring management to shift from camera to camera — will boost productivity and streamline security operations. Whether it’s objectives for a commercial space, investigating one-off incidents or preventing organized retail crime, panomersive cameras provide complete awareness and a wide-range of coverage with fewer cameras, allowing operators to quickly leverage a better understanding of any problem for optimal decision making.

This also applies to monitoring outdoor areas, which is equally important because ensuring the safety of spaces that are still on a retailer’s premise also typically requires specialized protections. With cameras that are resilient enough to withstand extreme weather conditions and vandalism, combined with high-quality, wide coverage, investigations as well as real-time tracking of an incident will become much more feasible.

Capturing Every Detail

Another way that retailers can attain better visibility in every scene is with video technology that provides solutions and offers sharp images in areas with insufficient or contrasting light conditions. Buildings and commercial properties are more vulnerable amidst the pandemic because of a lack of resources, such as on-staff security guards and the increased threat of criminal activity due to disrupted operations and worsened economic circumstances for many distressed individuals. This makes it much more likely for incidents to occur in areas with bad lighting and overall poor visibility.

Successfully managing video security in areas with distorting glares, an intense contrast of light, low levels of light or even no light requires cameras with advanced imaging technologies that will compensate for any poor lighting or low-light conditions. Installing a video security system that generates consistently clear images in all environments can be achieved by deploying cameras that are equipped with automatic low-light management or IR illumination. Low-light technology can enable retail security personnel to view video feed that is crisp and detailed even when lighting is poor or complex. It combines with the power of wide (or high) dynamic range (WDR) technology, enhancing video surveillance by enabling the intelligent capturing of bright and dark conditions while improving blur and frame quality.

In some more advanced devices, the power of low-light technology that uses smart sensors and specialized image processing is automatically applied to preserve detail and color, as well as optimize exposure. Correspondingly, an area can also be better lit with infrared illumination that is not recognized to the human eye. With all of these developments and innovations in video security, retailers can easily leverage a highly capable surveillance system that will capture finely tuned images and detect anomalies, regardless of the light conditions.

Applying the Value of Video Analytics

The world of retail is rapidly experiencing a surge in the applications of video analytics powered by artificial intelligence, often described as the next frontier for the retail industry. Leveraging new opportunities by applying innovations in analytics software — either embedded in cameras or as an added integration — will strengthen video security systems and undoubtedly improve operations. Open-platform camera technology can be integrated with intelligent commercial video systems and most VMS platforms, giving retail management the benefit of advanced analytics.

This cutting-edge technology powered by deep learning algorithms dynamically labels and classifies large amounts of incoming video data, identifying patterns and behaviors. It allows businesses to stream and record analytic metadata from cameras to any VMS in real time. As a result, security staff gain enhanced situational awareness and the ability to make better informed decisions through the use of intelligent analyses, such as categorizing objects and movement to detect actual threats versus false alarms, drawing correlations of traffic flow and staff distribution and determining factors that can predict shopper behavior. In addition, many video security technologies promote the interoperability with VMS and other IoT devices, like POS, to protect from internal and external theft using custom alerts and real-time notifications.

Realizing a Practical Video Security Solution

The current health crisis has forced many retailers to completely rethink how video technology can effectively become a pragmatic security solution for their business operations. The integration of innovative camera technology and advanced analytics can help combat organized retail crime, enable proactive public safety monitoring, and empower security teams with increased visibility and data-driven decision-making.

About the Author

Hamish Dobson

Hamish Dobson is vice president of video security and analytics at Motorola Solutions. He was previously the senior director of product as well as the director of product management for Avigilon. Before that, Hamish spent over eight years leading product management and strategic marketing for PMC-Sierra and Bosch Security Systems. His background is in electrical engineering, and he specializes in optical and telecom networking, video systems, security and surveillance technology, and semiconductors.

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