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Salient Systems



Value Beyond Security

Author: Maggie Shein, published on Security Magazine

Security leaders and enterprises across the board are finding further value in their security technology with today’s analytics. With the speed at which analytics continue to improve and become available, big data within security technology knows no limit.

Retail and entertainment sectors, in particular, are already using data from security cameras, video management systems, and analytics to improve efficiencies and interactions, as well as use data to further enhance metrics and productivity across the enterprise. When the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality, many business leaders tapped into their existing security technology to add further value by improving and creating COVID-19 response with occupancy detection, crowd or people counting, temperature screenings, and more.

But there’s a catch. While it can be relatively simple to grab cursory data and tap into top-level analytics to provide some meaningful metrics to the enterprise, it’s only simplified if you think ahead. “The one thing that’s very interesting in this space is the evolution in video surveillance and the ability for analytics to be modeled very, very quickly. They can become available very easily, but in order for companies to tap into those and quickly adapt to changing environments, global events, pandemics, even new technologies to fit the future needs of their companies, they need to think ahead and deploy open data platforms so that they can do all of those things,” says Grant Cowan, Director of Key Accounts at Salient Systems. In other words, open platform technology, as opposed to proprietary, gives organizations more freedom to deploy future solutions and technologies without being tied to limited options or complicated retrofits.

When designing security solutions, programs and technologies for use within your enterprise, it’s imperative to think into the future. With open data platforms, whether analytics, video management systems and more, organizational leaders can identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities within their departments or the enterprise and more quickly adapt to address these issues quickly by being able to deploy solutions and technologies that are the best fit for them.

“It’s really important to think about how your technologies can fit in with the future needs of your company,” Cowan says.

In the past, in the retail and entertainment spaces, security programs used video surveillance for loss prevention, asset protection, handling video investigations, etc. Of course, those applications are still extremely relevant and important today, but organizations can also use their video cameras and video management system for so much more, including retail marketing, merchandising performance, traffic flow, customer interactions, and employee efficiency.

“Retail and entertainment customers have this asset recording onsite 24/7, and there is big data there that they can mine for so much more information,” Cowan says.

In the retail space, for example, Cowan says many retailers are already using data from single cameras to analyze traffic flow, customer interactions, and the length of time consumers are looking at displays or endcaps.

“We are seeing retailers get even more granular than that and look at who is looking at particular areas, for example. Is it men or women? Older or younger? That kind of analysis is easy to put together right now,” Cowan says. Eventually, he adds, the retail sector will move toward bigger comparisons of this data, comparing different displays, stores and even regions.  “We definitely see data mining of video to provide those larger comparisons for retailers to compare merchandising, setups and more among their brands or company.”

In the entertainment and sports venue sector, security leaders and organizations are using their video surveillance data for much for than investigations as well. Many stadiums and venues have spent the past year and a half looking at COVID-19 response and how technology can help these sites reopen to near capacity or full capacity.

Entertainment venues are using video surveillance to look at crowd control and capacity, and those very data points can be used in many other ways to streamline customer interactions and maximize sales and profits.

“Cameras are capturing every interaction in a stadium,” Cowan says. “I liken it to being able to review a coach’s tape. Security teams and other departments can go back and review video and understand how many customers walked into the team store and right back out because the line was maybe too long. We can take a look and see if customers are leaving the concessions line to get back to the game, turning away potential sales.” 

Organizations can view this data in real-time as well to make on-the-fly adjustments to staffing or respond to an incident to provide the best customer experience possible.

For security and organization executives across the enterprise, the important point to remember is that the data is already out there today, and most organizations know how to use the data. The exciting potential exists in continuing to mine that data and use it across the enterprise in meaningful, valuable ways beyond single applications or sites and even beyond security.

With open platforms, data mining will eventually enable analytics to go further than just residing in a single application or VMS, but rather be able to flow that data to the other platforms across departments such as operations, merchandising and marketing. 

“That’s where it’s all going and if organizations can use video and other data as a supporting tool that flows into these other platforms to tell a bigger picture or the entire story, then that’s valuable,” Cowan says.