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Setting up shop

13 March 2018

Ian Farr takes a look at the emerging CCTV technology that is protecting retail premises.

AS A security distributor, it is of vital importance that we have solutions available for any task that is sent our way by our customers. The key to this is offering interchangeable, compatible and scalable solutions that will work together to offer ardent protection in varying situations. 

It is rare to find two retail locations that pose exactly the same challenges with the need to find solutions that can protect everything from small-spaces and dark environments to large open spaces that require attention on all areas at all times.

The focal point of any retail site is, and always will be, the shop floor and internal area as this is the area of the site where most incidents occur. Customer theft in this area cost the UK retail a whopping £438million in 2016, accounting for 75% of retail crime incidents and 66% of the direct cost of retail crime that year, Employee theft is also a massive issue in retail; accounting for £13million of damage a year. 

It is important then, that any CCTV equipment provides a clear and crisp image with the capability to zoom into certain aspects of an image. The CVP9324DNIR-IP4M-Z is ideal for fulfilling this purpose and providing 24-hour monitoring of isles, tills and any intricate feature of a shop floor. This camera is complete with motorised zoom, meaning that if a Concept Pro NVR is installed with this camera, the zoom function can be used remotely via the NVR to zoom in and out on an incident. This gives the end-user the capability to identify customer theft as it happens and take immediate action. These cameras are discreet and incredibly easy to install. Advanced Infrared Technology also features on these fixed domes, offering clear, crisp images even in challenging This ensures that 24-hour protection is offered, even after closing. 

Monitoring tills

Monitoring tills can be a challenge due to the need for a solution that provides cover of an entire scene with limited space to install multiple cameras. From a single, ultra-wide angle lens the camera can transmit a 360˚ image of a scene and then display up to seven separate images using its virtual PTZ feature, its high definition footage allows a user to easily interrogate all aspects of an area.  

A commonplace feature of retail sites in the modern age has been Public Viewing Monitors (PVM) positioned at shop entrances and in the vicinity of self-serve facilities. Usually, these monitors are linked to a nearby camera; the footage from this camera will then be displayed by the PVM in a show of strength to consumers and an attempt to dissuade them from committing crime. 

An AHD camera can display live footage on-screen and an IP camera that sends footage back to an NVR, allowing the monitor to serve two purposes and actually act as one of the cameras used in a CCTV system. Their housing design means consumers easily notice. By offering PIP/POP support, simultaneous camera footage and advertisements can be displayed. 

The external area and warehouse and distribution area of a retail site are both considerable hubs of activity, mainly due to the high volume of movement of staff and products in, out and around the building. It is important then, that every aspect of a retail site’s warehouse or backroom facility is monitored ardently. 

During operating hours, a multi-view range of cameras would suit this kind of large, open space perfectly. They can feature up to eight individual sensors positioned around the camera head, each sensor records footage individually at three Megapixels continuously. This footage can then stitched together using OPSES’ purpose-built License Free VMS Software to provide a high-quality 360˚ image. Every area is constantly monitored by the OPSES and its intuitive interface allows those monitoring it to tap into each individual sensor’s footage while the other seven are still recording and view an aspect of the footage in closer detail. 

Whereas previously several High Speed Domes would be used to monitor a large area in detail now only one camera is needed, minimizing installation and maintenance time. Another brilliant technical feature of is its ability to operate effectively in low-light conditions, all the way down to 0.001 Lux, at distance. 

Thermal imaging cameras

To make a retail site’s defence even more fool proof, an end user can opt to use a thermal imaging camera, which can come complete with intuitive technology on a compatible VHDIP recorder. Using internal recorder settings, a thermal camera can be configured in a number of ways. 

One way it can be configured to operate would be with the use of a Maximum Temperature setting that is ideal for detecting fire or worrying levels of heat. Once configured with the recorder, the user can set a max temperature and should changes in the image indicate that this temperature has been bypassed the recorder can be set up to alert whoever is monitoring the system directly or choose an appropriate response to the issue. Thermal imaging can also be set up to alert someone when changes in a recorded image occur, making the thermal range ideal for out of hours alerts should the worst happen. 

A large issue surrounding retail applications has always been finding solutions that are ardent and reliable both during hours and after hours, a solution to this issue can be found with the arm/disarm function, available on both IP and AHD recorders. This function allows a user to reduce the number of false alarms they receive. Arm/disarm allows a user to select when alarms will be triggered in their system,

For example, a system set up monitoring a shop floor that is open from 9:00am until 5:00pm will expect a lot of movement during open hours and no movement at all out of these hours. The system can be armed during hours where no movement is expected and disarmed when it is, meaning that any alarms that come through will be relevant and may require action, as opposed to a multitude of false alarms coming through in conjunction with genuine issues. 

The new range of Concept Pro PTZs provides an excellent solution to combat issues posed by nightfall and large, open areas. Offering up to 30x zoom and 360˚ per second rotation, these cameras can be set up to run a specified pre-set tour, covering up to 255 pre-defined positions. Allowing for a tour on any external area, such as a car park, requiring specific monitoring of a large area. 

Additionally, these cameras operate fantastically after hours. Offering astounding low-light capability, allowing for clear imagery down to 0.002 lux. With up to eight alarm inputs in the head of the PTZ, this camera is compatible with Motion Detectors and PIRs; meaning that if a motion detection alarm goes off after hours, the PTZ can then focus on the area it has been triggered in promptly and capture an incident within its field of view. 

Access control

Access control is vital for perimeter security in retail sites, chiefly due to the potential for large amounts of cash being stored on site and the large amount of valuable products also available. It is important that access to warehouses and backrooms are restricted to staff only. Using Snap, Click, Done technology, these systems are incredibly simple to install and maintain and is also cost effective to upgrade. It operates using blade-based technology, using a Multi-Blade Controller and a blade controlling two doors, the multi-blade controller can support the connection of up to eight doors and is powered via PoE or a separate power supply 

High Definition footage allows for the detection of crime and also the accurate recording and storage of footage that may require interrogation leading on from its original capture, such as footage displaying any health and safety claims lodged. The clarity of the recording means that any claims received can be interrogated in extreme detail, any slips trips and falls can be seen clearly and any foul play can be spotted, saving companies thousands of pounds in settling false claims out of court and ensuring that correct processes are being followed in store.

Ian Farr is technical director at Videcon

Concept Pro has multiple compatible solutions for retail installs and as is the case industry wide, versatility is key. You can contact Videcon, the home of Concept Pro on 01924 528000 or email sales@videcon.co.uk for more details.