Magazine Article | June 17, 2014

VARs' Guide To Video Surveillance

By Business Solutions magazine

Significant Trends

Switch From Analog To IP Video — “The migration from analog to IP video remains one of the most significant opportunities in video surveillance. The key benefit to IP video is improved image usability with HDTV quality. IP video also turns a surveillance system into an operations tool. The cross functional use of video-based solutions into other areas of retail operations can provide visual oversight into such activities as training, stock replenishment, and even merchandise delivery. Different business units can share data and information to more effectively operate the business, while also protecting it.” — Hedgie Bartol, business development manager, retail, Axis Communications

Opportunities Abound — “First, there’s a big trend with video and operational intelligence on the go. Multi-unit operators now have full access to real-time sales data, labor costs, productivity indicators, and video feeds from all of their stores on their mobile device. In addition, they now have cloud-based business intelligence and outsourced auditing teams mining this data for key insights and sending out priority alerts for events demanding immediate attention. Actionable insights have never been this noninvasive; instead of spending hours behind a desk going through weekly reports, operators now are getting complete operational updates and reports in real time via an interactive dashboard, allowing them more time to better execute their job duties.”

“The second trend is team monitoring. Retail and restaurant operators now have tools to not only rank their teams’ performance but also to access the underlying video that will help improve performance through coaching and peer accountability. By comparing sample video clips of top and bottom performers, it’s easy to identify areas of improvement. Operators can take it a step further, with real-time sales updates on a digital display mounted next to a time clock, for example. In this scenario, employees are peer-motivated to improve performance due to constant feedback.”

“Third, there’s customer insight. Thanks to smartphones and smart cameras, retailers and restaurants have access to more customer insights than ever before. With new tracking technology in stores and the ever-expanding list of social apps available for phones, operators now have a way of drawing customers from the virtual world into the brick-and-mortar store with complete profiles of customers, including how often they come into the store and their purchase behavior. Operators can even personalize the visit by sending messages and VIP coupons to customers’ smartphones. Smart cameras are adding insights as well by tracking how many customers come into a store, where they go, how long they shop, and when they leave. Operators not only know how many sales they make, but also how many sales they lost.”Subscribe to Business Solutions magazine

“Finally, there’s greater integration. IP-enabled devices are a big trend right now. There are significant opportunities for IT VARs to align with integration platforms that can synthesize data from these IP-enabled devices and present the data in meaningful ways to their client companies. IP-enabled is great, but using 20 disparate apps certainly isn’t saving the operator time. By solving this obvious challenge, IT VARs can become a trusted adviser moving forward.” — John Sullivan, CEO, 360iQ


Consider All Options — “IP video offers choice unlike its proprietary analog predecessor. This requires a different approach and a different way of thinking. The good news is that you’ve got about a billion different ways to build a system. The bad news is you’ve got about a billion different ways to build a system. With IP video, customers aren’t locked in to any one system, making technology changes easier. The challenge is to not get analysis paralysis – or getting stuck in the cycle of A versus B versus C. You have to consider all the options, but ultimately also get a plan in place for implementation.” — Hedgie Bartol, business development manager, retail, Axis Communications

Hype Or Real Opportunity?

Price Keeps Dropping — “Just a few years ago all TV signals moved from analog to digital, and people have come to expect HDTV quality in their homes. The security industry is moving in a similar direction, but the reality is that there is still a lot of analog video. As the industry catches up to the consumer market, the opportunity for IP video is real. IP video is not only becoming better in terms of image quality and resolution, but it is also becoming less expensive and easier to install and support. IP video offers users much more than analog ever could.” — Hedgie Bartol, business development manager, retail, Axis Communications

Common Mistakes

Don’t Self-Sabotage — “It’s important not to under- or overestimate what it takes to implement IP video technology. You don’t want to make things more complex than they need to be, but there are also a lot of moving parts that need to be addressed. As with anything, it does take planning, but it’s easily repeated from installation to installation too.” — Hedgie Bartol, business development manager, retail, Axis Communications