They used video surveillance for what?!

by Mac Thompson on Sep 15, 2015 1:30:00 PM

Posting food pictures to Instagram

Claiming that a sophisticated and efficient video surveillance solution helps the protection of a company’s people and property is a given; central station operators are alerted to suspicious or illegal activity as they are happening, enabling security to quickly take action, and storing video footage provides forensic records for post-incident reports, allowing law enforcement to react. No one doubts the almost inevitable return on investment video solutions offer, but it is not often that organizations consider how video surveillance may be able to actually improve operations and, in some cases, revenue.

Using video analytics to improve customer service

Intelligent video management and analytic software have become more prevalent as a means of providing higher situational awareness of a facility by proactively alerting security personnel of suspicious activity, such as an individual suddenly going against the flow of traffic when exiting airport security, or an intruder scaling the fence of a restricted area after hours. When applied to other industries in a more reactive sense, video analytics can supply an organization with a higher degree of operational intelligence. By analyzing specific behaviors collected through video, businesses are able to apply what’s learned from footage to better tailor the overall customer experience.

  • For retail spaces, especially stores and banks where customers routinely queue for service, video analytics applications are able to monitor the length of the line and the amount of time customers have been waiting. The collective data can also be cross-referenced with the time of day, empowering businesses to be more attentive to their operations by analyzing peak traffic times and adjusting staffing accordingly.
  • Intelligent video solutions are also able to take notice of how long a customer might dwell near a product or a piece of promotional signage to gauge how effective specific types of signs/products are at keeping a customer’s attention. Comparing the findings with sales data allows businesses to repeat prior successful marketing tactics to sustain and potentially improve customer engagement and loyalty.

Video solutions are also able to expand their benefits beyond traditional safety and awareness. Unconventional applications of video may even convert leads to customers when spun in a certain light.

  • Granting a “peek” into an organization’s video surveillance, like how an owner of a condo might view their apartment building’s lobby on their television via CCTV, can provide an added value to prospective customers. For instance, an exclusive golf course might install various weather-resistant outdoor cameras for club members to view by logging in via a web browser interface to check how the weather is or to see if the course is particularly crowded on a given day.
  • Live video of an entrance of a facility such as a resort, hotel, or a spa can be transmitted to the front desk, allowing attendants the ability to preemptively anticipate customers as a chance to provide a higher level of personal attention, potentially resulting in a higher rate of returning customers.

Video footage can provide restaurant insight

Recently, a restaurant in downtown New York City noticed that it was consistently receiving customer complaints about its slow service, despite various attempts to fix the problem. Luckily, the owner miraculously recovered security camera footage from 2004 and compared it to recent digital footage from 2014. When analyzing the behaviors of the wait staff from ten years prior and the current team, the owner saw little difference in service. What they did uncover was that the customers were seemingly to blame thanks to the prevalence of technology they were bringing to the table. Some of the more interesting findings include:

Photography played a part. In 2004, few cell phones contained cameras, and the ones that did produced very low quality images. In 2014, smartphones took pictures upwards of 8 or more megapixels, causing many patrons to take photos of their food as well as group shots of themselves.

What’s your Wi-Fi password? When viewing recent footage of customers asking their servers to look at their phones, the owner later learned that a lot of customers were requesting servers to help them to connect to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi network—most likely to upload those pictures to social media.

People got readily distracted. Googling menu items before ordering, and texting or browsing social media during and after their meal, meant customers were lingering in the restaurant an average of 50 minutes more, causing other patrons to wait longer for an open table.

While it is likely the restaurant owner had first intended its video surveillance system to address health and safety issues, it’s refreshing to see that video still has the ability to change our perceptions of the world around us thanks to novel applications of seemingly mundane systems and services. Fortifying an organization’s business intelligence and operational efficiency by employing analytical software—and people—remains just as important as ensuring the safety and protection of its employees and customers.

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This post was written by Mac Thompson

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