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Cisco fights the good fight against retail loss

Published by Dan on June 13, 2007 10:29 AM

Retail loss, or shrinkage, is a huge problem for retail stores of all shapes and sizes. A survey conducted in 2005 showed that retailers lost 37.4 billion due to theft over the course of that year. It's quite common for retail stores to utilize video surveillance to effectively prevent instances of shoplifting and theft from both outsiders and employees, however the numbers show that there is certainly room for improvement in the way the surveillance is utilized.

Enter Cisco Systems.

The networking masterminds have been asked by a group of leading retailers to help develop a solid method for accessing video analytic metadata from different vendors. Earlier this week, Cisco submitted a proposal to the Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS), a division of the National Retail Federation. The proposal focuses on a method for standardizing the way computers describe video surveillance footage for image analysis.

Many retailers are now turning to video analytics, as a way to add intelligence to their surveillance systems. Intelligent cameras and video analytics software help to identify specific actions and behaviors. This technology is useful not only for preventing retail loss, but also for gaining a better understanding of customer behavior. Currently, there are a significant number of video analytic software programs out there, and the majority of them use propriety formats which restrict their compatibility. Cisco's proposal would require video analytics programs to follow a specific standard for how they describe video metadata, and in what format it is presented. This standardization would allow retailers to effectively integrate multiple video analytics products into a single custom video surveillance solution. Cisco believes that an open standards approach will increase the use and the effectiveness of video analytics products in retail environments.

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