Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

More than Just Security: The Future of In-Store Surveillance #2

February 3, 2017

camera-ctaIn the first of this blog series, we explored some of the new and exciting possibilities created in retail by combining HD IP security cameras, such as those offered by Cisco Meraki, with the store network to identify individual customers and drill down on their behaviours. We established that this technology is available right now, despite us being decades away from 2054, when the movie ‘Minority Report’ showed similar yet futuristic concepts in action.

Having already explored how this technology could enable both a VIP Customer Experience and Hotspot Reaction Monitoring, generating value for retailers AND their customers, let’s take a look at a further two scenarios):

Intelligent Footfall Analysis

Instead of just tracking numbers, imagine how useful it would be to know who visits different parts of the store when, and how much they spend. If you knew, for example, that women aged 25-40 with pre-school aged children (identified through facial or other characteristic analysis) were the biggest spenders during school hours during the week, targeting customers fitting that profile with offers may prove very effective. In-store events or food and beverage deals targeting that profile may be worth considering to attract more of their peers.

Innovation in Action:
A graduate of Cisco’s own technology innovation accelerator IDEALondon, Hoxton Analytics has developed in-store data analytics system that avoids data privacy issues by focusing on customers’ footwear, using a small camera about 50cm from the floor. It counts footfall at an industry-leading accuracy rate of 95% and can determine gender at accuracy of 80%.

Frictionless Experiences

Point of sale is a pain point for customers and retailers alike and while self-service checkouts have gone some way to easing it in some sectors, the queues remain. IP security cameras provide an opportunity for shoppers to pay online, or using a contactless card, using frictionless payment technology and walk out without sounding the alarms, assuming their device is registered on the Wi-Fi network and payment can be cross-referenced in real-time.

Indeed, Cisco is currently experimenting with license plate recognition, which together with the presence of a smartphone mac address enables ‘frictionless fuel’ (refueling + automated payment).

In short, the days of CCTV footage being used exclusively for fraud prevention are over. IP security cameras have the potential to provide a wealth of detailed information on your customers and their in-store experiences. However, there are barriers that retailers must overcome in order to be able to do this.

There are major complexities surrounding data capture, storage and use, which are significant, in both regulatory compliance terms and in customer perceptions, particularly where personal data is being stored (e.g. the VIP Customer Experience outlined in the last blog and Frictionless scenarios). Security is paramount here, as is the delivery and communication of clear value to customers, and the judicious use of trials.

Finally, I should call out that the use of video footage in this way is a fundamental change and will only work if the technology is configured correctly, so that access is locked down and exporting controlled. Natural language processing, intuitive searching and sharing of only relevant clips is essential if marketing and operational teams are to be able to make sense of the data.

If you find the ‘positive surveillance’ scenarios we have outlined here and in the first blog interesting, don’t miss the third and final part of this blog series, where we’ll explore the role of security cameras as sensors and even super-sensors in retail! In the meantime, please do visit our website to learn more about our Digital Retail Solutions, and what our customers are doing to digitally transform their retail businesses.

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  1. Great article Edward. Lots in here that we are exploring at HH Global.