29.03.2023 • TopstoriesRetail

Security Solutions for the Retail Industry in 2023

GIT SECURITY takes a closer look at different security measures that can help reduce loss and fraud at retail stores significantly.

If you were a shoplifter, what environment would you choose to steal from a retail shop? Are you thinking of stealing a T-shirt in a crowded yet out-of-sight area? Think bigger! How about taking action at night, when the deliveries are coming in? When access rights to warehouses are unorganized, there’s opportunity for fraud. More often than you think, however, it is people from your own company or from partner companies who cause the greatest damage.

Intelligent Algorithms: Customer Movement Patterns and Unusual Groupings

The good old classic CCTV camera has been around for decades, and has progressed by leaps and bounds since its introduction. With highly intelligent algorithms either built into the camera itself or sophisticated apps studying the incoming images centrally in real time, it is relatively easy nowadays to spot shoplifters in action. No matter whether it’s a single thief or an organized gang, today’s systems can raise an alert when they recognize suspicious behavior based on movement patterns, such as lingering, an unusual grouping of customers or running. Stockrooms and warehouses can also be kept in view and similarly protected against theft by employees.

Video Surveillance Provider Support Retail Businesses With AI

On the basis of their Wisenet cameras, Hanwha Vision Europe can provide a complete retail solution that will deliver not only security surveillance but also customer behavior intelligence. Integration with other in-store systems is supported through the devices’ open platform approach, for example through the use of AI-based video analytics to ensure the current occupancy, social distancing and mask regulations are being complied with.

Uri Guterman, Head of Product & Marketing at Hanwha Vision Europe recently said in an interview: “Perhaps the biggest development in video technology in recent years has been the wider deployment of AI ‘at the edge’ – to not only deliver better image quality, but to provide users with greater insight into the images captured. So, while retail security systems may have grown in complexity in recent years, retailers need to understand that the massive processing power of the latest generation of high-definition cameras means they are able to offer so much more than traditional security cameras.
“Indeed, the wider availability of affordable, easy-to-configure and discreet cameras equipped with video analytics software has opened up a massive opportunity for retailers to gather reliable and verifiable data that can help them assess why an individual store is performing better than others, for example, or better understand the behaviour and intentions of customers.”

"Video Analytics is Still in Its Infancy"

Graham Swallow, Retail Lead for Axis Communications EMEA says: “Capturing images and driving actionable alerts to reduce burglary, theft and violence brings value, but it doesn’t need to end there. Video analytics on the camera edge can be used to create actionable alerts to drive a retail operation (identify loitering customers in a high-risk area to initiate service to deter or drive a sale) and provide data for long-term planning (busy times require more staff and available baskets). The same analytics improve the customer experience, drive sales but also impact on the safety of customers and staff.”
Bosch Security is another provider that offers sophisticated retail solutions. Areas like emergency exits must be clear and accessible at all times. With video analytics, cameras can identify objects blocking or people entering or exiting a designated area. An intrusion system can monitor the status of a door during disarmed periods. The system can alert to a door propped or inadvertently left open, indicating the possibility of employee theft and preventing unnecessary heating and cooling costs.

“Video analytics is still in its infancy. Today’s video analytics provide limited insights which can translate to poor and missed alarms,” according to Dieter Joecker, Oosto Chief Technology Officer. “Talking to enterprise customers and the partners who serve them, it’s clear that the world of physical security needs to move out of the dark ages and help organizations prevent incidents of violence and vandalism, or to minimize the damage immediately after.” Joecker added, “Tomorrow, commercial enterprises will harness the power of contextual scene analysis – multi-threaded AI – to deliver real-time contextual analytics and precision alerts based on a more holistic understanding of live video surveillance. For example, when someone falls down in a store, this could mean any number of things: Were they actually bending over to tie their shoes? Were they pushed by another person? Was it a staged ‘slip & fall’ to generate a fraudulent claim? Is the person having a legitimate medical emergency? How an organization responds in real-time is based on the timeliness and quality of the alert.”

Standard video security cameras supply images of shoppers entering the store to be checked against a database of known criminals or troublemakers. i-PRO offers a broad range of professional cameras for warehouses and retail stores. With the combination of an i-PRO camera and deep learning technology, users can quickly search images and automatically detect specific attributes of people or vehicles. The analytics technology eliminates the need for expensive analysis servers and lowers costs.

As well as security, these intelligent video systems can offer additional analysis functionality, such as identity recognition and people counting. Returning recognized shoplifters immediately trigger an alarm on entering the store. Pelco’s commercial camera security systems for retail and shopping centers use AI to send alerts notifying motion detection, abandoned objects and tampering so users can respond quicker to events. Pelco provides cameras for business and retail that perform occupancy counting and alert users of crowd formation through their integrated analytics suite.

Perimeter Protection Group: Firmly anchored bollards provide excellent...
Perimeter Protection Group: Firmly anchored bollards provide excellent protection against ‘ram-raiding’. Image: © PPG

Access Management for Overnight Deliveries

Speaking of disarmed periods, access management expert Brivo explains the risks and challenges associated with overnight deliveries, showing why digital solutions, such as mobile credentials, are becoming more prevalent. Such solutions enable managers to assign specific access rights to employees and external partners, who can then for example authenticate themselves via their smartphone and use it as a key to access buildings or certain areas.
Overnight deliveries are often conducted by logistics companies and third-party providers, whose drivers must have access to the building, storage or cold rooms outside of business hours. In the past, this was often handled with a high degree of trust. With service providers and drivers changing more and more frequently, the risk is no longer tenable for most business owners or decision-makers.

Robust access control is a vital key point for Salto for successful retail store security. With their system, users can define precisely who can enter or exit through which access points and at what times. Opening doors remotely from anywhere and replacing mechanical keys with mobile access, smart tags, key fobs, or PIN codes is very easy to realize.

Overnight Break-Ins at Retail Stores

Of course, theft happens not only when a shop is open – the cover of darkness and deserted streets inspire thieves to break into retail properties and fill their (probably stolen) vehicle with goods. Shopfront design and construction have come a long way in recent years and there are a number of ingenious methods of preventing, or at least delaying, unauthorized access through the front doors when the ‘Closed’ sign is hanging.

The first line of defense is the glass window itself, which nowadays can be almost impenetrable to bullets, pickaxes, sledgehammers and the like (i. e. Pilkington). The second tactic is the use of ‘street furniture’ which, in cooperation with the owners of the land immediately in front of the property, can provide protection against so-called ‘ram raiding’ while simultaneously enhancing the appearance of the street. What looks like heavy flower boxes can in fact be disguised bollards that are sunk into the ground below to stop any vehicle from going any further. Perimeter Protection Group operate internationally and have a range of vehicle prevention devices for every situation.

Electronic Article Surveillance

Under this heading fall RFID tags – tuned circuits that oscillate and emit a magnetic pulse or a radio frequency that is detected by receivers at the entrance/exit of the store. Century Europe have a range of discreet solutions suitable for various types of goods: electronic items, foodstuffs, health & beauty products, clothing etc. They can be applied to items during manufacture to save in-store effort with each new delivery. Striving to reduce costs for retailers, Nedap Retail offer a spectrum of RFID tags, with more or fewer features as required.

Smart Shelving

Combining inventory management, in-store analytics and loss prevention, the smart shelf technology of Imco looks after a number of tasks that your staff would otherwise have to do. The American company AWM manufactures innovative smart shelf systems that at first glance just make shopping easier for customers, but in the background provide shop owners with valuable, accurate and real-time data on their product lines.
A contactless shopping system called Frictionless has been developed by Flir. This utilizes the company’s own Blackfly camera systems and makes unattended shopping for smaller items a reality – a distinct advantage in these pandemic times.

These are just some of the retail security solutions that you might implement to prevent that nasty realization one day that your store has just become the latest statistic in an insecure world. We will probably never manage to make theft impossible, but the solutions mentioned above will make it much less attractive, both for determined and for casual thieves.

Business Partner

FLIR Systems, Inc.

27700 SW Parkway Avenue
Wilsonville, OR 97070
US

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