Hi-Res Cameras — Not Just For LP
By Bob Johns, associate editor
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mobotix CEO, Magnus Ekerot, at the Mobotix National Partner Conference in Las Vegas. With all of the innovation and changes in the world of digital video, I was excited to demo a few of the Mobotix cameras and see what was new.
Mobotix has decentralized the recording system by incorporating a high-speed computer and the optional built-in digital long-term flash-memory card, only requiring a PC or video control center to view and control the cameras. This keeps network bandwidth available and allows for the remote viewing retailers need. Ekerot points out, “With a decentralized system, retailers do not have to invest in multiple DVRs and storage devices. Unlike with many centralized options, there is no need to increase bandwidth, so the retailer can save money right away.”
Camera failure can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of any camera system. This is why the Mobotix cameras have no mechanical motors. “With no moving parts, our cameras have an increased lifespan and require little maintenance. This also allows us to operate them in a range from -22° to 140° degrees Fahrenheit,” Ekerot notes.
False alarms can also impact effectiveness by using recording space and wasting the time of whoever reviews the recorded events. The latest cameras can be set with specific ranges of motion to activate recording. Have a tree that keeps blowing in the wind and creating a recording event? Adjust the field to skip the tree and reduce false alarms. Mobotix’ hemispheric sensors allow for 360° imaging with high resolution, no “seasickness” or blurring, and clear imaging zoom. This is especially important when covering a large area with fewer cameras. By covering the same amount of space with fewer cameras, retailers can reduce the cost of the overall solution and still maintain security. Additionally, with the hi-res imaging, operations personnel can check on displays, stock levels, planogram resets, and associate behavior. Incorporate the heat-mapping and traffic counting to improve analytics and improve conversion rates by having a better understanding of customer behavior. “Retailers can improve the ROI of the solution by capitalizing on these cross-department applications. This is not just a loss prevention solution,” Ekerot states. Marketing can see if traffic improves with an ad, or see if customers are stopping at a display. Human resources can see if training is taking place and labor laws adhered to. Management can see how associates are engaging the customers.
Ekerot points out that all of this is not to diminish what the cameras mean for LP. Loss prevention is still a large part of why cameras must evolve. Retailers need to be able to supply crisp, clear images to their managers and LP personnel as well as to law enforcement. This helps in both prevention and prosecution. “We have all seen the grainy images of someone stealing something, but good luck using that to positively identify that crook,” he says. High quality images prevent further loss. Managers know who to look out for, and they can actively engage the person with great customer service. This can cause the person to move on to an easier target, thereby keeping shoplifters out.
By continuously incorporating new camera technology, retailers can improve business in all facets. From customer service, to shrink reduction, to marketing analysis, cameras are used far more now than ever before. Retailers need to be on board with integrating the technology throughout the company, and allow operations, HR, and LP to work together and grow the company.