Loss prevention: Unlocking new value from video data 

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Store owners are discovering that the data from their AI video analytics is a valuable resource, writes Koray Ozyildirim, Country Manager, IDIS Turkey. 

Video surveillance is no longer just about preventing losses, it’s about supporting growth. This is thanks to the rise of AI-enabled video analytics that are affordable to deploy and impressively easy to use.

In the past, the business case for retail video solutions had to be based largely on how well and how quickly it would reduce losses. Faced with the need to install a new system or upgrade an old one, retailers could only ask how quickly it would ‘pay for itself’ by cutting shrink. 

While there were other benefits too – including reducing the store’s exposure to bogus accident insurance claims and deterring violence and aggression against staff – these were still focused on reducing risks and solving problems that retailers would rather not have.

This put video firmly in the category of a grudge purchase. 

Growing benefits 

Today the picture is very different: A growing range of benefits has been added, thanks to the emergence of analytics and easier integration with retailers’ ERP software.

Store owners are discovering that, in the video data that their systems capture, they own a valuable resource. They can use it to analyse and understand important aspects of their business, for example, by measuring customer footfall against sales and comparing the performance of different outlets. 

And, armed with this understanding, they can focus management attention on areas of their business (staffing levels, staff training, store location, promotional activity, stock handling, customer service etc.) that need improvement.

Supported by at-a-glance dashboards and reporting, they can identify parts of the business that are performing best and build on them. 

In a growing number of major projects that IDIS is now delivering, this is proving to be a more exciting and positive proposition than simply reducing losses, important as that will always be. 

Varied profile 

What’s interesting is that the profile of the businesses adopting these solutions varies, ranging from independent stores and local outlets up to international brands with hundreds of stores; the size of the outlets varies too, from 50 to 100 sqm, up to multi-floor department stores. 

One of the key enablers for these new solutions is easier and more affordable integration of video data with retailers’ ERP software – those systems which underpin the management of key aspects of the business, both front end and back office processes, including inventory management, purchasing and supplier management, POS, payments and order processing. 

Up until recently, integrating video in this way was difficult and expensive. This was because retailers needed separate software solutions, from different vendors, to operate their video, for video analytics (people counting, queue monitoring etc.), for ERP software and the integration itself.

This involved up to four separate suppliers, made deployment complicated and virtually guaranteed compatibility issues. 

All-in-one solutions

We have simplified that, with an off-the-shelf all-in-one solution removing the need for multiple vendors. Now, instead, retailers can have a video system with all the key analytics they need, that links seamlessly with their ERP software.

Reducing the number of suppliers involved strips out cost and removes complexity. 

This approach ties in well with the business model of most retail chains, which is based on scaling up operations by replicating successful templates: expanding reach by repeating a successful formula and keeping operations manageable as they grow. 

Aligning with this, significant savings can be delivered using an all-in-one video solution from a single supplier. The result is solutions that are easier to deploy, with guaranteed click and connect functionality, that can be replicated across multiple outlets, particularly where those outlets share a common layout.

The retailer benefits from video solutions that are easy to install, maintain and use, and that allow easy centralised monitoring along with delegation of responsibility to local managers for certain functions. 

Delegating control and responsibility 

Making it easy for local managers to retrieve video evidence, to give to law enforcement agencies in support of investigations, eases the burden on central loss prevention teams.

One retailer that we are working with has a single IT Manager dealing with almost 50 stores; for that business, it makes good sense to be able to delegate day-to-day security functions to local level, leaving the head office senior team more time to analyse and compare the performance of all the stores and develop strategy accordingly. 

Ensuring that this is affordable, powerful VMS options sufficient for many of these applications are available free of charge.

They allow recording in store with central monitoring and include all the essential functions that these applications need: Easy management of cameras, trouble-free integration, an at-a-glance dashboard and powerful reporting tools. It’s also easy to upgrade to an enterprise VMS with the same user interface, should the business needs grow. 

For the same reason of affordability, these businesses like video solutions that deliver clear and reliable scene coverage, without blind spots, and that give years of high performance with a low maintenance burden.

Added to this, today’s systems give the assurance of greater flexibility, with easy upgrade routes as more powerful technology becomes available. 

Leading brand transforms operations

Leading French cosmetics and beauty brand, Yves Rocher, is using end-to-end IDIS video, with advanced analytics, to drive profitability in more than 250 outlets across Türkiye.

Installed by Secom, it is giving Yves Rocher’s central management team greater understanding and control over branch operations, helping to reduce shrink, improve customer service, drive sales and support higher staff performance. 

The same system configuration is being deployed at every store, ensuring efficient installation, easier maintenance and usability.

Various mix-and-match devices across different stores are being replaced with a standard configuration comprising a single, powerful 5MP IDIS fisheye camera (DC-Y6516WRX-A), managed and controlled via IDIS Center in the stores, and IDIS Solution Suite (ISS) Expert VMS at the head office.  

Footage is recorded locally on a four channel IDIS DR-2504P NDAA-compliant NVR. The single camera solution simplifies and streamlines system operation for retail staff and ensures HD coverage of the whole store, without blind spots. 

Each store is also equipped with an IDIS AI Box for Retail (DV-1304), to deliver a wider range of powerful analytics functions, including people counting, queue monitoring, heat mapping and occupancy monitoring.

People counting data from all the stores is transmitted to the ISS server, then collected in Yves Rocher’s SQL server for sharing with the NEBİM retail ERP software solution.

This enables Yves Rocher to analyse daily, weekly or monthly sales turnover and visitor numbers, comparing sales campaign periods against regular periods, allowing an accurate evaluation of marketing.  

The automated people counting and heat mapping capability provided by the IDIS AI Box replaces a standalone system which required manual collection and analysis of data.

The DV-1304 with its at-a-glance dashboard transforms the company’s ability to understand the sales performance of each store, measured against peaks and troughs of customer flow. This allows managers to improve decision making around store openings and closures, staffing levels and staff incentives. 

In this case, the solution has a comparable cost to the system it replaced, thanks to a low maintenance burden and no upfront or ongoing licensing fees. Yet, crucially, it’s reducing shrinkage while delivering significantly more functionality.  

This project is in many ways typical of the new trend we are seeing.

Retailers are taking advantage of more streamlined all-in-one video solutions as well as the integration of video with wider business systems, to support growth, not just to reduce risks and prevent losses. 

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