March Networks Shows How a Meter of Orange Plastic Tape Could Change Your Security Business

Dealers use a simple prop of tape to help configure March Networks’ new Searchlight 4 system that delivers metrics on sales performance, wait times, and buying habits for retailers as part of a CCTV video surveillance system.

It’s not often a 1 meter-long strip of orange plastic tape can help integrators open up an entirely new market. But that is exactly what the orange plastic accessory that comes with March Networks’ video-based intelligence solution called Searchlight 4 does.

The tape is an important physical prop used by integrators to configure the analytics of the Searchlight 4 system with the same finger pinch/spread action that we all use to shrink or enlarge images on a tablet computer every day. In the end, custom integrators are bringing an efficiency solution to retail stores that goes WAY behind being just a CCTV camera systems for security purposes.

Introduced in January but shown at ISC West 2015 this week, March Networks’ new video-based business intelligence solution helps retailers elevate the sales performance of retail store clients and drive profitability in an increasingly competitive landscape. Searchlight 4 provides retailers with the valuable insights they need to improve customer service, marketing and operations, as well as loss prevention and security, across a few or hundreds of locations. 
A majority of retailers have invested significantly in video surveillance to enhance security. Many forward-thinking organizations have also integrated their video with point-of-sale (POS) transaction data to gain powerful loss prevention and investigation capabilities. New Searchlight4 extends the value of that visual and transaction data by combining it with business analytics that deliver relevant information to operations, marketing and customer service groups. Using Searchlight’s browser-based dashboard, retail teams can run customized reports in just minutes – allowing them to analyze and compare store performance and customer behaviors, identify trends and discover new opportunities for improvement.

Customer Service, Conversions and Workforce Optimization

Most retail organizations are working hard to both provide customers with exceptional service and optimize their workforce strategies. In one recent survey, only 3 percent of retailers said their defined customer experience is executed consistently in every store every day, while another study noted that in-store sales increase by an estimated 25 percent to 50 percent when customers are helped by a knowledgeable retail associate. Long lines are also an area of focus, as consumers are willing to wait just five minutes on average before they abandon a purchase and leave the store.

Searchlight helps retailers address these critical areas using the integrated data, including reliable analytics from the new March Networks MegaPX Indoor Analytics Dome IP camera. A people-counting analytic allows retailers to determine conversion rates and run site-by-site comparisons, for example, and then review the integrated video for further analysis.

A queue length monitoring analytic also provides useful data, allowing retailers to adjust staffing schedules to optimize the customer experience. That’s where the orange tape comes in. After an integrator sets up the camera, he takes the 1 meter strip of tape and physically places on the floor in the area where customers line up in a queue to buy merchandise, according to Dan Cremins, director of product management at March Networks.

Then, the integrator simply goes to the systems GUI and using the finger-pinching motion on screen, he adjusts the video analytics to match the 1 meter strip on the floor. In less than 3 minutes of processing time, the system is now tuned to monitor for human movement.

So, for retailers, the video analytic will be able to determine how fast the customer line is moving. It not only enables the retail manager to determine staffing levels but when tied in with the POS system, it can provide metrics on average sales tickets determined by wait times.

In the end, by installing one camera, dealers could be boosting performance that could make the difference between profitability and insolvency for a retailer. Tommy Bahama, the island-inspired clothing retailer, has the system in 130 stores. The company reports it has reduced its investigation times of recorded video by more than 90 percent in the six months since deployment. The system creates custom reports showing all “voids” at the register and cash refunds. The visual evidence is combined with the transactional data to check for anomalies and for use in prosecution.

In addition, Searchlight’s operations audit report provides daily snapshot images taken from sites at pre-determined times, enabling regional managers to quickly see if stores have opened on time or if there is no associate on the floor at certain times of the day.

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About the Author


Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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