According to the latest Centre for Retail Research (CRR) survey into the use of CCTV in retail, over a quarter (27%) of UK retailers have cited ‘integration with business intelligence applications’ as the main reason for adoption of network IP for the third year running.
Similarly, across northern Europe, the survey – which was commissioned by Axis Communications – shows that an average of 31% of retailers said that integration with business intelligence applications is their main driver for adopting network IP, peaking at 35% in Denmark.
Of the 278 UK retailers who responded, encompassing no less than 20,350 stores, the data shows that 92.8% currently use CCTV with over 60% of interviewees planning to convert to network IP technology.
‘Quality of Image’ sees the biggest increase in priority with a 40% rise in UK respondents naming it as the most important factor when migrating to network IP.
Other major drivers for the adoption of IP technology include ‘better remote access’ (18%), ‘scalability’ (16%) and ‘reduced total cost of ownership’ (12%), all of them showing an average increase compared to the results of last year’s survey.
Migration from analogue CCTV to network IP
Commenting on the survey results, Andy Martin (retail business development manager at Axis Communications) said: “The migration from analogue CCTV to network IP continues to be of huge importance to the retail sector and will be the biggest single factor impacting on retail security as digital surveillance and network video become the standard.”
He continued: “The UK High Street is still the origin of the bulk of retail transactions, but unfortunately physical stores also carry the highest overheads so the need to ‘sweat the assets’ is vital. Surveillance systems are no exception to that rule. This is where network IP really has an advantage as it can be used to improve both service and sales, not just security, and deliver a real return on investment.”
Martin added: “With retailers operating on increasingly smaller margins, reducing costs is a key priority for them. While IP-based video surveillance does make a noticeable improvement to the top line, the long-term aim of superior image quality should be the lowering of total cost of ownership as it enhances detection and improves forensic investigation.”
Martin sees retailers’ use of business analytics and intelligence applications continuing to mushroom in line with developments in cloud computing and big data.
“With network cameras’ capability to provide higher resolution video and be connected from everywhere 24 hours a day,” he stated, “retailers are now receiving more and more data from a greater number of sources. Business intelligence applications are needed to help retailers manage this huge amount of information and to assist them in interpreting the data so that it’s useful.”
Given that network video is an open platform solution, it can seamlessly allow integration with emerging technologies and, therefore, transforms the surveillance camera from being a forensic tool aimed at solving problems to a proactive tool that’s designed to optimise business processes and reduce cost.
“This is clearly evident from the survey,” asserted Martin, “as nearly half of the UK retailers polled stated that queue management (49.9%) and people counting (49.2%) are the two most important non-security network IP applications of most interest to them.”
Increased adoption of business-focused analytics
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director at the CRR, commented: “The survey clearly highlights the continued move towards IP-based camera systems across the retail sector. This is a growing trend that’s driven by the need for HD-quality images and the increased adoption and use of business-focused analytics – two areas where IP systems demonstrate a clear advantage over older technologies.”
Bamfield added: “The survey results further suggest that retailers continue to appreciate the added benefits an IP-based system can deliver, which is readily evident in the high convergence rate each year.”
Andy Martin concluded: “Customer theft is still the biggest security challenge facing retailers at the moment, as nearly a quarter (24.2%) of respondents said that their main reason for using CCTV is to prevent or investigate theft. 80% of respondents cited the prevention of internal or external theft and better safety as the main driver for the use of CCTV, seeing an average fall in loss of 15%. As a whole, the UK has embraced the benefits that CCTV can bring. This is particularly true of the retail sector. Certainly for the UK, I believe that the migration to network IP has become the norm. It’s no longer a question of ‘If’ but ‘When’ the technology will be adopted.”
*The ‘CCTV in Retail’ survey involved 2,200 retailers operating across a wide variety of sectors and attracted 673 responses from specialists resident in the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden
**Research was carried out by the CRR between July-August 2014 and follows similar Axis Communications-commissioned surveys conducted in 2013, 2012 and 2010