Big Box Retailer Resists IP Cameras

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Feb 27, 2014

There is a major big box retailer that still only uses analog cameras and, at some of their stores, have been using the same cameras since the late 1990s. We talked with a loss prevention manager with the company about why the company is slow to change.

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Comments (11)

The short I take from this, as an integrator, is don't expect much in the way of new sales from a company like K-mart, which has lost a lot of market share and gone through bankruptcy and restructing.

However, may be an oppurtunity for small, 1 to 3 person shops who deal in lowest priced discount equipment since that's all they seem interested in at this point.

I'm not sure if it matters in K-Mart's situation, but Loss Prevention gets a pretty meager budget that isn't always a good source for system upgrades. Money is never NOT a problem for LP.

Getting the corporate capital expansion or facilities management departments involved can often yield more money for a chain-wide upgrade. However, just like this update notes, if the chain isn't expanding and is retracting, then any upgrades are not likely!

Why am I not surprised.

Retail LP has always fascinated me. How do they balance the convenience of having shelves stocked with (sometimes valuable) items - with the task of protecting all these assets? What is done at the store level to combat ORC? What is the average store surveillance retention period, and does investigating ORC have an impact on the setting of this threshold? How would using web port connected IP PTZs vs serial port connected analog PTZs impact day to day LP operations? What would be the primary justifications for big box retailers to migrate from analog to IP? =============== I like these types of stories that show real world scenarios - I think they can provoke many questions (as shown above) :)

I posted the above from my phone and let it be known that I actually used paragraph formatting.

The translation between mobile device and interface is weak. :(

So now I'm replying to a reply to myself. Because I can.

Only fun once.

It's the dollars and cents mentality is exactly why Sears is losing gobs of money every quarter. K-Mart stores (at least the ones I've lived around) have always been filthy, poorly maintained and the employees don't seem to care. Looks like this is just another employee doing what he can to scratch by with poor executive leadership.

Brian is right in observing that retail loss prevenition is a cost center struggling to compete for funds with all other non-profit generating departments. As long as retail inventory shortage is below the threshold of P&L pain tolerance there's little motivation to invest heavily in upgrades. Tough sledding for LP department in a marginal retailer.

The bottom line in my view is that KMart as a brand and operator has been fatally ill since the 1980's yet fails to succumb. That's regrettable but for the slowest antelope in the herd life is filled with peril.

Walmart has all but shuttered all of the local KMarts in this area (Toledo, OH). There are a few standing, but for sure not for long. The ones I know still open are in areas where Walmart has yet to build. I don't know how a store like KMart expected to outlive the likes of Walmart.

That isn't to say Walmart is a perfect place either. In fact, I ***HATE*** going to Walmart. There is ALWAYS a super long line at the 3 of 30 registers actually open. The "Express" lanes are likely to take much longer than the regular lane. Evidently there is always a price discrepency at the "Express" lane, or some old person is writing a check, or they are counting out change from the bottom of a purse to give exact change.

"The "Express" lanes are likely to take much longer than the regular lane."

yes... humans will always systematically ruin any technology that is designed to help them do things faster

I know Murphy has a law... I wonder who's law that is?

I had a conversation with a big box retailer's LP director a few months ago. While not as big as Wal-Mart, they are in the top 5. Her comment was that they spend about $100 per camera so migrating to IP would literally break the budget due to per-camera cost and associated system upgrades. Leading edge technology is never going to easily find a home in a budget-strapped lowest bid, lowest price enterprise. That alone keeps most large and small retailers out of the "early adopter" class.

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