The Internet of Things in retail – sell with success using smart security cameras

Cameras can help to optimize sales in the retail sector. In our white paper we set out some example applications and provide tips on how to plan and implement this technology.

The Internet of Things is growing. Experts anticipate that globally more than twenty billion devices will be networked by 2020. In the process, end devices are becoming increasingly smart and versatile. A security camera, which would previously only have been able to supply video data, is now able to analyze that data as well. This enables retailers to better understand the shopping habits of their customers and organize their product ranges in a more appealing way. In addition, data from security systems can help with optimizing merchandise management. Security cameras in the IoT are therefore far more than just a security tool.

Small wonder that 70% of retailers intend to invest in the IoT in the next five years. Nonetheless, a study carried out by Cisco determined that three out of every four projects would fail. Many investments fall short of the mark, in our opinion, because IoT thinking is too one-dimensional in the retail sector ‒ although cameras are being networked, their potential remains untapped from a sales perspective.

Our white paper provides an overview of applications and technologies for the IoT in the retail sector and the potential it holds.

The hidden potential of the Internet of Things in security

Security cameras in the Internet of Things can help the retail sector to gain a greater understanding of their customers. This knowledge opens new opportunities to better tailor product ranges and merchandise management to the needs of consumers. This improves sales and helps to lower costs. Below are just a few examples of how analyzing video data can not only make sales more secure, but also more successful:

1. Gain a better understanding of customer behavior

Security cameras are able to identify movement trends in stores. For example, this enables retailers to optimize the placement of their product ranges and goods. The following image shows how movement trends around the retail space can be analyzed.

customer heatmap in a retail store
image: istockphoto / JIRAROJ PRADITCHAROENKUL

2. Capture the attention of shoppers and steer them with personalized offers

Cameras can recognize individuals based on criteria such as age and gender. If an individual is matched to a certain group of customers, for example, a display in the retail space could show that person an appropriate sales promotion.

3. Optimize inventory in the store and in the warehouse

Missing or misplaced goods curtail sales. Security cameras can continuously analyze goods inventories in the store and synchronize this information with data from merchandise management.

"IoT applications for optimizing sales make cameras into perfect analytical tools." ‒ Nikolas Mangold-Takao, VP Product Management & Marketing at SAST

Requirements for IoT technology in the retail sector

The IoT in the retail sector is evolving all the time. Devices, platforms and software applications (apps) have to evolve with it. In our white paper for retailers,[1] we explain what to look out for when selecting and integrating IoT technologies. The following is a brief overview of the most important requirements:

1. Devices

Security cameras need to be able to immediately analyze video data using their own processors. This is a question of high processing power, flexible app management and secure data processing.

2. Platforms

IoT platforms are the link between networked devices and systems. It should be possible to process data both on the platform and in the networked cameras directly by means of edge functions.

3. Applications (apps)

Applications should be easy to install and update on security cameras, similar to the way app stores for smartphones work. Operating systems should be based on common systems, such as Android.

4. Security

In order to protect IoT systems against attacks and manipulation by third parties, applications must meet high security standards for processing and exchanging data.

Gradual development of the IoT in the retail sector

Many IoT projects fail because retailers aim to achieve too much all at once. Retailers should plan and implement their projects in small, predictable stages ‒ especially if they are new to using the IoT with security cameras. Our recommendation:

  • Start with applications that deliver success quickly and with low risk. This approach allows you to gather initial experience and continue to develop your IoT.
  • Use hardware, apps and platforms that meet established standards.
  • Prioritize applications and systems that can be upgraded flexibly and evolve alongside your requirements.

You can discover more about the potential of security cameras and requirements for IoT technology in the retail sector in our white paper. Download it here for free.

Alternatively, meet us at ISC West and book a meeting with us now!