Video surveillance in retail stores

Protect your property against vandalism and theft in stores, storage areas and service areas with reliable video surveillance!

Every business owner has already dealt with this issue, and at the latest at the inventory, the numbers show a frightening difference between the target state and the actual inventory. The inventory difference in the German retail trade has now exceeded the 3 billion €, which is assigned to a good quarter to the organized crime.

Often there are legal concerns that prevent a meaningful use of video security technology, since the statements are very contradictory. Below you will find tips and important links to this topic.


 

Planning video surveillance for retail

Detailed planning is essential before buying and using surveillance cameras, as the investment of such a system may cost some € 10,000 depending on its size. Smaller shops with less than 200m ² already come out with about € 3,000. In both cases, the investment would be in vain if the result of the video did not lead to the investigation of the offense.


The following points should be noted:

1. Position and viewing direction of the surveillance camera

The installation height should not be less than 2.50m, ideally 3.50m, depending on the area to be monitored. High shelves could also require a higher space.

Especially with cameras in the entrance area, care should be taken that the viewing direction does not take place from the inside to the outside, since the backlight has a very disturbing effect and prevents the evaluation of, for example, faces.Although backlight compensation and WDR help to minimize, it would be better to avoid this in advance.

The image angles of the different cameras should overlap for seamless monitoring.

 

2. Focal length or horizontal angle of view

The lens of the camera should capture exactly the area intended for this camera. Here, surveillance cameras with a variable focal length, which can be adjusted manually or electronically (usual focal lengths are 2.8mm - 12mm => 95 ° - 35 °). Please keep in mind that the objects shrink at a smaller focal length or larger angle.

If it is determined that the faces are no longer recognizable, you should use a larger focal length or use a smaller horizontal angle of view.

 

3. Design of the camera

There are dome cameras, also called dome cameras, which are suitable for indoor use, because they have a more elegant design than other designs. By contrast, bullet cameras are more often found outdoors. because the dome cameras, mounted outside, often have to deal with unwanted reflections when the sun is too strong.

If the monitoring and control of surveillance cameras is actively managed (in larger department stores there is a so-called monitoring station with security guards), also a PTZ camera is in question, which is pivoting and tilting and usually also has an optical zoom, with which the objects can be zoomed in.

 

4. Resolution of surveillance cameras

There is a wide variety of resolutions, from HD (720P) to 12MP. The Full HD resolution (1080P) and the more detailed recordings have established the 5MP resolution.

For some time, there are so-called 4K cameras that offer a resolution of 8.3MP. This can be useful for special tasks (use of a camera in gorßen parking lots), when monitoring a shop, it would be oversized in most cases, because the video data must indeed be saved. A 4K camera takes about 4 times as much space.

As the compression methods of the manufacturers are getting better, 4K cameras could also be an alternative to 5MP cameras in the future.

 

5. Which areas should be monitored?

In general, the entrances and exits and the sales area have to be covered. To install cameras in the cash register area requires a necessity, which in individual cases would have to be discussed with a data protection officer. The warehouse or loading ramps, on the other hand, are less critical because they focus on protecting property.

Social rooms and sanitary facilities are of course taboo. A covert video surveillance or sound recording must be thoroughly examined and agreed with a data protection officer. Here are reasons, but must be given very well-founded and logged.

Cameras that are installed on the outside or cameras that detect the outside from the inside are legally questionable because public space is monitored without any reasonable interest of the system operator. Here the choice of camera installation location is very important. Sidewalks are taboo.

 

6. Recording video data

Most video surveillance systems also record the video streams. Again, it is important to determine, in consultation with a data protection officer, how long the records can be archived. The size of the recorder hard disk is crucial for the recording time.

When it has been determined how long the recordings can be archived, the necessary hard disk capacity can also be defined. A rough guide is 45GB per day per camera. A decisive role for the exact determination are camera resolution, camera images per second (fps), compression factor (H.264 / H.265) and motion in the picture, brightness of the scene or noise in the picture and last but not least the planned recording time (weekdays, opening hours , etc).

For a detailed determination, there are calculation tools on the Internet. Our service team is at your disposal under our hotline 02433/964 25 80 to calculate the necessary storage capacity for you.

When all the cameras and their installation locations are set, the recorder will be selected according to the number of camera inputs.

 

What purpose can surveillance cameras still fulfill?

In addition to the actual monitoring function, surveillance cameras are also used for marketing purposes. So people who enter and leave the store can also be counted. In addition to counting, customers' patterns of movement, so-called "heat maps", are very enlightening in determining which way visitors choose through the business.

In addition, the length of stay, that is, how long customers spend in front of certain products or shelves, can be measured to determine whether products are correctly placed.

Other interesting functions are queue detection in the checkout area and conversion rate (the ratio of visitor numbers to sales figures). If you are interested in analyzing such buying behavior and also want to use the cameras for the purpose of video analysis, the positions of the cameras are very important.

It should be clear from the outset what destination the cameras have. Surveillance cameras that count, for example, should point 90 ° down. This position is unsuitable for most surveillance purposes.

We are specialised in this kind of retail analysis and are happy to advise you! Test us!

 

Is it possible to install the video surveillance in the store or warehouse?

Before deciding to purchase a CCTV system, it is advisable to obtain the necessary information so that it does not lead to problems later and in the worst case to the removal of the system.

A first orientation aid can be found in the federally applicable document Video surveillance by non-public bodies. § 4 of the BDSG (new version) regulates the requirement of a video surveillance for non-public bodies that monitor areas that are open to the public.

It always applies the principle of necessity. If, for example, measures against theft are possible with simple means such as a padlock, the need for video surveillance is called into question.

There is an interesting article about video surveillance and data protection. Here you will also find a list of the national data protection officers and supervisory authorities responsible for the respective countries.