How end-to-end security solutions help retailers level up

Joe Ruggiero

As a retailer, you will be continuously challenged by the needs of the market and an increasingly demanding customer base. Finding solutions to meet these challenges might have historically involved you implementing software and hardware from different vendors – after all, your main objective is to address the issues you face, as they appear. This was the primary way to enable a solution fully customized to your needs, with integrations between various systems and partners.

However, there are pros and cons to this approach and you can inadvertently introduce problems with a patchwork of technology: issues around integration and technical support are often cited as significant pain points. End-to-end solutions can offer many benefits which help prevent further issues down the line.

Improving operations, safety and security with a single camera system

One of the most critical factors to your success is the efficiency of the processes you have in place. Customers want to be confident that they are safe and secure while on your premises, while also having their retail experience needs met. You can use technology to support your employees in meeting these varying needs. Single vendor solutions offer the ability to easily integrate several capabilities – such as video surveillance, access control, audio and analytics – into a single system.

Maintaining high levels of security is a top priority. If an incident occurs on your premises, our staff and customers expect it to be captured by a high quality video surveillance system. These images will then be reviewed and potentially used as evidence by law enforcement. Also, you can use cameras to detect the earliest indication of a developing incident and alert your security teams to intervene before it escalates. For example, if individuals are gathering in a restricted area or outside the exits of the shop, video analytics can help you identify when this is happening and enable you to investigate and address this if necessary.

Another security and operational aspect to consider is access control. The challenges here can be demonstrated when looking at efficiencies in delivery areas. For large stores and distribution centres, delivery trucks are continuously coming and going. Having a solution in place which recognizes authorized delivery trucks through license plate recognition, grant access – for example, using a QR code – and alert your staff of the arrival streamlines this process and allows you to manage deliveries efficiently. This can also be handled remotely by staff at a central location. In addition, there is also a log of the individuals who visited the premises, which can be easily reviewed if needed.

In terms of helping operations run smoothly on your shop floor, cameras can detect queue formation or loitering customers and alert employees to specific areas to provide assistance. The data captured can also be used to inform future decisions regarding operations. For example, if your store is found to be especially busy at certain times then you can review your employee scheduling to ensure that the right number of staff are on the shop floor.

From single-site to multi-site – scaling to suit customer needs

The modern customer expectations have also extended beyond the store. One of the most interesting shifts over the last few years has been to move to different delivery models, such as ‘buy online pick up in store’ (BOPIS) and ‘click and collect’. Although home delivery is convenient, customers want a range of options to receive their products. However, this includes increasing the number of sites to make it convenient for customers to visit stores or designated areas within other locations.

With single vendor solutions, you can choose a sophisticated deployment at the main store which can scale to receive multiple feeds from different sites. In this way, your small security and operations teams can monitor and manage events and processes remotely. This includes providing access to visitors, employees and deliveries to an unmanned site from a central location, while monitoring for intrusion, vandalism, and other undesirable activities.

Keeping your system up and running

As a retailer, one of your greatest resources is time. How this is allocated can help ensure your success and this is especially true if you have a small team and limited resources. Installing, setting up and maintaining a video surveillance system can be time consuming, but the real challenge occurs when something goes wrong.

With a patchwork approach to technology implementation, multiple vendors are involved. This means that should a problem arise, you have to try to figure out which part of the solution is malfunctioning. As a result, multiple calls to multiple vendors may be necessary to diagnose the problem and formulate a solution – resulting in wasted time and resources.

A single end-to-end solution allows you to contact the vendor who has knowledge and expertise in all the component parts. The support team can walk you through the issue and help you troubleshoot any problems that occur, saving you time and money. From a maintenance perspective, system health checks can be performed by the expert team remotely – helping to ensure your system remains in good working order and problems are spotted early to limit the impact.

Simplification equals success

Looking to the future, you ultimately want a surveillance solution which provides value, helps you meet objectives, and performs reliably to ensure that you’re able to deliver a consistent service to customers. Although having a patch work of technology may be cost-effective in the short term – especially if there are many legacy solutions in place – it’s key to look at the bigger picture and consider whether this will meet your needs in the long term.

Working with one company can provide peace of mind. Additionally, the ability to tie the system closer through analytics, system health monitoring, forensic search capabilities, or the ease of action rules is amplified when your system is end-to-end. Choosing a single solution from a company you trust means growing with their innovation and technology, helping you to implement new solutions to address use cases as they arise.

With that in mind, it’s important to also note that there will be use cases within your store which require other types of technology not supplied by the single vendor. In these cases, it’s important to choose a vendor which is based on an open API to allow easy integration and avoid future issues. After all, it’s key that the solution is purpose-built to suit your needs. Only then can you perform optimally and respond with agility in a changing market.

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