Enhancing Web-Based Video Surveillance

Envysion's loss prevention solution links existing digital video systems to Web browsers.

Envysion, which makes PCI-compliant Web video management technology, is adding new features to its managed video surveillance solution.

Announced July 21, the features allow users to perform activities such as event search and filtering, reporting and alerting, and video collaboration.

"We have extended the capability well beyond video surveillance," said Matt Steinfort, CEO of Envysion. "It provides better insight into remote locations. You can understand and improve the customer experience and employee environment. Video is now a strategic management tool that provides insight into your operations."

Steinfort said retailers can leverage the Envysion Video solution to view live or recorded video from any location using a Web browser. They can also link video to associated data from other systems, such as POS (point of sale) devices, and create dashboards and exception reports to drive attention to the most important events, he said.

"Retailers and restaurant operators are feeling top-line pressures," Steinfort said. "Business is down due to the economy, and fuel costs and food costs are up. It's difficult to grow your profit. You can't grow the top line from increased customer visits or adding units."

Calling the hosted Envysion application MVAAS-managed video as a service-Steinfort said it can be operated across an enterprise without the need to manage software across disparate locations.

"Most video solutions are not designed to operate at scale," he said. "They're designed to operate one store at a time."

As an example of the solution's new capabilities, Steinfort said a retailer can use a collaboration feature called MyClips to save a video clip into a hosted network, where it can be annotated and immediately made available for secure access across the enterprise.

"It's like an internal YouTube," he said. "You can use it for training and to spread best practices."

Steinfort also said managers can check into any store location at any time without the knowledge of associates.

"One downside of visiting a store is that you immediately change employee behavior," he said. Using Envysion's application, he said, "If you're a manager of five to 10 locations, you can sit at a desk and check to see what's going on in any location without being detected."

Steinfort said managers can also view video of the precise time a specific product was sold, of busy or slow periods, or other particular events. He said retailers can win back 150 to 200 basis margin points, assess the execution of marketing programs, and identify and address critical business issues with the assistance of Envysion Video.

Scott Langdoc, an analyst with IDC Global Retail Insights, said loss prevention remains a top priority for retailers.

"The worldwide loss prevention spending forecast for retailers is growing 13.6 percent through 2011," Langdoc said. "It's an area of increased focus because of the financial benefits, centered on margin protection."

Langdoc said Envysion Video allows retailers to leverage existing digital video investments, and as a hosted platform it gives more users greater abilities both in stores and at central locations. He also said its relatively low cost of entry opens the solution up to a wider range of retail users than some other loss prevention solutions.

"The loss prevention capability justifies the investment," he said. "Taking it to the next level, it could become very much involved in allowing traffic monitoring and other digital video activities beyond loss prevention."

Steinfort said a typical four-camera installation for a single store location costs $850 to install and $160 in monthly maintenance fees, including all hardware and services.

"You can obtain more than $500 in monthly savings and get payback in less than three months," he said.

Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.