According to the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer, an annual industry study, missing goods from shoplifting and other causes cost U.S. retailers approximately $42 billion per year. Consumers are the ones who end up paying the price for the theft — roughly $403 annually per U.S. household, according to the same study.
Retailers are grappling with a broader range of threats today than even twenty years ago, and these challenges go well beyond preventing loss and increasing sales. More than ever, retailers face serious obstacles such as identity theft, organized crime, workplace violence, changing buyer behaviors and the challenge of reducing shrink.
However, addressing these issues isn’t always easy, which is why retailers are turning toward new technology advances to help address the changing nature of threats and build solutions that can not only protect employees and assets, but be utilized to enhance business intelligence and protect business continuity.
One way retail organizations are mitigating these risks is by deploying comprehensive, networked-enabled video surveillance that is integrated with access control, alarms and intelligent video applications such as video analytics, emergency response software and other systems.
To achieve the kind of video data that can support high-quality analytics and deliver superior video evidence for investigations, retailers are shifting their focus to omnidirectional cameras, such as those with 360-degree views.
Single-lens fisheye cameras get a full 360-degree image that needs to be “dewarped.” Multi-lens 360-degree cameras contain multiple lenses in one unit and images are stitched together to create a 360-degree image. With higher resolutions and more efficient dewarping/stitching technologies, these omnidirectional cameras will soon replace pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, which are widely used in the retail space today. Single lens fisheye cameras typically use less bandwidth and are less costly compared to multi-lens cameras.
Higher resolution sensors allow these multidirectional cameras to record superior images and deliver more situational awareness value to customers. Current PTZ technology only stores the video from what the camera sees; but with 360-degree cameras, multiple areas are monitored simultaneously for full situational awareness. The stored video includes the full 360-degree view, which can be accessed later for investigational purposes, even if an operator is only interested in a particular area within the whole range of view.
360-degree IP cameras are cost-effective because the solutions can provide a much larger coverage than narrow field-of-view (traditional) surveillance cameras. As the technology of these IP cameras improves, 360-degree video surveillance devices will become more affordable and see even greater sophistication with analytics, expanding the range of knowledge and information that retailers need about their businesses to optimize operations and accelerate sales growth.