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How Integrators Can Increase Their Value Via Video Data Collection

Many new cameras now come with video analytics built in. Here’s how integrators can begin utilizing them.

To go along with our March feature on Big Data, SSI asked Scott Roberts, sales manager of Setronics, a Massachusetts-based provider of custom integrated security solutions, to share some insights on bringing data collection and analytics to clients.

Are you seeing an increased demand from end users for video data collection capabilities?

We’ve been introducing the solution to our retail clients and the reception has been very mixed. They either are completely onboard or they’re not even interested. It’s interesting to observe the clients who are looking into it. They’re very technology focused and realize the efficiencies that can come from it. Our clients who are not interested continue to manage their efficiencies using proven methods that have provided them the results they come to expect. Introducing new technologies becomes a painful conversation to someone resistant to change.

What types of analytics are most desired?

People counting and dwell times. We’re primarily using this in retail where our clients can make changes in real-time to address a situation at the location. For example, dwell time can be used at the registers to alert store personnel if customer wait time exceeds two minutes. Another area where dwell time data is used would be at a product display station, capturing and correlating a consumers time spent in front of the display with a product selection or no selection. Depending on the resulting data, a retailer can then tweak a marketing campaign or product placement to achieve a higher selection conversion rate.

How can integrators stay on top of the latest technologies, their capabilities and bring value to the end user?

It’s relatively easy to stay current with this solution. Most IP camera manufacturers now include analytics at the camera, for ones that do not have the analytics at the camera the software manufacturer can offer it at the head end. Either way the software is doing the work. Before we deploy a data collection solution we bring our software vendor and the end user together to ensure they understand what the expectations are, how data is being collected and stored and the end results met the expectation of providing actionable information.

What skillsets and expertise can the integrator bring to their client’s IT/security directors to make their lives easier?

The best skillset is service. If you can service them the way they like and help reduce headaches you’ll have happy clients who are not looking to make a move. A good secondary skillset is the ability to provide timely and professional installations. Another great skillset is our subject matter expertise, where we are able to advise clients on different solutions available that fit their business strategies. Because we’re installing these systems daily, we have far more knowledge than our clients. Our clients lean on us regularly to ensure they are making choices that complement systems and methods that are already in place.

What do you see as the most notable technologies and capabilities the manufacturer community has brought to market recently in this area?

Most notable to us is the inclusion of analytics at the camera by most of the major CCTV manufacturers. Features like line crossing, direction of travel and dwell time are routinely being included in the camera. We’ve also seen an uptick in facial recognition technologies being used to identify known shoplifters as the shoplifters are entering the store. Once identified, the system sends a real-time alert to designated personnel.

How do you envision the future of data collection?

I see this as an emerging market, even though it’s been around for quite some time. IP camera costs continue to fall to more affordable levels and analytic technology improves year over year, practically daring the end user not to look [at it]. Forward-thinking companies can easily see the value of collecting the information as part of an overall strategy for higher growth through leaner operations. Collecting the who, what, where, how many, how long, etc. … provides the end user real-time actionable information they can use to tweak operations and squeeze a few more percentage points. For some, each percentage point can equal millions of dollars annually for a single location.

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