European retailers jumping aboard IP video trend

If you're wondering where all those IP video surveillance cameras are going, you might want to check Europe's progressive retailers. That's the word from UK-based research firm IMS Research, which released a report last week indicating that European retails are rapidly adopting network video surveillance.

IMS put the installed base of network cameras in European retailers at 35,000 units for 2007, and the researchers said they would expect that number to increase significantly in the near future, topping 200,000 network cameras in European retailers by the year 2012.

Strong trends that IMS Research report author Paul Everett noted were:
- Power over Ethernet for powering cameras
- Using network technology to move each store's video to a centralized command center
- Adoption of megapixel video surveillance

The issue, said Everett, is that "retailers are always looking at new ways to improve business performance," and he said those trends had all proven to be cost-saving measures for tight-margin retailers. "The ability to monitor a large number of sites from one central location offers retailers further savings potential and is boosting growth in network video."

The research also pointed to possible future adoption of video analytics used for retailers' surveillance cameras. IMS noted that analytics could be used to detect slip-and-fall incidents and even for loss prevention, but the report noted that the most likely application would be for business sales analytics, a.k.a., business intelligence purposes.

"The retail sector is becoming increasingly competitive and so retailers are turning to video analytics to gain valuable insights into customer shopping behavior that can potentially increase sales, and to improve operational efficiency," wrote the researchers.