Several articles floated up recently that are worth review:
1. Business Intelligence in Retail
From Axis Communications, a summary of a LPRC study commissioned in late 2012 that addresses retailers’ adoption and use of IP video. Not surprisingly, the data shows an increase in the number of companies seeking sales, operations, and marketing improvement through the use of intelligent video (video analytics). This is reassuring, since image quality and resolution have been consistently discussed as the primary motivators, while their value continues to be debated. Of the ~25% of respondents who reported that business intelligence was a primary factor in selecting IP video:
- People Counting was by far the most used non-LP analytic application, with 46.3 percent of
respondents deploying this feature, up from 27 percent in 2010;
- Dwell Time Analysis (20 percent) and Heat Map or Hot/Cold Zone (18.2 percent) usage
increased in 2012, while 38.3 percent of respondents use video analytics to detect POS fraud;
- Queue Counters are used by less than 10 percent of companies surveyed, yet 50 percent say
they may use this application in future. Similarly, while no respondents said they utilize Out of
Stock Alerts today, more than 56 percent say they may use them in the future;
- Nearly 32 percent of respondents utilize surveillance to help analyze “shopping & buying
behavior,” with 20 percent using video to measure shelf and product placement effectiveness
2. Big Data Requires a Cautious Approach
Beware the Errors of Big Data summarizes Nassim Taleb’s position that big data must be used with great care in order for it to be useful. His primary observation is that “modernity provides too many variables, but too little data per variable. So the spurious relationships grow much, much faster than real information. In other words: Big data may mean more information, but it also means more false information.”
He asserts that this is not necessarily bad, however, since big data can be effectively used to debunk a theory or conclusion, rather than draw new conclusions whose basis is made questionable by big data.
As the claims around big data continue to make their way into the video intelligence, security and integration space, the article (and the author’s book, Antifragile) are worth a read.
3. SD Card Video Storage (recording at the edge)
From SDM Magazine comes an article on the current state of SD card (flash memory) storage for video. While it only addresses the current trend of cameras supporting off-the-shelf SD memory cards, and not more reliable types of flash memory, the article does touch on some of the applications and limitations of this approach. Thanks to demand from the consumer market – driven by tablets, high megapixel cameras, and ultrabooks – the capacity, cost and reliability of SD cards is improving constantly. For many commercial and residential applications, it is virtually certain that this type of distributed recording will be the norm in just a few years. It will be a welcome and exciting change for end users and service providers – and a terrifying one for DVR/NVR vendors who haven’t yet figured out their migration to a cloud/SaaS model.
Frank Mayer and Associates has a free whitepaper available at their website that provides an overview of the design concepts, benefits, and challenges of theft deterrent merchandise displays. Since Frank Mayer manufactures such products, their perspective includes things not often considered by those who are primarily security-focused, such as the number of product facings and the ways to integrate dummy and demo product into the fixture design.
It is a good primer for anyone interesting in learning about how retailers attempt to create a positive customer experience while managing risk.
Note that a short registration form must be filled out at this link prior to downloading the whitepaper.
In the works for several years, this new packaging uses graphene printing technology (conductive ink) to create a concealed, low-cost circuit that is destroyed when opened. A battery-operated module sounds an alarm if someone attempts to cut or open the package before purchase. The alarm module would be removed at the point of sale and reused.
The solution, offered by MeadWestvaco, promises to reduce the cost and complexity of other product protection devices such as alarming wraps (aka SpiderWraps™) and boxes (aka Keepers or Safers). The idea that almost any size product could be protected by the same snap-on alarm module would have broad appeal within retail. Today, it is common for each store to stock numerous sizes of wraps, boxes, and tags – with some merchandise lacking desired protection solely due to their shape. The cost to store and apply these devices can be significant, but when the alternative is locking up merchandise, most retailers find it acceptable. Numerous studies have shown that securing products in cabinets or behind checkout counters results in a significant reduction in sales, compared with open-display merchandising.
The “Natralock® with Siren™” may have an additional tamper-resistant benefit, since the circuit shape and location is embedded within the layers of packaging material. As long as the alarm module and its connections to the packaging are not easily defeated, the system as a whole could prove to be more difficult to bypass without triggering an alarm.
Another new type of product protection technology is being offered by Proteqt. The solution consists of a “lock” that can be placed on products at the point of manufacturing or packaging, and is electronically released at the point of sale using radio frequency communication. Upon opening the packaging, the purchaser is able to remove and discard the lock. A review of the manufacturer’s website provides little detail about the security involved in the unlocking process, but it is presumably [hopefully] several steps above the magnetically-released locks found in most store-applied security tags.
This category of products is called “benefit denial” because an attempt to remove the lock before it is deactivated results in damage to the merchandise, typically rendering it unusable or unsaleable. Related products include clothing security tags containing ink capsules that break if the tags are forcibly removed, and DVD packaging with “teeth” that tear into the product unless removed using a special key.