Blog | May 15, 2012

What Retailers Can Teach Integrators About IP Cameras

By The Business Solutions Network

If you've been reading your copies of Business Solutions magazine over the past 18 months, you've no doubt noticed our increased coverage of IP camera technologies. While many of our readers have expressed an interest in adding such technologies to their line cards, some have questioned if video surveillance fits their business model. You might be one of those solutions providers.

Well, about a month ago, our sister publication, Integrated Solutions for Retailers, conducted a survey of its audience of U.S.-based retailers. The survey focused on video surveillance-related topics. The results of the survey were quite insightful and should be of particular importance to integrators like you.

For instance, when retailers were asked about the driving factors behind their upcoming camera purchases, loss prevention/surveillance was only one of many reasons making the list. Other high-ranking factors include traffic counting, workforce management, measuring merchandise effectiveness, and measuring conversion rates.

Following are some more specifics straight from the mouths of retailers:

Having the cameras up definitely made a change in the effectiveness of the employees work and the ability to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic."

We use our surveillance/camera footage to help train new employees in the right and wrong ways of our operations."

Video assets are a must have in any retail environment. Not just for viewing loss issues, but for identifying sales trends, customer counts at specific times, flow of product to sales floor, etc. The biggest problem is the time and opportunities to train store managers on how to use the cameras to their benefit.

We rely more on store design for moving customers thru our buildings rather than using cameras to monitor traffic flow."

Video cameras never sleep. They don't get distracted. They capture data. With capabilities like analytics and exception-based reporting tools you can convert this data into information that can improve the effectiveness of your organization as well as improve your LP initiatives."

Hopefully some of these quotes sparked in your mind some ways you might be able to implement IP video cameras for your customers (even if you don't focus on the retail vertical). This information only confirms what our Chief Editor Mike Monocello has been saying about IP cameras being used for way more than video surveillance. Also, note that one of the quotes points out areas the retailer needs help (Hello!? Your time to shine!). The full list of quotes includes many more "cries for help" from retailers.

If you're only thinking "video surveillance," you're selling today's camera technology short. But, okay, let's be practical. If you aren't yet a camera wizard, it's probably unrealistic to expect you to think of cameras other than just surveillance devices. I urge you to do a couple things. First, subscribe to Business Solutions if you aren't already. On a monthly basis we're crafting articles designed not for security veterans, but network-savvy integrators interested in learning how to add IP cameras to their line cards. Second, pick up a phone and call your distributor or one of the integrator-focused camera manufacturers (email me for a list) to learn more about this opportunity. At least start thinking about this opportunity. Not doing so is selling your business short.