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The Future of Mixed-Use Retail Security: Harnessing the Power of Open Platform Video Management Systems

Where we office, where we eat with our family and friends, and even where we live is changing as mixed-use developments are expanding from urban cores to suburban neighborhoods. These growing spaces seamlessly blend modern residential, commercial, and recreational areas that enhance a new lifestyle experience for its residents and consumers. With that, the need for different styles of security measures has grown to adapt to the new challenges of mixed-use retail. In this article, we explore the challenges facing mixed-use retail security and delve into the potential of open platform video management systems (VMS) to revolutionize the industry.

The Security Challenges of Mixed-Use Retail

If you were to sit on a bench and watch the daily foot and vehicle traffic in mixed-use retail areas, you could easily see the unique security challenges. With walk-in businesses, drive-thru coffee huts, remote university campuses, residential units, and green spaces coexisting in the same city blocks, ensuring the safety of customers, residents, and assets becomes very complex. Taking a holistic approach to addressing the risk mitigation challenge is the correct path.

Some of the key challenges include:

  1. High foot traffic from residents and commuters alike: Mixed-use retail spaces attract a wide range of faces that are seen every day and shoppers that may be stopping in once a month. Managing and monitoring the influx of people with different intents requires a comprehensive security strategy that addresses every risk.
  2. Asset protection: With multiple businesses operating in close proximity, protecting assets, inventory, and intellectual property becomes crucial. Theft, vandalism, loitering, and other criminal activities pose significant risks, demanding efficient surveillance and security protocols.
  3. Emergency response management: Mixed-use retail spaces must be equipped to handle emergencies such as fire outbreaks, medical incidents, or natural disasters. Prompt identification, notification, and response are vital for ensuring public safety and minimizing potential damage.
  4. Privacy concerns: Balancing security with privacy rights of residents within a mixed-use environment can be challenging. Residents that own or lease apartments require the development to keep their area safe and may be wary of consumers stopping and loitering in front of residential areas. Retailers want their shoppers to have free access to their stores and parking to help make the retail experience enjoyable. Balancing these two competing needs requires security teams to use non-invasive security tactics like video analytics to help keep both residents and retailers happy.

Harnessing Open Platform Video Management Systems

A great way to think about this is to imagine an airplane cockpit. Pilots have access to thousands of systems to help with takeoff, landing, and flying the airplane all while managing any changes in the weather or how the aircraft is flying. Much like a cockpit, security operators can use an open platform VMS solution to handle all of the systems they are using to maintain safety through one dashboard of information. Open platform systems offer the unique ability to allow the security team to deploy different technologies to thwart the unique security issues for mixed-use retail but still provide a single VMS technology to integrate the systems together.

How do mixed-use operators create the airplane cockpit?

  • Integration and Collaboration: Open platform VMS allows for seamless integration with various security systems such as access control, visitor management, and video analytics. Data-sharing becomes simple with an open platform VMS to manage disparate data feeds and real-time notifications for frontline security members.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: One of the calling cards for mixed-use retail spaces is expansions, renovations, and modifications as people and businesses come and go. Open platform VMS solutions can effortlessly scale up or down to accommodate changing security requirements.
  • Centralized Management: Open platform VMS provides a centralized management interface, empowering security personnel to monitor multiple locations, cameras, and systems from a single platform. This unified view enhances situational awareness, streamlines operations, and simplifies incident response.
  • Advanced Analytics and AI: Analytics and AI for video systems can quickly be adopted to address needs that arise for security operators. Whether in the cloud or on-site, open platform VMS solutions allow operators to adopt these new technologies almost overnight without worrying about compatibility.
  • Collaborative Security Ecosystem: Open platform VMS fosters collaboration between different stakeholders within mixed-use retail developments, including residents, security personnel, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services.


Vibrant metropolitan areas in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s created mixed-use retail environments on their own. Developers are now re-creating this environment in the modern suburbs to help new entrants into the labor market, young families, and retirees streamline their lifestyle and provide a place where they can live, work, learn, and shop all in the same area. Open platform video management systems offer a transformative solution to address the unique security challenges faced by these dynamic spaces. By providing integration, scalability, flexibility, centralized management, and advanced analytics, open platform VMS empowers retailers to create secure environments that instill confidence in customers, residents, and stakeholders. Embracing this technology-driven approach will be pivotal in shaping the future of mixed-use retail security, ensuring safety, and enabling thriving, vibrant spaces for years to come.

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