Guest Blog from PSA Security Network Featured Vendor, March Networks
by Dan Cremins, Global Leader of Product Management at March Networks
If your business has used security cameras for a number of years, you’ve probably seen several evolutions in video surveillance technology. Some of the more recent include: the introduction of HD, multi-megapixel and 360 cameras; mobile access to video using smartphones and tablets; and, of course, the appearance of intelligent software solutions that combine video and other data to address security and non-security related applications.
Non-security applications – sometimes referred to as video-based business intelligence – are opening up amazing new possibilities for organizations to better understand how to improve their overall business. By using different combinations of video analytics and transactional data together in unique ways, they enable a range of applications that extend far beyond just security. Organizations can now analyze performance trends, calculate conversion rates and even improve marketing – all by using their existing video surveillance technology. Of course, loss prevention and fraud detection continue to also be key benefits of these systems, making them incredibly compelling total solutions. They can help you maximize the investments you’ve already made in video surveillance by providing distinct advantages to other facets of your business.
To help you understand more, here’s three ways your retail or banking organization can improve your performance and profitability by integrating your video with your transaction data and analytics:
1. Faster Loss / Fraud Detection and Investigations
Many retailers, banks and credit unions are already using video-based software applications to combine their surveillance video with recorded audio and transaction data. This integration enables faster loss detection and investigation capabilities by enabling users to search on exceptions based on transaction type or amount and click through to the associated video to further review suspicious events.
But what if the software could do its own investigation and present a listing of suspicious activity directly to investigators, so they didn’t have to search? This kind of capability is possible by integrating analytics with transaction data and surveillance video in certain scenarios. For example, by integrating a presence detection analytic with ATM transaction data, and comparing the information together, a software solution can identify when someone is standing at an ATM for a set time period without conducting a transaction. This could be indicative of an ATM skimmer installation.
In a retail environment, this same kind of software can identify other suspicious activity, such as when transactions are taking place but no customer is present in front of the point-of-sale (POS). This could be a sign of employee theft or sweethearting, where employees give away unauthorized discounts or merchandise to friends or family.
Different types of video analytics can also identify when someone is standing in front of a high-value merchandise display for an unusually long period, which again may indicate potential shoplifting.
2. Better Customer Service
These same solutions can help financial institutions and retailers improve customer service, optimize staffing and identify where more training is needed. Above, we discussed using video analytics to identify potential shoplifting, but someone standing in front of a display for an extended period of time could also be a customer waiting for assistance. Video can help reveal gaps in customer service so they can be corrected.
It can also help banks and retailers understand more about their customers’ interests. A people counting analytic married to POS data in an easy-to-use reporting dashboard allows retailers to calculate conversion rates to determine how many shoppers become buyers. By running site-by-site comparisons of this data, organizations can determine which locations are over and underperforming
A queue length monitoring analytic can provide equally useful data, allowing retailers and financial institutions to adjust staffing schedules to reduce customer wait times. Unusually long wait times can also reveal possible training issues, which can be remedied quickly to improve customer service.
3. Increased Marketing and Promotional Success
Marketing probably isn’t a group you think could benefit from surveillance video; however that perspective is changing thanks to integrated analytics and software reporting tools. Using dwell time analytics to determine when a person is standing in an area for a set amount of time, marketers can determine customer interest level in new merchandising or in high-cost end caps and displays. Further information can be gleaned by comparing people counting data to determine what percentage of people that entered a building paused to look at an area of interest. If a display doesn’t seem to be succeeding in a few locations, or is exceeding expectations in others, they can quickly review the video to check how it’s been set up or positioned.
More Than Just Security
Remember, video surveillance – when combined in the right way with other data like transactions and analytics – can offer a lot more than just core security. Loss and fraud prevention are key benefits, but customer service, operations and marketing can all be improved as well with the right kind of intelligent solution.