5 Platforms That Gather In-Store Analytics from Surveillance Footage

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Watching You Watching MeNearly 64% of retailers have installed some form of IP-connected video surveillance system to protect against theft. Now, a relatively new category of hyperlocal vendors are providing businesses with new ways to capitalize on the technology they already have installed. Companies like Prism and RetailNext, among others, are giving retailers a way to systematically analyze the footage gathered from their video surveillance systems to find out how customers are interacting with their stores and how minor tweaks in layout or design could result in major changes in conversion rates at the cash register.

Here are five tools that retailers large and small can use to make more strategic operational decisions based on the data they gather from video surveillance cameras.

1. Prism Skylabs: Measure conversions and dwell times using existing cameras.
Using Prism Skylabs, retailers are able to measure conversions, dwell times, and footpaths automatically using the camera infrastructures they already have in place. Businesses can install Prism Skylabs onto their computers or networks, and the platform uses algorithms to turn customer interactions and movements into real-time data. For example, retailers can track which products customers picked up most often and how long the average wait times were for fitting rooms on specific days of the week. The system also creates heat maps that show how customers move through a store. Prism works with more than 80 businesses in the retail, CPG, franchise, mall, restaurant, and hospitality industries.

2. Brickstream: Use video information to watch shopper behaviors.
Brickstream is a “behavior intelligence platform” that provides businesses with a way to watch shoppers and track sales conversion. Using “stereoscopic” cameras, which Brickstream sells, large retailers can count how many people are moving around different areas of their stores. This information is then used to determine which departments or aisles are most popular, or which cash registers should be opened to accommodate additional customers.Brickstream’s cameras are able to separate adults from children, which is a key feature that differentiates the company from others in the industry. Brickstream currently works with retailers, supermarkets, retail banks, casinos, and airports.

3. RetailNext: Get more use out of existing video infrastructure.
RetailNext can tap into a retailer’s existing video infrastructure to gather all sorts of actionable data. The solution works with both analog and IP cameras, and it combines real-time video streams with other data sources — like POS systems, Wi-Fi, and staffing systems — to provide clients with insight into how shoppers navigate through their stores. For example, a retailer might discover that women are spending more time in the jewelry department than the shoe department. This information may be useful in determining new store layouts or potential staffing changes. RetailNext works with physical retailers, including American Apparel, Caché, and Ulta.

4. ShopperTrak: Analyze queues and demographics with surveillance footage.
Almost all of the information that’s captured by in-store video surveillance cameras gets lost as footage gets overwritten or archived. ShopperTrak has developed a way to pull insight from this footage using an auditing process that analyzes images without “relying on human eyes.” Retailers that integrate ShopperTrak’s technology into their existing networks can uncover customer demographic information, along with operational insights like queue wait times and speed-of-service at the POS. Daily reports provide clients with information on how many customers entered and exited their businesses, and how their sales conversions compare to others in the market. ShopperTrak works with retailers and malls, along with retail and real estate analysts.

5. Cara: Turn video cameras into intelligent sensors.
Developed by IMRSV, Cara is a platform that turns standard web cameras into “intelligent sensors.” The company provides the benefits of online measurement to businesses with real world locations. The Cara platform can be used to track audience demographics (like gender and age) and foot traffic in physical spaces, like brick-and-mortar stores, end-caps, and cash registers. Cara never saves any of the images that cameras collect, instead extracting the information contained in those images and saving it as numerical text data. Cara is useful for retail insights and audience measurement, and the platform works best when cameras have a “clear frontal view” of the audience’s faces. Cara clients include companies like IPG and Reebok.

Know of other platforms that businesses can use to gather analytics from their video surveillance cameras? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.