Broadware Links with IBM for Retail Video Surveillance

Broadware Technologies is opening more doors for itself in the retail sector, and we're not talking access control.

The company announced today that its StoreSight video surveillance system had been validated to work with IBM retail network backbone, aka IBM's "Store Integration Framework" (SIF) platform.

The IBM SIF platform is a middleware system employed by enterprise retailers looking for holistic management of store operations. It's become a framework of choice for a number of larger retailers, and as that has happened, the IBM SIF partner list has continued to expand, from companies that handle order fulfillment, to RFID systems, and now, to video security systems. According to IBM's website there are 39 official solutions partners for the SIF program who have been tested for compatibility.

"It's essentially a set of standards so that applications like Broadware can integrate and communicate with other applications, all while using the IBM framework," explained Dennis Charlebois, the senior vice president for Broadware Technologies.

The move not only leverages IBM's sales force for Broadware's video solutions (IBM SIF sales staffers have been trained on Broadware's video solutions for retail), but the move signals how video security has become intrinsic to the core business systems for enterprise companies.

Charlebois credits the industry-wide move to IP-based systems with this sweeping change. He says that now that video has gone to IP, and now that it interfaces directly with business systems, companies are realizing that video isn't just security.

By moving to an IT-type management system for the video, says Charlebois, it's now possible to move data for a variety of uses. He notes that businesses are finding that they can push video to vendors paying for expensive end-cap placement who want to see what they're getting or look at the traffic patterns around their end-cap. And savvy users of surveillance video are also able to put the video in the hands of marketing analysts to examine how consumers are reacting to product displays.

Of course, the core of video in the retail environment still gets back to shoplifting, crime rings, accident/safety lawsuits, and problems like cashier "sweetheart" deals, and that's what Charlebois says his company's StoreSight video management system is designed to do best. Links with POS data systems, exception reports and other cashier sales data are still the core of how surveillance video finds value in the retail environment.

"The reality is that about 1 to 3 percent of a company's revenues are affected annually, either through a series of internal or external losses," says Charlebois.

But he says it's the company's open APIs that will allow a video system to find uses beyond simply recording images on a DVR. "From our perspective, it was a fairly easy integration to accomplish [becoming compatible with IBM's systems]," says Charlebois. "But it would not have been easy had our product not been designed from the ground up to openly integrate to those other types of products."

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