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Retailers Find Benefit in Using In-Store Camera Technology for Customer Experience: Interview

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Axis Communications, a Swedish manufacturer of network cameras, access control and network audio devices, has developed a suite of end-to-end solutions that retailers can leverage to prevent theft and to grow their business. 

​​Mitch Mershon, Business Development Manager, End to End Solutions at Axis Communications, said retailers want to be able to protect their premises by recording everything with high quality video managed via a video management software that is very easy to use and that they know is going to work. 

Mitch Mershon

“We make everything very, very simple and easy to use,” he said, adding that the company’s video quality presents a very clear picture of what’s happening in front of the camera.

“(Within the retail environment), there is obvious theft that occurs. We know that’s always going to be there. So, if somehow there’s a large theft and they’re able to catch and view a person’s face very plainly and clearly, it makes prosecution easier. On the other side of that is slip, trip and falls. One slip, trip or fall can cost a retailer tens, hundreds of thousands of dollars. So being able to prove proper compliance as the business owner, that’s the difference between some places staying open and some places closing.

Image: Axis Communications

“One of the cool things we’re starting to really move towards is working with analytics to where we can now start talking about more business intelligence. Being able to get not only recorded video for evidence, we can now start to look at how many people are coming into your store every day, where are they going as we track them around your store.”

That business intelligence is crucial. It can help retailers with marketing the areas of a store that are particularly busy. It can help them with making staffing decisions. What area of the store needs more people? Less people? Video surveillance can also help retailers mitigate the risk of internal theft as well.

Axis Communications has “feet on the street” in at least 50 countries. In Canada, it has an office in Mississauga. It is known primarily as video surveillance manufacturer but over the years it has grown and expanded its reach in this field.

“Everyone knows us as the camera company. We invented the first IP video surveillance camera and since then our product portfolio is now massive. Basically, if you can think of a camera need as it pertains to video surveillance, we’ve got a camera for that,” said Mershon.  

Image: Axis Communications

That’s not just visual cameras, that’s also thermal cameras, which actually see the heat signature and retailers are able to track someone like that. It’s used in places where it might be difficult to visually see something.

Mershon said Axis in the past few years has started to realize there’s a broader market than just the camera. 

“There are so many other technologies that go into the security space that we’ve started to do things like radar technology, not like radar to track a plane, but using a smaller scale version of that to be able to track motion in an area where you might have trouble to visually see what’s happening,” he said.

Mershon said the end-to-end solutions begin with a camera that is tied to a network that goes back to a piece of software, a piece of hardware, which record the video. Axis has become a one-stop shop in this area for its customers.

Image: Axis Communications

“Working with our end-to-end solutions, one of the other things that we have is network audio. So, we now have speakers that you can connect just like a camera as part of your network. You tie video analytics which would say if somebody is standing in this area for more than 30 seconds let’s say, you could plan an announcement of ‘Hi, thank you for visiting, we’ll send an associate to be right with you’,” he explained. 

That not only makes it more efficient for customers to be served by a retailer’s staff but also from a security point of view it subtly let’s someone know they are being monitored, which is a deterrent for theft in a store.

“There are benefits to having an end-to-end solution. Being able to have a single provider, that’s going to be able to provide you from soup to nuts everything that you need for your solution. But also, being able to leverage your current investment and being able to add on just a couple of little things, like being able to add on network audio, that end-to-end solution really can add value. So don’t think of video surveillance solution as just a security tool. Think of it as what other ways can we use this,” said Mershon. 

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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