ISJ Exclusive: Shopping made secure


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Tertius Wolfaardt, Architecture & Engineering Manager, Axis Communications MEA examines retail safety and security in the 21st century.

When a person walks into a store, whether it’s standalone or in a mall, they’re likely admiring its design, aesthetic and construction; not thinking about its security features.

Retailers face unique challenges when it comes to deploying security measures in what are typically “public” spaces. They set out to create a welcoming environment, while simultaneously striving to protect customers and mitigate threats to facilities, assets, people and stock.

With the global perimeter security market estimated to be worth $70.8 billion in 2022, and with the commercial sector – which includes retail – accounting for the largest market size, vendors and service providers are constantly innovating and working to deliver cutting-edge security solutions.  The same is true for Axis, a company that takes a holistic view of these solutions. Axis deploys security and surveillance technology that not only protects retailers but augments and upgrades the retail experience for all stakeholders.

With the right technology, hardware and managed services, security takes on a new form, leaving shoppers, visitors and retail partners feeling safer. Security becomes an integral part of retail operations, improves operational efficiency and helps reduce costs.

A return to normal?

The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) physical security market, estimated to be worth $1.8 billion in 2022, is expected to reach $3 billion in value by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 7%. The growth can be attributed to trends and demand from commercial and construction activities as well as demand for specific technologies that facilitate access control and help deter criminal activity. With the COVID-19 crisis receding, consumers are being encouraged to return to communal spaces like retail stores and corporate offices.

This is not in response to a momentary or knee-jerk trend. Despite making more online purchases, many shoppers in the Middle East still prefer to visit physical stores where they can see and interact with merchandise and enjoy personal human interactions.

But, while this bodes well for the sector, the sector must still stand up to crimes such as shoplifting, money and checkout fraud, burglaries and vandalism. Retail crime threatens both businesses and consumers and, by providing a blanket of comprehensive security, both can feel at ease.

From the shop floor up

For retailers, the way forward is to envision their security as a working ecosystem, with every piece of hardware complementing each other to provide monitoring, access and deterrence measures. The Axis ecosystem of video, audio, access control and analytic solutions is conceived and built for enterprises to take a holistic approach to their security. Single vendor solutions let retailers integrate several security functionalities including video surveillance, access control, data analytics and audio into a single system.

It starts with video coverage. Axis IP-based cameras are equipped with multiple sensors and boast 360-degree directional capabilities. Aided by deep learning functionalities that gather and analyse data in real time and from the point of origin, they take video coverage to the next level. With video analytics, malicious or aggressive behaviour is identified, reported and discouraged. Retailers can also monitor shoppers and gather insights on their in-store movement and purchasing habits.

Meanwhile, network door stations let retailers control the flow of authorised personnel in and out of facilities. Using video systems, retailers can monitor health and safety violations, while audio systems provide the means to broadcast announcements and reminders about company procedures. With the help of trusted vendors and partners, these systems form a single solution that can improve security and optimise store operations.

We’re beyond using a few CCTV cameras hooked up to a stack of monitors in the corner office. With the industry being a hotbed for innovation, and with vendors like Axis aiming to make retail spaces safer, retailers must consider the power of technology.

From securing sales floors, cash rooms, parking lots, loading docks, entrances and exits, safety and surveillance solutions can help protect stores, staff and customers.  

This article was originally published in the January 2023 edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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