Retail Roundup: Add Value to the Channel

Better business intelligence is the solution that sells

Rogers said that video surveillance as a service is 24/7 real-time detection and resolution service. "There are companies today that offer video surveillance as a service. This service helps reduce guard costs and improves guard coverage because they can do analytics/audits as a service with archived video. Other necessary components include integrating rules-based exceptions on a point of sale and integrating that software with video. When that happens the auditor would be alerted to a transaction that fits within that exception and examines the transaction, what took place before, during and a short period of time after it. That type of audit is used to detect them and address training needs."

He added that while exception reporting has been around for some time, with video it's new and more efficient. "It also provides a visual record of the incident as well as records for potential liability."

Find the right niche for national accounts

Integrators have witnessed the challenges of the marketplace. One perfect example comes from Midstate Security, based in Grandville, Mich., led by David Nemmers, owner and president.

Spartan Stores Inc. is a leader in the food distribution industry which owns and operates 122 supermarkets, pharmacies and fuel stations in Michigan. It came to Midstate Security needing video surveillance but also had to meet Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations for information security. According to the PCI Security Standards Council, the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is designed to provide a working framework for developing a robust payment card data security process-including prevention, detection and appropriate reaction to security incidents. Retailers and others who comply with the PCI DSS can convey to their customers that their sensitive payment card information is secure and confident.

"PCI compliance was critical to this customer and also provides a springboard to other potential customers requiring this solution," said Kevin VandeGuchte, Midstate's director of Business Development.

One of the standard's requirements is to continually monitor the area around servers that process customer credit card data, to identify people who had access to the servers. "To meet the requirement, we needed to store 90 days of video, with fluid motion and clear picture quality for positive identification," VandeGuchte said. Midstate was able to come up with a solution that addressed both the compliance issue and also, the long term loss prevention needs, according to VandeGuchte, and the time was right to move from its existing CCTV system to an IP-based platform that would reduce total cost of ownership and overhead and increase system flexibility and ease of use. "Not only were we able to meet the compliance regulations needs, but we reduced management overhead, freed up time for central security officers to monitor real-time video and also achieved capabilities to improve merchandising and planning," he said.

Staving off false alarms for national retail accounts

Vector Security also developed a value-add to its program with its national retail accounts. The company, based in Pittsburgh, and through its Compliance Manager Jim Simons, Manassas, Va., has been working on a facet to its national accounts program. The company helps national accounts with compliance laws, which they may have a tough time keeping up with. "These actually bleed store profits, one small cut at a time," Simons said, "by imposing stiff fines and penalties of up to $1,000 per occurrence." The Vector Security program is aimed at saving retailers money, reducing or eliminating false alarm penalties, assuring 100 percent compliance and helping their national accounts achieve peace of mind. The company has about 120 national account customers.

The National Compliance Service Program, now in its second year, overall has helped those enrolled in the Vector program reduce false alarms by some 52 percent since its onset.

"More and more municipalities are enacting ordinances that make it illegal to operate an alarm system without a permit," added Simons. "It is generally the customer's responsibility to get the permit, but we offer the program to help our customers with the fundamentals because it's getting more complicated all the time. It is the customer's responsibility to get the permit, but we offer the program to assist with it, especially if they have multiple stores to get the fundamentals in place. Compliance is getting more complicated all the time; new jurisdictions are coming on with new rules and it's hard for national accounts customers to keep up with it all. We act as a bridge between the two; we take these issues off their plate so their loss prevention teams can focus on retail shrink and other areas."