Video surveillance has always been an essential component of loss prevention. Today, nearly 90% of retailers use digital video recorders and more than 70% employ live, customer-visible closed circuit TV (CCTV) to keep an eye on their stores.
But as loss prevention becomes more complex–new fraud schemes, increased lawsuit risks, and higher-value merchandise to lift–retail, restaurant, and other business owners are looking for ways to evolve their surveillance systems for greater visibility and insights while staying mindful of their budgets.
Camera manufacturers and other loss prevention hardware providers have introduced a wealth of new products to market, aiming to shed more light on customers’ and employees’ behaviors in the store—a business analytics segment projected to climb to near $1.5 billion by 2021—to give business leaders more actionable, real-time intelligence for reducing loss, improving customer experiences, and boosting the bottom line.
The influx of new high-definition IP-based camera systems and upgraded high-def analog cameras bring a host of new capabilities to business owners’ and operators’ daily activities. Specifically, they extend visibility across stores and integrate with POS and other transactional systems that help analyze the behaviors and decision-making of in-store customers, while continuing to deter theft and fraud.
But as video (and even audio) technologies improve, it’s imperative that the systems behind the hardware–loss prevention and operations management software platforms–continue to evolve to help business owners get the biggest return from new and existing investments.
So, how do IP and HD analog systems stack up? And how can you be sure your software provider is supporting your business needs now and into the future? Let’s take a look.
Chasing the wave with IP cameras
Just as businesses are transforming their IT systems and networks through web-based applications, the same is now possible with video surveillance—specifically, IP cameras.
An IP camera is a digital video camera that operates via a computer network. Instead of sending images to a digital video recorder (DVR), IP cameras work off a network video recorder (NVR) hooked up to your local area network (LAN).
An NVR is basically a software program that allows you to connect, power up, and stream video from multiple IP cameras off a single switch, thus cutting down on cables and complicated wiring. Businesses that install IP cameras can achieve greater capability and flexibility in their surveillance systems, allowing them to:
- See more and see it clearly. In addition to excellent video quality, IP video cameras are able to capture a wider view—covering dimensions that would have typically required multiple analog cameras to record.
- Learn more. IP cameras can detect everything from motion to camera tampering to objects that go missing, but they can also zero in on customer behaviors to gain insight into shopping interactions, purchasing decisions, and even traffic patterns.
- Access anytime from anywhere. Using any web-based device, operators can view camera footage in real-time, access the data, and download recordings, enabling them to take quick action and fine-tune processes without having to physically be on the premises.
- Operate with less. Because more IP cameras can be connected to a single PoE (Power over Ethernet) switch, less hardware and wiring are required. And the need for a separate power source is virtually eliminated.
- Earn a high ROI. While the cost to procure is initially higher than a traditional camera, the capability of one IP camera equals that of multiple analog cameras, requiring less investment in the cameras themselves and power sources over time.
Upgrading traditional systems with HD analog
Not everyone has a need yet for the advanced features of IP cameras, but businesses are still seeking a higher-quality experience without having to take on the cost of a new system.
Most traditional video surveillance systems rely on analog cameras and DVRs to record, store, and play back video footage, measuring resolution in pixels and requiring coax cabling to hook up. But the downside has always been a grainier picture with a less-than-desirable user experience.
With the introduction of HD analog video cameras, all of that is changing. HD analog enables businesses to:
- Dramatically improve picture quality. HD analog cameras can record in 720p high definition. This kind of megapixel resolution using analog technology affords a top-of-the-line picture quality and viewing experience without a complete system overhaul.
- Use existing systems. With the addition of an HD DVR, HD analog cameras run off standard coax cabling and power sources. The cameras can be incorporated right into your existing system and installed relatively easily.
- Heighten security. HD analog cameras work well when installed at face height near entrances and exits—both indoor and outdoor.
- Keep costs low. Because HD analog cameras cost less than IP cameras and fit into the traditional systems many businesses already have, the initial upfront cost to adopt and install the technology is low.
Software support for either system
Many retail, restaurant, and convenience store operators choose standard definition (SD) analog camera systems over IP systems for monitoring their stores, compromising for lower quality audio and video in exchange for lower costs. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Both IP and HD analog cameras represent the next level in surveillance capability and quality. DTT’s support of both HD Analog and IP systems through the MyDTT Enterprise Management Portal gives restaurant and retail owners and operators the ability to choose the video and audio quality that meets the needs of their business, without breaking the bank.
Cost-conscious operators can take advantage of HD Analog solutions by simply reusing existing SD analog cabling while upgrading the fidelity of their live and recorded video streams. Those interested in capturing best in class picture quality to spot the smallest details (even at night), can opt for a high-quality IP system.
Regardless of the system, each is backed by DTT’s flexible, comprehensive loss prevention platform that marries enhanced video with other insights to:
- Mitigate risk from guest complaints and worker’s compensation claims
- Deter fraud, theft, or other criminal activity and reinforce safety practices
- Monitor employee behavior for enhanced customer service, increased productivity, and bigger sales.
Learn more about how DTT’s IP and HD analog camera offerings can protect and enhance your business. Contact us today for a free demo and quote.
By Nadia Adnan, DTT Director of Strategic Initiatives