Beyond Video Surveillance Toward Digital Retail Intelligence

Retail no longer has to live with legacy, on-premises video surveillance. Smart, cloud-based systems simplify deployment and management and utilize video data for analytics capabilities.

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Retail is an industry that strongly benefits from video surveillance, but historically adoption has lagged behind the market average due to price sensitivity. Thin margins limit adoption, especially since a new surveillance system has usually required a large capital investment.

But newer, cloud-based video surveillance solutions move the cost to a recurring operating expense, making them much more affordable. Big budgets are no longer a prerequisite for a powerful video surveillance system.

Modern cloud-based solutions also provide new capabilities that legacy systems can’t offer. Video data can be fed to analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) applications to:

  • Notify managers in real time when additional cashiers are needed to reduce long queues
  • Produce crowd-flow reports that show foot-traffic patterns
  • Identify which displays are attracting the most attention.

These possibilities just scratch the surface. Independent software vendors (ISVs) are constantly developing new ways to uncover insights from video data.

Here’s an example: Using an ISV solution, retailers could glean a great deal of data from a young mother’s visit to a store: the section in which she stayed the longest, how long she looked at specific advertisements, her age range, the length of time it took for her to check out, and even her overall satisfaction with the experience. By compiling this data over time, management can gain powerful insights to optimize almost every aspect of the store to satisfy customers, improve efficiency, and increase profits.

Cloud-based intelligent video surveillance systems also make it simple to find video footage or clips. Not only is there a slider that corresponds to the day and time, but it’s possible to find clips with queries like, “Show me anyone who walked by this doorway” or “Show me all footage of a person walking down aisle nine.”

And once the right footage is identified, it’s easy to share. Clips can be downloaded into standard formats and emailed to third parties. Internally, security managers can view video from any location via a laptop with appropriate permissions. There’s no need to spend hours on the road travelling to and from stores just to view video feeds.

Does all this additional functionality increase complexity? No. In fact, the opposite is true. Intelligent, cloud-based video surveillance is so simple to deploy and manage, it typically requires little to no specialized IT support. And that’s a good thing, because few retail operations have IT staff at every store. In addition, a security pro can view security camera feeds from different sites from one dashboard, a convenience for security managers who operate multiple retail locations.

Cisco Meraki provides a wide array of intelligent, cloud-based security cameras to meet the needs of any retail organization. Deployment is simple: mount the cameras and plug them into a PoE (power over Ethernet) switch. Each camera can store up to 20 days of continuous video, and if the store sets the camera to motion-based retention, the camera can store far more data, depending on traffic and store hours.

Additionally, because there’s storage on the camera itself, the camera uses very little bandwidth. And with Meraki’s extensive marketplace of partner apps, it’s easy to extract additional value from the video data with exports into third-party software.

Retail doesn’t have to live with the limitations of legacy, on-premises video surveillance. Smart, cloud-based systems are now available that simplify deployment and management, make it easy to find and share clips and connect video to AI to provide even more advanced capabilities.

For more information on Meraki’s cloud-based video surveillance systems, visit us here.

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