Silverstar Analytics certifies the full GANZ Security cctv camera range

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Silverstar Analytics are pleased to certify the full range of GANZ Security CCTV cameras with it’s cloud analytics platform. This include not only the standard VMS capability, but also the GXi Technology’s Imbedded Intelligence video analytics technology.

By integrating these advanced video analytics cameras with the Silverstar Analytics cloud platform, raw events can be turned into valuable business intelligence. This include

  • Big data insights with advanced analytics
  • Real time alerting
  • Summary reports and interactive drill-downs
  • Automatically baselines behaviour patterns
  • Identifies and scores anomalies
  • Outliers to normal activity
  • Compare to a gold standard
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Retail Analytics Market Worth $5.1 Billion USD by 2020

According to a new market research report, Retail Analytics Market – Global Forecast and Analysis to 2020, published by MarketsandMarkets, The Retail Analytics Market size is estimated to grow from USD 2.2 Billion in 2015 to USD 5.1 Billion by 2020, at an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.9% from 2015 to 2020.

analyticsMerchandising and in-store analytics solutions are expected to gain maximum traction

Retail analytics solutions help retailers gain useful insights that can help them in making decisions from offers to the on-to-consumers to displaying the right product at right place at the shelf. These analytical solutions collect data from several data sources, integrate it, and further present it in a structured format, which enhances the data visibility and analytical capabilities. The Retail Analytics Market is expected to gain traction in the next five years due to growth in digital data.

Silverstar Analytics: Our powerful data analytics combined with the most extensive array of supported devices. Bring all your electronic events into one system. Turn data into decisions.

Big data insights with advanced analytics

Allow our powerful data analytics to quickly locate suspicious, abnormal or out of policy transactions within your establishment. Automatically baselines normal behavior patterns. Find outliers and differences from known good activity patterns. Take your data from efficient hindsight to rapid insight. Understand trends and become predictive. Use our automated anomaly detection to find activity worthy of investigation.  

Automatically baselines behavior patterns

Automatically baseline activity on a shop, operator or till basis. Understand what is ‘normal’ behavior and compare to other groups providing a valuable insight to current activities. Variations across similar groups can be investigated, locating pockets of best-in-class or worst-in-class behavior.

Identifies and scores anomalies

Allow our analytics to locate and score anomalies. The scoring provides a ‘stack-ranked’ list of transactions or events worthy of investigation. Each highlighted item will have attributes that cause it to deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected within your environment

Outliers to normal employee activity

Our analytics automatically defines normal behavior within your environment. Outliers with significant anomalous attributes will be highlighted to you, for further investigation. Transactions which are widely separated from the main cluster of normal activity will be highlighted and a score provided to indicate the amount of deviation.

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Latest Industry Report: U.S. Retail Shrink Tops $44 Billion In 2014

dollarBased on responses from 100 participating U.S. retailers : National Retail Security Survey (NRSS) conducted by Dr. Richard Hollinger, criminology professor at the Univ. of Florida.
U.S. Retailers lost $44 billion as a result of shoplifting, employee and vendor theft, and administrative error (collectively called inventory shrink) in 2014, totaling 1.38 percent of total sales. This is according to a study released by NRF PROTECT, the industry’s largest retail loss prevention event.

Sources of Shrinkage

The report found that shoplifting was responsible for the largest part of shrink (38 percent); followed by employee/internal theft (34.5 percent), administrative and paperwork errors (16.5 percent), vendor fraud or error (6.8 percent), and unknown loss (6.1 percent).

Shrinkage

Of the retailers studied, grocery stores and supermarkets reported the highest levels of shrink at 3.23 percent. Men’s and women’s specialty apparel retailers and department stores experienced a shrink average of 1.22 percent, while sporting goods and recreational products retailers saw shrinkage of 1.17 percent.

Screening

The complete report is available for download on the NRF Web site.

Silverstar Analytics announces advanced people counting analytics using Panasonic cameras

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Silverstar Analytics are proud to announce the introduction of advanced people counting analytics.  By understand and identifying human faces we allow retailers to understand

  • people-countingFlow rates both at the entrance and exit, but also within zones within the store
  • Compare real-time measurement with previous days, weeks or months and gain valuable insight into operational performance
  • Calculate your store’s conversion ratio
  • Compare store performance across a worldwide network
  • Optimise your building layout and staffing levels
  • Improve customer service

We support all Panasonic 6, 5 & 3 series cameras, including

  • Panasonic 3 series: WV-SPN311, WV-SPN310 & WV-SC385
  • Panasonic 5 series: WV-SPN531
  • Panasonic 6 series: WV-SPN631, WV-SPN611 & WV-SFV631LT

Is your CCTV safe on the internet? Be warned of opening your firewall or firewall port forwarding!

Gaining universal access to your CCTV from any internet connected device is a very useful thing to do. But be warned on the implications of doing this. You could easily and unwittingly open yourself up to serious security and privacy issues.

The usual way of ‘exposing’ a device on the internet is to open up a port on your internal firewall and allow internet network traffic to reach the device. In most firewalls this also includes an operation called port-forwarding.

Firewall picturePort forwarding is “In computer networking, port forwarding or port mapping is an application of network address translation (NAT) that redirects a communication request from one address and port number combination to another while the packets are traversing a network gateway, such as a router or firewall”. Fully understand that? You can read more here.

By allowing any internet traffic to reach your device you are exposing yourself to hackers. Some recent CCTV security incidents include

If you are going to exposure your CCTV camera to the internet (and we suggest that you don’t do this!) you do at minimum the following

  • CCTV warningFully patch the device with the latest firmware.
  • Regularly check for new patches – at least monthly – and apply.
  • Use long passwords that are NOT shared with any other system. See here for advice on what is a secure password.
  • Regularly change the password – at least quarterly.
  • Ensure you follow the vender’s best advice on a secure configuration for internet connected devices. If they don’t have any advice, assume that the device cannot be exposure on the internet in a secure way.

An alternative method is to use Silverstar Analytics secure LiveView functionality, that is built from the ground up to allow secure access to your CCTV cameras from any internet connected browser. Easy to setup, requiring no network or firewall changes and fundamentally secure by design. Read more here.

Wal-Mart is taking urgent actions against theft which is costing it $3 billion a year.

According to a report from Reuters, Wal-Mart’s head of U.S. operations Greg Foran disclosed that theft is present at Walmart stores — so much so that it takes a good chunk out of profits. Reuters pegs average losses for retail companies from theft at about 1% of annual sales, and for a company with the size and scope of Wal-Mart, with about $300 billion in revenues, that’s billions lost every year due to theft. As reported by Reuters

ThiefGreg Foran, head of the retailer’s U.S. operations, told a media briefing on Thursday he added theft and other forms of “unknown shrinkage” to a list of urgent items to be tackled at Wal-Mart’s 4,555 stores across the United States.

Foran said he saw an opportunity to boost margins by putting a dent in a problem that typically represents 1 percent for any retailer’s sales. He noted that Wal-Mart generated nearly $300 billion in revenues in the United States in the past fiscal year.

“One percent of $300 billion is quite a lot of money. If you can save 10 basis points of it – boy I’ll take it every day of the week and put it into lower prices for customers,” Foran told Reuters after the briefing.

One basis point is equal to one hundredth of 1 percent, meaning that 10 basis points – or 0.1 percent – of $300 billion would be equal to $300 million.

As any accountant, finance director or business owner knows, reducing shrinkage means that money flows directly to the bottom line – profits.

Major step forward in RFID for retailers and logistics companies

RFID is fundamentally changing the way retail and logistics companies track goods. As we have previous Goodbye barcodes – hello RFID about the advantages of RFID over old technologies like barcode scanning is large.
RFID-TagOur blog on advantages for retailers can be found here, and for logistics companies here.

But there has been some black magic required to ensure that RFID meets these promises. To the untrained eye, RFID tags can be stuck to anything – clothing to cash, even implanted in people and animals. But other items cause disturbances in signal reception, these include ID cards and equipment, typically anything with a metal or pre-existing magnetic components.

Fujitsu have made a major step forward with the announcement of the development of a compact and slim RFID tag that can be affixed to ID cards, wearable devices, metal parts, and other objects that have limitations with regard to signal reception. The key improvements are

Until now, for guaranteed communication with an RFID reader within a 2-meter radius, tags needed to measure at least 75 mm  in length and approximately 5 mm in thickness. The new technology from Fujitsu Laboratories uses a thin plastic looped structure that emits radio waves, allowing the tags to measure just 30 mm and 0.5 mm respectively. This makes the tag small enough for use in a wide range of applications, including managing machine components or ID cards worn for access to a building.

RFID_Size Frequencies within the UHF band – similar to frequencies used for televisions and mobile phones and with a relatively long range– are often used in RFID systems. However, these radio waves do not travel well through metal or the human body. So-called ‘spacers’ were used to resolve this issue by maintaining a certain distance between the tag and the object or body to which it was attached. The disadvantage of this was that the RFID tag became too large for use on small objects.

Surface as an Antenna

The technology developed by Fujitsu Laboratories uses a curved structure. The tag is wrapped around rubber or plastic and the traditional restrictions on wavelength no longer apply. When applied to a metal surface, the surface acts as an antenna via which radio signals are emitted. This allows a communication range of several meters. As the human body consists largely of water and therefore permits (harmless) conducting of electricity, the process is comparable to that of an ID card with RFID tag.

You can read more here, or if you wish is understand the deep technical aspects further information can be found here.

We these advancements, we will continue to see RFID used ever more widely.

Jack L. Hayes International latest industry survey reports increased theft by retail employees

Jack L. Hayes International, a leading loss prevention and inventory shrinkage control consulting firm, has released it latest Annual Retail Theft Survey. Key details are

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  • Participants: 25 large retail companies with 23,250 stores and over $700 billion in retail sales (2014).
  • Apprehensions: 1,272,560 shoplifters and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2014, up 7.1% from 2013.
  • Recovery Dollars: Over $225 million was recovered from apprehended shoplifters and dishonest employees in 2014, up 10.4% from 2013
  • Shoplifter Apprehensions: 1,192,194 shoplifters were apprehended in 2014, up 7.4% from 2013.
  • Shoplifter Recovery Dollars: Over $159 million was recovered from apprehended shoplifters in 2014, an increase of 7.5% from 2013. An additional $82.5 million was recovered from shoplifters where no apprehension was made, up a significant 15.2% from 2013.
  • Employee Apprehensions: 80,366 dishonest employees were apprehended in 2014, up 1.7% from 2013.
  • Employee Recovery Dollars: Over $66 million was recovered from employee apprehensions in 2014, up 18.1% from 2013.
  • One in every 38 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2014. (Based on over 3.0 million employees.)
  • On a per case average, dishonest employees steal over 6 times the amount stolen by shoplifters ($825.36 vs $133.80).

Results from job applicant survey shows further worrying indicators


High Risk

Low Risk
→  I have frequently associated with fellow employees who admitted they were stealing merchandise from the company. 18.4% 5.4%
→  I am not an honest person and might steal or cheat. 9.3% 1.7%
→  I could be tempted to steal from my employer. 26.7% 7.8%
→  I might help friends steal from my company. 14.6% 1.3%
→  I have stolen money within the past 3 years. 17.5% 5.2%
→  I have stolen merchandise within the past 3 years. 15.9% 4.5%
→  I would possibly use marijuana/illegal drugs in the future. 23.1% 6.5%
→  I have previously sold marijuana or other illegal drugs. 4.3% 0.9%

We strongly suggest that retailers of all size, read this Annual Retail Theft Survey from Jack L. Hayes International.

Useful article: How to reduce losses caused by theft at POS

CSO (a leading industry reference for news, analysis and research on a broad range of security and risk management topics) has published a useful article on POS manipulation fraud. The article can be found here. The key points are

fraudRetail theft is a huge and costly problem for the industry. According to the “Global Retail Theft Barometer 2013-2014,” released by Checkpoint Systems in October 2014, total shrinkage among retailers in North America was $42 billion for the time period covered by the report. North American companies had the highest shrinkage rate in the world, “as it has the highest concentration of retail stores and significantly lower retail loss prevention spend” than other regions, the study notes. U.S.-based discounters, pharmacies/drug stores and supermarkets/grocery retailers had the highest shrinkage rates, stemming from shoplifting, dishonest employee theft and organized retail crime.

The article recommends the following points to reduce staff theft and fraud at the point of sale

  • Leverage the latest technologies: Primarily CCTV, RFID and data analytics. Oversight2
  • Train your employees well: Staff training should make every employee feel like he or she has a responsibility to prevent shrink from occurring.
  • Interact more with staff & customers: The most effective deterrent to a potential shoplifter is good customer service. Making eye contact and acknowledging customers as they enter the store. The last thing a shoplifter wants is interaction with a store employee. Likewise for staff, regular interaction and oversight from management will suppress fraudulent actions
  • Create the right corporate culture: Anti-theft technologies and tactics are vital, but they’re not enough. All the tools in the world are not a replacement for the most critical foundation needed to prevent, isolate and resolve retail losses, and that is a corporate culture focused on mitigating loss.

What Smaller Retailers can Learn About Loss Prevention by SECOM Plc

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Our friends at SECOM Plc have recently released a useful infographic here (and embedded below). The key takeaways are

The SECOM report shows shoplifting and more serious retail theft is becoming more and more of a problem. While the number of incidents is falling, their cost to businesses is rising as more valuable items are targeted. In 2014, the cost of crime to the UK retail sector was £603 million, a rise of 18 per cent compared to the year before.

Many small retailers only employ a handful of people and operate relatively informally, meaning they don’t have many policies in place regarding things like pricing, inventory and employee conduct. It may seem like these things are fairly low priority, but in actual fact having policies like these in place can significantly reduce shrinkage. Each theft is not equal; stealing an item from one store can cause significant issues, while another from a larger chain might be able to absorb the loss easily.

Secom infographic: What smaller retailers can learn about loss prevention
Secom infographic: What smaller retailers can learn about loss prevention