After having a chance to walk the expo floor at this year's NRF Loss Prevention Conference, it's apparent that manufacturers are looking beyond traditional merchandise tags and surveillance cameras for out-of-the-box solutions that not only aid retail security, but business operations in general.
Many of the video analytic innovations that we have seen offered in the CCTV industry are being put to use in the retail sector in the form of point-of-sale fraud detection and people counting solutions. There are also plenty of physical security solutions on display at this year's show.
One company that really stood out on the show floor with its anti-smash-and-grab solution was Canadian-based FlashFog. The company, which was established over five years ago, has designed a product that uses a glycol-based fog and accompanying strobe light to ward off burglars. According to Alfredo Arias, the company's executive director, the deployment of FlashFog systems mainly began in gun stores, but has now spread to other retailers in nearly 20 different countries looking for a better way to protect high-end merchandise. Arias added that a small deployment will run about $2,500, with medium-sized ones costing anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000.
Known for their ability to catch "sweetheart" cashiers, those who allow customers to leave the store without paying for merchandise, StopLift was at the show demoing its checkout vision system technology. According to StopLift CEO Malay Kundu, a retailer's existing cameras are used by the company's solution to detect if a cashier has properly scanned an item for purchase. Kundu said that the StopLift solution has been used by a large, New England-based retailer, as well as several companies in the UK and South Africa. The company also recently launched a new webpage devoted to the "Sweetheart of the Month" in which an actual clerk is caught in the act using the solution. For more information, visit www.stoplift.com/sweetheart.
Best Security Industries (BSI), a provider of electronic article surveillance and CCTV solutions for the retail industry, announced the launch of its new Smart Shield EAS solution at the show on Monday. As opposed to antenna pedestals that have been mainstays of the anti-shoplifting security, BSI President and CEO Stephen Hall said that Smart Shield is the first system to use RFID technology to invisibly protect an area. Not only does it clean up store entrances, Smart Shield also uses a camera to record incidents that trigger an alarm.
Dri Mark Products
A maker of the original Counterfeit Money Detector Pen, Dri Mark Products is introducing a new dual test pen at the show. New to the pen is a UV light that enables cashiers to see the micro-printed strip in all $5 through $100 bills. The UV light can also be used to detect special markings on credit and identification cards. The new pen will be available in Office Depot and Staples stores starting in July.
Another company marrying data with video surveillance at the point-of-sale is Agilence. Using the company's Hawkeye solution, retailers can determine if their cashiers are being honest. According to Derek Rodner, the company's vice president of marketing, Agilence has added two new features to Hawkeye for this year's show including advanced analytics that check for cashier "sweet hearting" and human presence for refund fraud. Rodner said the latter of these features is important for retailers because it doesn't allow a cashier to return an item fraudulently without someone actually being at the register for a return.
Offering a full range of solutions for the retail industry, systems integrator ADT announced that it is adding a new alarming tag to its line of anti-theft products. The new Alarming SuperTag, which is compatible with Ultra-Max anti-theft systems, features a small speaker that emits an alarm if someone attempts to remove the tag or leave the store with the merchandise. In addition to its new tag, ADT is also showcasing several of its video services at the show. Lee Pernice, director of retail marketing for ADT, said that the company has seen an increase in interest for its video services, which include video alarm verification, remote guard tours, delivery assistance and escorts.
Though they are traditionally know for their EAS products, USS Corporation is showcasing its new CCTV division at the show. Formed earlier this year, USS Corporation's new CCTV division is a turnkey provider of surveillance system design, installation and service and has more than 350 certified technicians and project managers. According to Steve Watson, the company's vice president of CCTV, the new division is focused specifically on the retail industry and does not push one vendor's technology over another. Thus far, Watson said the company has customers whose systems range from a $3,000 solution to over $100,000.