Axis's Retail Report ExaminedBy John Honovich, Published on Jan 12, 2011
In this note, we examine a report on retail surveillance use sponsored by Axis. While the report claims an overwhelming interest in network surveillance, we believe the sample size is heavily biased to chain retailers with large locations, under-representing the mass of retailers who find it quite difficult to justify IP camera adoption.
Axis shared a copy. Read the full 33 page retail report [link no longer available].
Let's start by examining key findings from the report:
- 98% use video surveillance
- More than half have used it for more than a decade
- 2/3rds use analog cameras, 1/4 use IP cameras
- 87% of retailers using analog 'have considered' using IP instead
- Nearly 80% do not have video integrated with their central monitoring station
- Maintenance costs and technical issues were top reported issues
- The overwhelming issue cited in not moving to IP was cost
- Over 25% of retailers say they use people counting and over 10% use dwell time or hot/cold analytics
To put these numbers into perspective, we must understand who are these retailers (as retail is a massive world). Here are the key metrics of the participants:
- Over 80% have more than 100 stores (half of those have more than 500)
- Only 6% had less than 25 stores
- Over 70% of respondents had stores of 10,000 sqft or more (for perspective, most retailers in malls are considerably less than 10,000 sqft - obviously excluding department stores)
The retailers in the report are large organizations with fairly large stores. This mean higher camera counts and more security demands than most retailers.
The retail 'world' is quite large and diverse. While there are many large chains, retail is also filled with smaller sites and smaller operations. For instance, according to US government records, there are over 25,000 convenience stores [link no longer available], 100,000 gas stations, 130,000 clothing stores (here's a table from the US Census office breaking down retail locations by category [link no longer available]). These organizations are not properly represented in the study. In our experience, they have significant challenges making the move to IP (much more than their big box brethren).
If analog has a 2.5x lead over IP in this group, we would suspect this would be 5x or 10x in a more diverse study of retailers.
The same concern applies to video analytics. We also question whether those numbers mean that the retailer uses analytics in all their locations or only in a few. In our experience, many retailers use analytics in a few locations (pilots, early stage roll-outs, etc.). We suspect these were counted in the survey, misleading the true adoption of analytics.
As a final note, it is interesting that even the relatively large retailers chosen cite cost as the number #1 concern - perhaps they need to read Axis's other 'study'.