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Centre for Retail Research survey reveals continued strong trend towards network IP-based security solutions

According to the latest Centre for Retail Research annual survey into the use of CCTV in the retail sector, over 60% of UK retailers are planning to adopt network IP in the next three years while nearly one third have already made the move.

278 UK retailers representing 20,350 stores responded to the survey which was commissioned by Axis Communications. The data collated shows that 92.8% of those retailers currently use CCTV. Of these end users, 32.1% have already upgraded to network IP technology. This represents a 2.5% rise in take-up from the previous year’s figures.

That trend is even more pronounced across the wider northern European region, with 58.5% (weighted average) of analogue CCTV end users reporting that they now plan to switch to network IP. This represents a significant increase of 17% on the 2012 survey figures.

Now in its fourth year, the CCTV in Retail survey polled 2,200 retailers and realised 673 respondents from across northern Europe. The results were presented at the recent Retail Fraud Show by Atul Rajput (regional director for northern Europe at Axis Communications) and Professor Joshua Bamfield, director at the Centre for Retail Research.

Reacting to the results, Rajput commented: “The migration from analogue CCTV to network IP continues to be of huge importance to the retail sector, with the majority of UK retailers (60.3%) now planning to convert in the next three years. Over three quarters (77.1%) of those retailers own a retail estate of between 26 and 500 stores. This is likely to be the biggest single factor impacting on retail security as digital surveillance and network video become the standard. Certainly, for the UK we 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.”

Atul Rajput: regional director for northern Europe at Axis Communications

Atul Rajput: regional director for northern Europe at Axis Communications

Rajput went on to state: “The survey suggests that customer theft is still the biggest security challenge facing retailers at the present time. Nearly a quarter (24.2%) of respondents comment that their main reason for using CCTV is to prevent or investigate theft. 80% of respondents cite the prevention of internal or external theft and better safety as the main drivers for their use of CCTV.”

Continuing this theme, Rajput explained: “The UK as a whole has embraced the benefits that CCTV can bring. 22% of those end users surveyed in this research state that the main benefit of CCTV is a reduction in theft, with an estimated average fall in losses of 15% – the highest prediction in northern Europe and up on the previous year. Couple this with the fact that 14% of respondents cite ‘quality of image’ as an important driver for the use of network video – a 40% increase on the previous year – and it’s clear to see that the HD images network video can offer are critically important for retailers when it comes to driving down theft and improving safety.”

Integration with business intelligence applications

The survey also asked respondents about their attitudes towards potential future application systems and networks for digital surveillance, including non-security issues.

Over a quarter (27%) of the replies cite ‘integration with business intelligence applications’ as the main reason for adopting network IP – the highest in the UK and across northern Europe.

“High street stores are still the origin of most retail transactions but carry the highest overheads,” added Rajput. “That being the case, the need to reduce both the cost and complexity of in-store surveillance systems and, at the same time, ‘sweat the assets’ further becomes absolutely vital. This is where network IP really holds the advantage as it can be used to improve both service and sales, not just security, and subsequently deliver a real return on investment.”

Rajput continued: “The use of cloud-based video systems has shown an increase in interest from UK retailers. So too has the subject of non-security applications. Nearly half (49.9%) of respondents are interested in queue management and people counting (49.2%) as new tools for improving both operational sales and marketing performance.”

In conclusion, Rajput commented: “In addition to the rise of non-security applications, big data, cloud and mobile technologies are all trends impacting the retail sector. As network video is an open platform solution and seamlessly allows integration with these technologies, it can help to maximise the return on in-store video investment by extending its use beyond pure surveillance into becoming a business optimisation tool.”

Speaking about this year’s survey results, Professor Joshua Bamfield added: “The survey clearly highlights the continued move towards IP-based camera systems across the retail sector. It’s a growing trend driven by the need for HD-quality images and the increased adoption and use of business-focused analytics. These are two areas where IP systems demonstrate a clear advantage over older technologies.”

Bamfield also explained: “The survey results further suggest that retailers continue to appreciate the added benefits an IP-based system can deliver which is evident in the high convergence rate each year.”

*The CCTV in Retail survey engaged retailers from both large and small companies across a wide variety of sectors and attracted 673 responses from the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The research was carried out by the Centre for Retail Research between July 2014 and August 2014

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