Canadian Security Magazine

Can video integrated with POS deliver the goods?

Jennifer Brown   

News Retail

Special Online Report Retailers routinely lean on their point of sale systems to help them identify trends and determine when fraudulent activity is happening in their stores.

Those who have begun integrating video have found they can benefit from
having a visual component paired with transaction data. But is the
technology really there yet? Some retailers have had success while
others say it’s not quite ready — at least not without some time and
money, something many retailers don’t have a lot of right now.

POS/video and access control integration accounts for 75 per cent of
the business Odyssey Technologies currently does in the market.

The company’s video management system offers text insertion and full report generation that is customized for a POS system.

“The customer can go back and search for voids, no sales, discounts,
etc., and get court admissible video to prosecute or terminate an
employee. This is also a great tool to see if the employee has a need
for further training,” says Harris Douglas of Odyssey Technologies
based in Laurel, Md.


“Right now it’s all software and it’s more cost effective to do it with
one piece of software rather than put a black box at each register,”
says Douglas.

Odyssey Technologies, which works with Micros Systems Inc. in Canada,
is installed with U.S. retailers such as McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts
in the Boston area where they have high staff turnover — mostly
teenagers working part-time.

Text information from a transaction is sent in real time over the
network — rather than when the transaction is finalized — and placed on
top of the video image of the cashier and customer. All transaction
exceptions including voids, deletes, error corrects and cancels are
matched against the corresponding video. Actions at the counter can be
checked against what the cashier rings up.

“We use it to help them manage theft and to manage training issues and
really, manage their bottom line. You can see them ringing up a
transaction and if it’s a void and they take the money out of the
register you see that as well, so we’re doing text insertion which is
rare. We use it to help them manage staff and manage training issues,”
says Douglas.

Dunkin Donuts uses Radiant cash registers and a DVR is plugged into the
router with the POS terminals and it picks up the conversations between
cash registers.

CCTV integration with POS is something Steve Waldron, director of loss
prevention with Danier Leather based in Toronto, experimented with it
several years ago, but he has since backed away from it. Danier has
cameras located over the cash registers but they are not currently tied
into the POS.

“Integration in all its forms is on the radar. I’m always looking at it
but I think that privacy concerns/compliance, migration costs and
sustainability will be the big challenges,” says Waldron.

The concept is great but it has its problems, says Waldron, who has
been trying to get the two pieces — video and POS — to really work

“It’s really, really attractive and I have sent DVR boxes off to
integrators to try and get it to work and it’s never worked the way
they said it would work,” says Waldron. “Most selling an NVR system
today will say POS integration is available.”

For now, when he is looking at a new CCTV component, he makes sure it’s scalable and can handle POS integration later on.

“For my business, I think it’s the wisest thing to do at this point.”

For other retailers, integration means a large investment at a difficult time in the retail industry.

“This all can be done and more; t just takes money. Integration for me
means all new systems starting with the POS,” says George Majkut,
director of loss prevention with The Source.

And as Waldron points out, the issue of privacy is one that lingers
since customer data would also be contained in video files in addition
to the POS system.

“It’s a concern of ours because even though the credit card number
might be partially blocked out you’re still sharing it with another
system that is accessible and the whole thing with privacy is the
assurance it can’t be hacked,” says Waldron. “I want to see the
technology mature first. And if you go with one integrator, will they
be here to look after you down the road and sustain it in terms of
after sales service?”

Those issues aside, Waldron says each company has to evaluate its own
individual need for integration of video with other components of loss

“Our credit card fraud is so low I’m not that motivated to jump to
adopt it at the moment,” he says, adding that his staff is trained to
follow specific procedures for credit card transactions.

“I think we catch most of those transactions before they go through,” he says.

Video integration with access control is also on the horizon for many
organizations if they don’t have it already. Odyssey integrates with
systems such as Brivo and Securakey.

With a camera looking at the door, the text from the card swipe is
inserted over the video of the door in question. Customers are allowed
to search for events by users, doors, times and events at the site or
across a network.

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