Reliable CCTV in Retail delivers more than just Security.

Reliable CCTV in Retail delivers more than just Security. The financial impact of crime to UK retail.
According to the British Retail Consortium 2022 Crime Survey Report the total cost of retail crime during 2020-21 was £1.5 billion with £786 million attributed to customer theft, employee theft, robbery, burglary, and damage. This figure is down from the 2019 figure of £900 million due to the pandemic which resulted in shop closures and restricted access during the survey period. Shrinkage is the accounting term applied to the difference between recorded inventory on a company’s balance sheet and its actual inventory that can be attributed to both theft and administrative errors. The amount of shrinkage is estimated to be up to 3% of the sales turnover for many retail stores.
CCTV’s increasing role in reducing crime and shrinkage in retail.
The installation of a traditional video surveillance system certainly contributes to limiting these acts and plays a vital role in large stores or any retail environment where line of sight is restricted, but until now the dissuasive effect of CCTV has faded from year to year. As technology advances the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is set to provide a surprise for would-be thieves who treat CCTV systems with disregard. Gesture recognition is an AI technology with the goal of interpreting human gestures via mathematical algorithms without the aid of any voice recording. This concept of recognising gestures using hands and/or other body parts is based on three layers: Detection, Tracking and Recognition. Several companies have released gesture recognition solutions that are actively detecting gestures of theft in stores around the world, with a goal of completely eradicating shoplifting. Gesture recognition software leverages the latest advances in Machine Learning to automatically detect obvious theft gestures in real-time at retail stores using existing CCTV surveillance cameras.
Customer behaviour monitoring and increased store performance.
The automatic detection of theft from human gesture is just one aspect of unwanted human behaviour, the British Retail Consortium 2022 Crime Survey Report also highlighted an average of 1301 violent or abusive incidents in retail stores every day. Again, CCTV can support law enforcement in bringing perpetrators to justice plus the application of AI can also detect potentially aggressive or unexpected behaviours in real-time.

Thankfully there is a much more positive application of CCTV-based human behaviour study which can help retailers to understand customer trends. By analysing CCTV footage retailers can evaluate key customer experience (CX) markers such as shoppers’ in-store journeys, purchasing behaviour, reaction to product placements and peak visiting times. These details can be processed to drive informed decisions to increase the performance of the store. Replaying an entire week’s footage can provide details such as the most crowded store times, performance of sales promotions and visitors most preferred store areas. Some cameras have Intelligent Video System (IVS) functions built into the device such as a crowd detection, people counting and loitering detection, therefore placing an even higher emphasis on camera reliability to ensure return on investment. Deeper insights on customer traffic inside the store can be obtained from retail analytics solutions which again can take advantage of any existing CCTV installation.

Counting the cost of retail crime prevention.
The £1.5 billion overall monetary cost of crime in 2022 considers the actual £786 million losses to crime itself plus crime prevention costs of almost £715 million. Effectively, for every £1 lost to crime, retailers spent approximately £1 on crime prevention. £76 million was also lost to online theft, as more people turned to online purchases during the pandemic and more retailers introduced or expanded their online offering during the lockdowns. Of this, 50% was lost to physical theft (such as stealing packages from post boxes, doorsteps, or from vans) and 50% to fraud. Overall, 60% of retailers reported an increase in online theft during the survey period.
Reducing the costs and impact of CCTV downtime with CameraMate.

For traditional CCTV applications and the leading-edge AI driven solutions described here to be effective, CCTV reliability and availability is paramount. Any downtime that is prolonged due to CCTV installation engineer call-out and break/fix resolution time can prove costly both in terms of crime prevention and/or loss of valuable customer experience insights. With the huge costs associated with crime prevention, your CCTV systems need to be functional 24/7.

Most CCTV installations fall into one of two camps. Larger estates are often supported by an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) who may provide 24/7 monitoring of live camera feeds and components of the CCTV network, however failures may still result in significant downtime since a third-party installation company may need to visit site to perform problem resolution. Smaller installations may be supported by Network Video Recorders (NVR) and operate on an element of hope that cameras and NVRs are functional during any period where a security event has occurred. Smaller sites are often supported by local or national specialist CCTV installers that service the premises annually, ensuring that cameras are clean and NVR devices are functioning correctly. Device issues are rarely discovered outside of this annual service and many systems can have failures that are not reported or resolved in between services.

CameraMate can provide a huge increase in system availability for both scenarios. CameraMate is a highly secure remote monitoring solution for NVR and XVR recorders that allows external support engineers or internal teams to monitor your CCTV environment remotely, facilitating maintenance procedures proactively to greatly reduce unplanned downtime. With full remote NVR & XVR control, many issues can be rectified before they cause downtime. Change histories can be monitored with the capability to roll-back settings to any ‘known good’ configuration profile. A major game changer for retail sites is the real-time service alerts which be provided to key service staff by SMS and email. Service events can be escalated to ensure they are resolved according to urgency resulting in reduced site visits and reduced maintenance time for all involved.

Optional Cloud Storage is also available to extend your capacity limited NVR and XVR network for long term retention and customer experience analysis. CameraMate also provides secure Live View of any network attached camera feed from any internet enabled browser, allowing any authorised team member to view live footage if a real-time alert is received.

In summary.
CCTV estates are set to grow in both the volume of attached cameras and in terms of advanced capabilities through AI and Machine Learning. Ongoing support of these rapidly growing installations will require significantly more manpower and costs unless remote NVR, XVR and camera monitoring and maintenance is adopted. Contact the CameraMate team to learn how your retail environment can increase system availability and be ready to take advantage of the latest crime prevention and customer experience analysis technologies.

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