More and more surveillance camera systems are taking advantage of video analytics, which help to provide a better understanding of the areas being monitored. Whether they are added to your system via additional software or they are built-in to your security cameras, video analytics have advanced over time and deliver more practical and reliable performance.
Not only do video analytics improve overall security, but they can also provide valuable data for business intelligence. Here are some common and helpful video analytics functions and how they can benefit business.
When it comes to casinos, for example, facial recognition can be used to detect cheaters. On the other hand, it can also be used to detect high rollers for VIP attention, or to detect high profile shoppers in a retail setting.
For example, retail stores can use heat mapping to better understand the flow of traffic. Knowing which way customers tend to travel when they enter the store (straight, left, right) can help business owners create a better floor plan. They can identify merchandising areas for optimal product placement which can then lead to increased sales. In addition, the data collected allows management to determine the high volume shopping days and times for more effective staffing and product placements.
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When it comes to surveillance, there is a fine line between privacy and public safety. Because of this, surveillance laws are often scrutinized by both sides. A new bill was introduced at the end of 2016 which requires any local law enforcement agency in California that uses surveillance technology to submit a plan to local officials on how it uses equipment and information collected. This would need to include surveillance plans for any facial recognition software, drones, and even social media monitoring, and would be presented at an open hearing.
While this disclosure from law enforcement may put some worries at ease, others may want more. Privacy advocates believe that this is still not enough to cover spying equipment and technology that is continuing to evolve and expand. On the other side, law enforcement officials argue that creating plans and policies for each device may be unfeasible and interfere with investigations.
But state Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) says that it was introduced “to create transparency and a check and balance.” Without regulations on these devices and technology, they can easily be abused and infringe on our privacy rights.
With fairly comprehensive digital privacy laws, California has been actively working toward disclosure when it comes to law enforcement surveillance. State laws require a probable cause warrant for access to digital content and devices (ex. cell phones) and law enforcement must catalog information and make it publicly available.
The new bill gives agencies until July 1, 2018 to draft policies detailing all the types of surveillance technology used and the authorized reasons for using them, along with the types of data collected, who can access them, and a description of their training. It also prohibits an agency from acquiring new technology unless approved by local officials at a regularly scheduled public meeting.
Last year, two surveillance laws went into effect, one of which requires to draft and publicly post privacy and usage policies for operating automated license-plate recognition software. The other requires the same for the use of cell-site simulators (“Stingrays” or “Dirtboxes”). These are powerful tracking devices that function as fake cellphone towers to collect information. However, their ability to collect information from innocent people not under investigation has sparked outrage and court battles.
Despite current surveillance laws, privacy advocates believe that not all agencies are complying and that not enough is being done to ensure that they do. To evade the disclosure requirements, agencies could borrow technology from other federal agencies, which is not subject to state law.
In an effort to check compliance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other nonprofits and watchdog groups searched through numerous California government websites to make sure surveillance policies were posted. While many were easily located, policies for at least 90 agencies (which, based on public records, were believed to use surveillance technology) could not be found. Since this task in April 2016, more agencies have posted their policies online.
While the new bill is meant to be inclusive and comprehensive, concerns remain. Some worry that criminals may figure out how they are being tracked, others bring up issues of time sensitivity when it comes to buying or borrowing new technology, and privacy advocates are still skeptical about the cost, risks, and enforcement.
There are obviously mixed feelings about this new bill, and other surveillance laws. What are your views? Share your thoughts and opinions with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
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Loss prevention tactics began with in-store monitoring and patrol. As our technologies evolve and the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, security measures have improved. In fact, a U.S. retail fraud survey revealed that spending on store fraud prevention declined while online fraud prevention spending increased.
Because cybercriminals are constantly sharpening their skills, loss prevention specialists are using new technologies to their advantage as well. For example, data analytics have helped specialists understand suspicious behaviors and patterns in the e-commerce and m-commerce environment, and social media vigilance has helped to identify potential threats.
As the retail industry continues to expand and grow, what’s to come in the future of retail loss prevention?
It’s true that retail uses a variety of different technologies to operate, including point-of-sale transaction profiling as well as RFID tracking. However, now more than ever, video surveillance is playing a larger and smarter role.
With video surveillance, loss prevention officers have been able to catch thieves in the act and the recordings have provided excellent evidence. With the introduction of built-in facial recognition technology and video analytics, video surveillance can do so much more.
In the same vein, the smart features, connectivity and convenience put these devices at risk. While their role is to protect the business, retailers must do their part to protect their devices, data, shoppers, and employees.
IT & Outside Vendors
Because of this, loss prevention specialists must develop their knowledge and skills with the new technology. They should understand how to use data analysis to identify ever-changing criminal activities, such as new ideas, concepts and schemes.
Loss prevention specialists, cybersecurity specialists and IT team members must all work together to create a system that complies with privacy issues and maintains heightened security to prevent any data breaches or disasters.
Development Of New Responsibilities
As retailers begin to shift from their brick-and-mortar stores (some even closing completely) to focus on e-commerce and m-commerce, the role of data loss prevention specialists will morph into something new, which encompasses more aspects involved in keeping a company safe and secure.
What are your thoughts on the future of retail and loss prevention? Share your predictions and opinions with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!
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