January 6, 2011
Actionable Video Surveillance -- What Retailers Could
Be Doing with Video
with Jackie Andersen, Business Development Manager,
Retail, Axis Communications Inc.
CCTV surveillance systems have been widely used in
retail for decades, we've fallen behind many other
industries that only recently started leveraging video.
Of the millions and millions of cameras installed in
stores throughout North America, an estimated 90% of
them run on outdated analog technology. In a world where
everything else has gone digital -- including the
majority of best-selling consumer products -- it's
shocking to see that retail surveillance is still stuck
in an analog stone age.
Fortunately, with improvements in technology, a drop in
hardware costs, and overall quality of surveillance
applications, the scales are finally tipping toward
IP-based network surveillance for 2011 and beyond.
Jackie Andersen, Business Development Manager, Retail,
for Axis Communications sits down to explain why the
next 5-10 years should have loss prevention
professionals excited about surveillance.
What is Axis Communications?
The quick answer: Axis is a manufacturer of IP-based
surveillance cameras. We invented the network camera 15
years ago and have been the leader in IP surveillance
cameras ever since. We're still fighting the uphill
battle against incumbent analog technology -- especially
in the retail market -- but even when compared against
analog vendors in 2010, we moved up to the number two
overall camera manufacturer in the world at around $400M
in revenue. And based on my belief that we've now
reached that critical tipping point in retail where more
organizations are leaning towards IP, we have plenty of
growth opportunities ahead.
Does Axis' growth point to an
industry trend toward IP?
It's definitely encouraging for the whole surveillance
market. As a company, we've had great success in certain
vertical markets -- like education and government --
because IP offers better image quality (HDTV and
megapixel), scalability and lower total cost of
ownership compared to analog, especially in Greenfield
Is this the same for retailers?
Sure, retailers are also moving toward IP because of
these reasons, but their eyes really light up when we
talk about all the additional usability and
cross-functionality benefits. This is where my tipping
point confidence stems from. With IP, LP managers can
easily link transaction data from POS systems to help
analyze and identify theft and fraud. Also, with the
help of our many software and application development
partners, there are numerous marketing and merchandising
benefits available when retailers leverage analytics.
What types of applications do you
People counting, identifying hot and cold zones in
and measuring customer dwell times are rising trends of
video analytics today and provide invaluable data to
retailers, which extends the value of their video
surveillance investment (See
Cloud computing and hosted video is another major trend
that we expect to really breakthrough in 2011,
especially with retailers who only need a few cameras
per site. We could do a whole article on the power of
the cloud for franchises, boutiques, gas stations,
restaurants, et cetera, et cetera. In a nutshell, it
means saying goodbye to the DVR and hello to fixed
pricing and active monitoring.
Still, with 90% of the market left to convert, we as
technology providers need to continue to spread the
'benefits' message so retailers know what's out there
So what are you personally doing
to spread this message?
As the business development manager for the
retail segment, I spend my days researching retail
marketing opportunities while working closely with our
installation and software partners on strategic
installations designed to maximize loss prevention and
streamline business operations. Much of my time is spent
meeting with and solving problems of the top LP managers
and retail security directors in North America. I've
racked up a lot of frequent flyer miles.
What types of problems do you
typically run into?
When it comes to retailers with established systems,
the first challenge is converting them to IP. Legacy
CCTV systems represent a significant investment, so a
lot of the time it's working on a migration strategy
with the organization, which oftentimes means purchasing
a few new network cameras as needed and using video
encoders to digitize the analog stream. While we 100%
believe in the value of IP, we don't recommend throwing
out working analog cameras unless it's budget feasible.
We also work with LP managers to identify the different
surveillance needs in each part of the store and then
match the appropriate technology for that area. For
instance, the warehouse has different surveillance needs
than the checkout line and, therefore, a different type
of camera should typically be used.
But at the end of the day, retailer surveillance system
needs differ from organization to organization and then
again from store to store. Since customization is a
highly sought after trait, I'd say I spend half my day
directing the compass for Axis' retail business, and the
other half consulting the retail community on
surveillance initiatives to make their video investment
work for them.
If you're interested in learning more about IP-based
surveillance or have a specific project in mind, please
contact Jackie Andersen at
Jackie.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
Coming in 2011:
LP Show Coverage
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