Top 4 benefits for retailers migrating their video security to the cloud

Gratiela Dumitrica, July 21 2021
3 mins

The retail sector has experienced the most challenging year yet. In the UK, the British Retail Consortium’s Chief Executive, Helen Dickinson, called 2020 the worst year on record, as non-food physical retail saw sales fall by a quarter compared to 2019. In this new reality, retail businesses need to shift their priorities, understand their challenges, and find better, more performant solutions to delight customers, resecure their loyalty, and increase sales. 

This year, Ava Security conducted a survey to better understand the retail video security trends and challenges experienced by merchandisers in the US, UK, and Nordics. The study uncovered findings that show how many in the retail industry deployed video analytics capabilities, including social distancing, people counting, observation of one-way systems, and mask-wearing among staff and customers throughout all work premises.

Video security as a service (VSaaS) can help. A VSaaS solution like Ava Cloud Video Security can reduce the total cost of ownership for existing video security systems. Almost 50% of retailers included in this study confirmed additional budget allocated to migrate more IT applications into the Cloud. It is also easy to configure and use by non-IT people and also integrates with third-party security cameras and existing systems, allowing them to leverage previous investments. 

Read on to discover more about these benefits and how they can change your retail business.

1. Lower total cost of ownership

Our study showed that nearly three-quarters (74%) of retailers were facing budget cuts affecting video security system upgrade plans. VSaaS can help retail businesses dealing with shrinking budgets. In order to calculate the total cost of ownership for an on-premises deployment, retailers need to take into account: 

  • security cameras
  • digital network recorder hardware
  • video management system licensing/subscription 
  • support plans
  • electricity
  • installation, maintenance, insurance, repairs
  • electricity
  • IT audits and reporting

In comparison, a cloud-based video security solution dramatically lowers the initial installation costs and the maintenance and repair costs. It records video directly on the cameras and/or directly into the cloud, thus enabling retailers to remove the recording hardware. With a VSaaS solution, software and firmware updates are automatic and always included, making the system easier to maintain. It also increases flexibility because it will always be easy to deploy to a new location with cloud security cameras.

2. Integrates with existing third-party cameras and systems

Over 90% of those retailers considering VSaaS right now agreed with the statement ‘[the selected VSaaS provider] must allow us to continue using our existing third-party cameras which we have already installed; we don’t want to rip & replace any equipment.’ The desire to hold onto existing security cameras and other equipment, like access control systems, through the migration to VSaaS was considered a must-have in provider selection by 43% of retail respondents. 

In the context of real budget pressures, being able to integrate with existing infrastructure will make the difference when selecting one video security provider over another. Ava Aware Cloud integrates with existing security cameras, access control systems, dashboards, monitoring systems, sensors, and APIs to get more value and visibility in a single pane of glass. Additionally, it enables the ability to view existing on-premises cameras and new cloud cameras from the same interface, with Single View™. These two factors indicate the importance of organizations not wasting any prior investment as critical to VSaaS provider success.

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3. Includes the latest video and audio analytics

Video and audio analytics are always key for both retail security—improving loss prevention and alleviating liability concerns—and customer intelligence. From enabling social distancing requirements and tracking people’s movements in and out of the shops and other premises to enabling remote management and contactless access control, VSaaS solutions need to be agile enough to deliver all of these capabilities.  

A system like Ava Cloud Video Security can support retailers’ need for proactive security, operational in-store insights, and smart, accurate search to support post-event investigations. Ava Cloud Cameras perform video analytics on the camera, allowing access to high-quality data without bandwidth constraints. These analytics detect the presence of people and vehicles and trigger alarms without needing to send video to any external device.

All Ava Cameras include either a microphone or a directional acoustic sensor array that perceives the camera’s sound environment. The built-in audio analytics detects unusual sound events and then triggers alerts within Aware Cloud. For third-party cameras, the video analytics is performed by the Ava Cloud Connectors, using the same analytics models used by the Ava Cameras.

4. Cyber hardened out of the box

Unlike traditional on-site video surveillance, a VSaaS model allows retailers to focus on selling better and intelligently while keeping their customers, staff, and inventory protected without the hassle of the increasing risk of security attacks. 84% of our survey respondents confirmed that its VSaaS must protect retailers from cyber breaches, including end-to-end encryption from the camera to the cloud.

A solution like Ava Cloud Video Security has cyber security features baked into the design of every product component. Each Ava Cloud Camera and Ava Cloud Connector is provisioned with unique keys and certificates during manufacturing. The cameras and the Cloud Connectors connect to the Aware Cloud video management system via a TLS connection to ensure all data is encrypted in transit. 

All recordings and metadata are encrypted at rest in both the cloud and the camera. The encryption key is unique to each deployment, meaning that any theft of cameras cannot lead to leakage of your stored recordings. Finally, it’s easy to ensure secure access to video management data and footage through two-factor authentication and single sign-on

No matter the path you choose to follow, remember that selecting a cloud video security provider that improves its offering and evolves with the needs of its customers is fundamental.

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Report: Retail Sector Video Security Trends 2021

A market study of video surveillance systems in the retail sector that covers the leading causes of losses or shrinkage for retail businesses and the areas of improvement for retail video security.
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