An independent research report commissioned by Axis Communications, the provider of network video solutions and conducted by the Centre for Retail Research, Nottingham (CRR) has revealed that the vast majority of retailers are considering a move to IP-based surveillance.
The report 'Retail use and experience of CCTV in the UK' examines the current and future use of CCTV in the UK's retail sector and shows that although more than three quarters (77.9 per cent) of the respondents still rely on analogue CCTV, 71.2 per cent (a high proportion of which are organisations with more than 100 stores) were planning to rollout network cameras that use their IT network or the Internet (known as IP surveillance) to access and share images.
Commenting on the report, Professor Joshua Bamfield from the CRR said: "The report clearly shows that many retailers are keen to maximise their investment in their surveillance system so that it can be used as more than just a loss prevention tool.
"Although analogue CCTV still dominates in this sector, retailers are obviously beginning to realise its limitations and appreciate the additional benefits an IP-based system can deliver."
Atul Rajput, retail business development manager, Northern Europe, Axis Communications said: "IP surveillance delivers a host of benefits for retailers. HDTV network video cameras provide clear, useable images which can be shared between stores quickly and easily. And, as the footage is digital, it is far easier to locate than the images captured by analogue systems. Retailers can also monitor activity in their stores remotely over the Internet, even via a handheld device, from anywhere in the world.
Where IP surveillance really shines over traditional analogue technology is that it is capable of far more than loss prevention and security as these systems are able to deliver real marketing and business intelligence.
Rajput said: "The report shows that a significant number of retailers are interested in business intelligence applications such as people counting and heat mapping solutions which can be embedded in network video cameras. This just isn't possible with analogue CCTV.
"These insights into consumer behaviour help retailers to plan staffing levels and optimise store layouts and this contributes to improving the bottom line and customer service."
Retailers who have already made a significant investment in analogue surveillance systems can create a hybrid system by introducing a video encoder which 'digitises' the images. Axis has worked with many large retailers throughout the world to successfully upgrade their surveillance systems to IP with minimal impact to their IT networks.