Network video's main benefit: People watching

Surveys of U.S. and European retailers indicate that people- and queue-counting are widely recognized as beneficial applications.

People-watching, that favorite pastime of coffee-shop and cafe patrons everywhere, apparently is also among the most popular uses for network video. The type of people-watching conducted via network video, however, is far more business than pleasure.

Network camera manufacturer Axis Communications sponsored four surveys in the retail marketplace, conducted by four different organizations, between August 2009 and October 2010 in the United States and Europe. The surveys' purpose was to determine users' and potential users' awareness of network-video applications.

The best-known applications are people-counting and queue-counting, Axis reports, with two-thirds of survey respondents having heard of them.

Axis says that retailers are not only aware of applications, but also are highly willing to use these technologies in the future. A majority of those surveyed, the company says, are interested in applications involving people-counting and hot/cold mapping. "In all studies it was overwhelmingly shown that the main reason to implement video surveillance is the prevention of theft and shoplifting, with an average of 86 percent of all respondents," Axis says.

The company also reports that survey respondents cited "increased staff security" as the main positive effective of video surveillance. Other benefits include better evidence in the event of a crime, and less theft.

The four studies were conducted among security managers, loss-prevention executives and chief executive officers at retail companies. The surveys were carried out by the Swedish Trade Federation Svensk Handel (Sweden), IDC Retail Insights (Italy), the Centre for Retail Research (UK) and the Loss Prevention Research Council (US).

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