Electronic security takes on a whole new meaning with the technology behind in-store surveillance now additionally capable of providing valuable insights into the behaviour of legitimate customers.
Traditional systems are still vital in the fight against stock shrinkage, says Alan Blake, Commercial, Sales and Marketing Director at Secom plc. But, he adds, new technology can also boost sales by showing managers the best positions for promotions, as well as providing them real-time management information on queue times, which in turn allows them to make instant decisions to open or close tills.
“Reduced shrinkage and increased sales mean there could be a best-yet return on an investment in electronic security,” he says.
With the completion of its multi-million pound Control and Command Centre, Secom is able to offer clients this new dimension – advanced analytical tools alongside an unparalleled array of monitored electronic security solutions.
The Control and Command Centre – among the most sophisticated of its kind worldwide – is at the core of Secom’s scalable strategic security offering, with customised solutions already protecting thousands of UK locations according to needs and budgets.
“Control and Command has evolved from the old alarm receiving centre concept, reflecting recent massive advances in security systems hardware and software,” says Alan Blake.
It’s a fully integrated approach, using advanced audio and video monitoring and detection technology. Video analytics and other intelligence gathering facilitates an objective appraisal of the situation, where necessary prompting operators to take appropriate action. It allows Secom to provide full end-to-end tailored customer solutions.
“Staffed round the clock, 365 days a year, the Control and Command Centre is able to deploy security solutions for single and multi-site organisations in every sector – from finance, retail and manufacturing to schools and government departments.”
It also provides short term rapid deployment solutions where conventional alarm systems are not practical – or where a permanent power supply is not available.
Revolutionised monitoring technology – including visually verified alarms and algorithm-based CCTV video analytics – enables Secom operators to assess and respond appropriately to any alert.
Video analytics saves time and trouble by automatically distinguishing between events of security interest and those that can be disregarded. This means security staff are able to use their time more effectively, dealing with genuine risks.
Alan Blake says: “In the retail context, video analytics helps to reduce shrinkage by the application of loitering rules that allow operators to detect suspicious behaviour relating to shoplifting. The analytics software further enables us to map customers’ favoured routes through a shop and identify areas where they tend to linger.”
This new service, called Secom Retail Insight, it is an intelligent video analytics and point of sale data mining solution that works with most installed camera installations. It consists of four elements:
- People Counter gives a precise measure of footfall
- Queue Manager calculates occupancy levels at tills
- Heat Map identifies areas where customers are most likely to linger and buy
- POS Integration combines till data with video analytics.
“Taken together, these elements can enable store managers to make instant business decisions – without the need for expensive business analysts,” says Alan Blake.
“Combining till data with video analytics is effective in detecting returns fraud, voided transactions and the under ringing of products. It also allows performance assessments of single or multiple stores, customer behaviour and trends, so managers can allocate resources and assess the impact of visual promotions.
“This is powerful management information that can be acted on immediately – for example, repositioning promotions for maximum impact and opening additional tills to reduce queues. Issues like this can have significant impact on customer relations – and profits.”
Secom Retail Insight also allows managers to make key decisions around whether additional promotions or advertising is needed to attract additional customers – or if a store has sufficient footfall but is not effectively making maximum advantage.
It’s not only shops that can benefit from Secom Retail Insight.
Alan Blake says: “The analytical tools deliver a statistical view of people movement and behavior in virtually any situation. So this solution could be rolled out to many types of location where queues or crowd management are key issues.
“Video analytics as part of a security package has already shown its worth, but we are still just scratching the surface of its potential.”