Is cloud-based video management a fit for retail physical security? Here’s when it makes sense…
A multi-location retail security solution typically comes down to two components: (1) use hardware and software to prevent loss and (2) make it cost effective. In the past, these two needs have pushed against one another — the more effective the loss prevention, the higher the price of the hardware, software and services needed.
Now, with the adoption of cloud solutions for physical security these two targeted needs are becoming more closely aligned. In other words, the best technology is improving effectiveness and getting less expensive in certain scenarios.
Are cloud-based solutions right for your enterprise? Brian Freeman, National Sales Manager with Prime Communications Inc. (PCI), said it depends. “Using cloud applications for physical retail security is not right for everyone. The common belief is that everybody’s doing everything in the cloud, but there is a point where the technology is prohibitive based on the size of the deployment.”
This article discusses the benefits of cloud-based video management for physical retail security, explains how it works, and provides three scenarios to help you visualize how such a system might be used in your operation.
What exactly is cloud-based physical security?
Until recently, most multi-location retail enterprises with IP based security systems placed security hardware and software on premise, sometimes with monitoring capabilities at a central location where staff could analyze footage. The hardware consisted of a standalone server and hardwired cameras for each store. Some retail operations integrated cameras with access control platforms and/or facial recognition software.
This kind of retail security system can be expensive, especially when hardware is needed for hundreds of locations. It’s tempting to buy cheap hardware to get the capital expense as low as possible. However, as Freeman points out, “It’s true what they say about getting what you pay for, and repair needs are more likely and more frequent when you settle for less-expensive equipment.”
He explained, “When there are problems with surveillance on location, you may need Level I tech support for repair, you have to wait for the provider to send a technician out on a truck, which means a trip charge and an hourly rate.” Multiply that by a percentage of stores that need this service annually, plus the cost of regular maintenance and replacement of hardware in all stores, and the cost can add up very quickly.