Welcome to the Little Shop of Surveillance Horrors!

Managers and owners of shops are incredibly busy people, with multiple tasks to manage: making customers happy, keeping shelves stocked with products, managing staff, reducing and preventing loss…the list is almost endless. While in many stores video surveillance is in place, its ongoing management might not be a priority. And this can be costly when it is most needed.

Without an effective video management system a store stands every chance of becoming becoming The Little Shop of Surveillance Horrors!

Let’s have a look around one such shop…a shop full of gadgets and consumer electronics.

A false sense of security

Our store manager thinks everything is in place. Several surveillance cameras are installed in the shop, providing comprehensive coverage into every last corner. But the mere presence of a camera and being able to find the relevant video surveillance can be two very different things.

A theft takes place. A shop assistant has noticed that a laptop has vanished. Feeling confident that the mystery will quickly be solved and the thief identified, the store manager decides to review the video surveillance. That’s easier said than done. He hasn’t logged into the system for a while and struggles to remember his password.

Struggling to find the surveillance footage

Now he’s in the system the next challenge is to identify the camera covering the relevant area. A lengthy period of trial and error and he finds the right camera.

But it isn’t working. That’s annoying. Why isn’t it, and for how long hasn’t it been?

Not to worry. There’s another camera covering roughly the same area. OK, so it’s a little further away but it should have caught the thief. And it’s working! Unfortunately, the crystal-clear image it has been recording is of the promotional signage they put up last week. It’s completely obscuring the image.

This is not going well.

Annoyed – though with nobody to blame but himself – our store manager decides to review footage from a third camera. Unfortunately, this doesn’t cover the specific area from where the laptop was taken, but does capture everyone entering and leaving the store. Luckily, the laptop was stolen on a relatively quiet day but there are still hours of video to review. Eventually, our store manager finds what he’s looking for…someone who entered the store empty-handed, and leaves with a box without passing through the checkout. Surely that’s the culprit? After more time reviewing video from two other cameras to find clearer angles on the suspected thief, our store manager thinks that he’s found his man.

Now comes the challenge of extracting all the specific and relevant segments of video and still images and packaging them together in an easily-exported file to hand over to management and the police. It’s a cumbersome, complicated and time-consuming process, demanding skills more akin to those of a TV producer than a retail manager!

Eventually, as darkness falls over the now deserted shop, the manager completes the task but reflects on the long list of tasks he was supposed to be doing that day…

Effective video management for retailers

Let’s be honest, the scenario described in our Little Shop of Surveillance Horrors brings together a whole host of issues that can exist in poorly-managed video surveillance systems. And while it’s rare for all of these to occur at the same time, each in itself is much more common than you might think.

You might also think that advanced aspects of video management systems are only available to more advanced and bigger customers, or multinational retail chains. But it’s not the case: video management software brings many of the same features that more advanced video surveillance customers can access, including:

  • Simplified but secure system login
  • An intuitive user interface showing the location and coverage of all cameras in the system
  • Notification when cameras are not working or the view is obscured
  • Easy video playback, including video review through a mobile application
  • Smart search functionality to allow specific footage to be pinpointed
  • Easy video editing, redaction and masking to protect third-party privacy
  • Support for encryption and password-protected files
  • Simple file exportation without the need for the receiver/viewer to have a player installed
  • The ability to create incident reports for management

An investment in video surveillance can be significant for any business, but can create a return for retailers in better security and loss prevention. However, it’s only an investment that will create a positive return if it is properly managed.

Don’t let your store become your very own Little Shop of Surveillance Horrors!

Learn more about Axis’ video management software here:

AXIS Camera Station