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The Power of Integrated Technologies in Retail

You’ve probably heard the old adage that ‘two is better than one,’ but did you know that applies to security technologies as well? Oftentimes three, four, and more are even better.

As the obstacles that retail environments face become more complex, the solutions used to secure those environments need to follow suit. And while many security technologies have advanced quite a bit in the past few years, the true magic happens when you combine these technologies. Integrated solutions can help solve difficult problems, and save money.

Hedgie Bartol, retail segment development manager for Axis Communications, has been emphasizing the value of these integrated security solutions for a while now. Two years ago, a customer came to him with a problem: they wanted to roll out a new surveillance solution, but had to put that project on hold because of a more immediate issue.

This client’s staff continually blocked the building’s fire exits with inventory, and consequently, they were getting fined by OSHA.

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“I thought about what technologies we could bring together to address this problem, and wondered if we added some sort of analytic to a camera, we could identify whether something was in the fire exit area longer than it should be, and then we could create an announcement to solve the problem,” Bartol explained. “If no one answered the audio message, we could then send another alert to a manager to have the item removed, and make this an opportunity for training.”

Hedgie Bartol
Hedgie Bartol


The plan worked — after combining the camera, analytic, audio, and messaging components into one connected solution, the client was never again fined by OSHA. “That wasn’t a matter of creating a new product,” Bartol said, “just putting the components together.”

Another common issue in the retail space that can be solved using integrated technologies is how to tell if a customer is actually present during a transaction — if a cash register drawer opens, is there someone on the other end of that cash register, or is an employee helping themselves?

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Bartol said one way to determine whether a customer is present is by adding a sensor to the cash register that can tell when the register drawer is open. That sensor can then communicate with a camera, and if the register drawer opens and the camera determines there is no customer, an alert can be sent to management.

“Retailers should be thinking of ways to get creative,” Bartol said. “Retailers’ resources are getting fewer and fewer, but they still need to prevent loss. You can’t just have staff wandering around the store looking for someone up to something, but integrated technologies can tell them where to look, and when.”

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