Unlock the value of your camera systems

Unlock the value of your camera systems

Koray Özyıldırım, Turkey Country Manager for IDIS, takes a closer look at how Turkey’s retailers are winning more value from their camera systems.

Despite economic uncertainty, and recent falls in the value of the Turkish Lira, the country’s retailers – and international investors – know that this economy has a lot going for it. The retail sector has significant potential and there are good reasons to invest.

Compared with the EU, Turkey has a large population – over 82 million, just behind Germany – and the highest proportion of young people aged 15-24. Household spending remains strong, and Turkey’s success as a tourist destination is helped, not hindered, by a weaker currency. Following the currency shock of 2019, one of the largest shopping centres in Istanbul – İstinyePark, which houses luxury retailers such as Rolex, Cartier, Gucci, Fendi, Chanel and Louis Vuitton – saw tourist numbers surge by 30 per cent.

Retail is also one of the biggest engines of the economy, employing over 1.9 million people according to KPMG. The sector is changing too, for example, food retail remains comparatively fragmented, with strong loyalty to open market style shopping, yet steady growth in local and regional supermarkets, multi-format retailers, and local and international chains.

Now, as tourism and domestic business continues to rebound post-covid, these businesses are looking for opportunities to expand and turning to more advanced video technology.

Compelling capabilities

One reason is that CCTV technology has improved to the point where – very affordably – it now allows a leap forward in capabilities and benefits: camera systems are no longer just about security and loss prevention, they combine multiple business tools that retailers want. Basic analogue CCTV set-ups and older, less capable, IP systems may still be prevalent but there is growing awareness of how much more camera systems can do, both in stores and back-of-store warehouse and logistics areas.

In many ways Turkey’s retail sector is at a turning point, ready to tap into the competitive advantages being offered by newer solutions and upgraded infrastructure – and retailers are equally aware of the need to adapt to shifting consumer preferences, and the risk of being left behind.

They know they are facing the same systemic challenges as retailers in other developed economies, in particular the rise of e-commerce. Turkey’s online sales boomed during the pandemic: rising by over 98 per cent – a bigger jump than in any other country according to some analysts.

Responding to this, retailers are looking at the same strategies that are proving successful in other regions: developing hybrid models combining online with bricks-and-mortar; building customer loyalty through positive customer experiences (CX); improving efficiency; and using business intelligence insights to make stores smarter.

AI advances

AI-driven video analytics that feature people counting, heatmapping, queue management to gather business intelligence are now easy to use and affordable. These tools as well as many others can be managed from a single user interface. Integrating point-of-sale with recording devices, and displaying on-screen transactions, provides details of purchases and facilitates easy searches. This end-to-end approach is typically replacing up to four separate systems from different vendors.

Where many traditional, multiple-vendor systems fail is that they prove too complex to operate day-to-day, so users end up limiting themselves to just a few functions, even when they are paying for more. They stick to basic surveillance and system health checks because that’s the only way they can cope managing hundreds of sites.

What retailers are looking for is information delivered through a single interface, including reports and trend data, which can easily be used by other departments, from product management to internal fraud.

Today this can be offered in an all-in-one solution without licence fees or hidden ongoing costs. For instance, IDIS’s rapid plug-and-play 4-channel AI Box for Retail allows even small stores to reap the benefits of actionable intelligence. In addition, stores are attracted by advanced solutions that no longer need specialist top-of-head cameras to be effective, but leverage existing security cameras, eliminating additional costs.

Feature-rich integration

Today’s cameras are also significantly better and driving upgrade projects. High-performance fisheyes are a real eyecatcher. Two of these can deliver the same coverage as six or eight standard models, drastically reducing cabling, installation, and maintenance costs.

Fisheyes not only provide superior coverage of store aisles, capturing footage to the periphery of the scene without blind-spots, they are useful in retailers’ warehouses and logistics centres.

Functions such as text-in features and integration with barcode scanning systems, are now easy to implement and they deliver significant value. These tools not only allow loss prevention teams to conduct audits of individual items and investigate fraudulent activity from goods-in to point of sale, but they are being used to drive wider efficiency gains. For example, they are allowing greater insights into staffing and operations. For retail chains with multiple stores and logistics facilities this enables improved centralised oversight and control, and more informed decision making.

The enhanced capability of today’s video solutions is also allowing systems integrators to make a compelling case to retail boards in terms of return on investment. Looking at internal shrinkage for example, a fashion chain can lose $15-$20,000 per quarter. When a systems integrator can offer them a video solution to prevent this, and do it for a fraction of this cost, that’s a compelling proposition.