BVI Retail Video Analytics Examined

By: John Honovich, Published on Aug 15, 2011

For years, retail video analytics have been cited as having great potential. Despite this, large scale applications have been relatively scarce. In the midst of general concerns and lawsuits about video analytics, a US based retail video analytics provider, BVI Networks has recently announced $8 million in funding, the largest funding the company has ever received.

BVI Overview

BVI's offering is called RetailNEXT and is supplied on the RN series of appliances, as well as software-only for customers who would like to supply their own hardware. These appliances come in desktop as well as 1-3 rack unit form factors, capable of 500GB-4TB of on-board storage. The RN appliance handles all functions of the system, and is configured in one of two ways: in-store or regional/corporate. The in-store appliance is used to capture all data, whether it be video, analytic data, or data from other sensors.

RetailNEXT integrates with third-party VMSs, such as Genetec or Milestone, and a number of DVRs. Stored video is retrieved from the external video system and analyzed. Since these analytics are not for critical security uses, use of non-real-time video is suitable. Aside from the integration, the RN appliance is also capable of performing basic video management, with live and archived video available via web client. The web client also offers a dashboard view of all data, video and otherwise. Clicking a spike in interest in a certain display, for example, retrieves video associated with that spike, making searches quicker as opposed to manual review of video.

BVI offers video analytic functionality like numerous other vendors, such as people counting and dwell time, and can send alerts when thresholds for these analytics are violated. RetailNEXT also offers functionality unique to retail, however, by integrating to other systems in the store. Integrating analytic data with point-of-sale and inventory systems, for example, allows the retailer to see how many dwells resulted in a sale (called a conversion), and with which products. 

Compared to Security Analytics

The BVI platform differs from typical security analytics in a few ways.

  • Since these analytic functions are not critical to safety and security, accuracy is not as critical. BVI claims 95% accuracy rates and above when properly applied. 
  • Cameras for these functions are typically in locations different from typical cameras used for security and loss prevention. Cameras gauging dwell time for a particular display, or counting entries and exits to a store, are typically mounted directly overhead, a view which is almost never used under normal circumstances. 
  • Partly due to this positioning, RetailNEXT's analytics are meant to perform without any calibration. Users need to set bounding boxes for certain displays and areas, but under normal circumstances, the company says that no manual calibration is needed.

There are many analytic programs which can measure queue length and dwell time. We had a LinkedIn discussion focusing on this very issue a few months back, in which users reported varying levels of success with other platforms.

RetailNEXT analyzes video as well as correlates data from external systems, such as POS and inventory systems. Where many security analytics would use an analytic event to alarm, BVI uses this data for data mining. So, functions such as dwell time are more detailed, allowing average dwell time, maximum, minimum, number of people who dwelled, etc.

Third, since BVI is not intending to be an all-in-one platform like security analytic providers, they have tailored their analytics to perform in one environment, for a select few purposes. This, they claim, allows them to have accuracy rates much higher than security analytics deployed for the same uses. This makes sense, as a camera intended simply to count how many people enter and exit a store, and located properly, is bound to perform better than a camera used for other surveillance functions, as part of a suite of everything-to-everyone analytics.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Go to Market

BVI goes to market in two ways:

  • Integrator channel: Unlike many analytic providers, BVI partners not only with security integrators, but with POS and IT integrators, as well. When considering the market they are targeting, this makes sense. These integrators may have a better relationship with the retail stores, considering the amount of business they do compared to security.
  • Merchandising Firms: BVI has partnered with merchandising firms to provide them information on sales performance. Customers may buy blocks of time in which they can test new displays or products. Coca-Cola, for instance, may purchase a three-month window of access to local stores' RetailNEXT systems. This gives them access to in-store data regarding impressions, dwell times, purchases, etc.

Competitive Positioning

There are two major offerings for retail video analytics:

  • Embedded analytics: VMS/NVR providers, such as 3VR, i3DVR and Clickit who embed video functionalities inside their appliances. This is a low cost / turnkey approach where retail video analytics are offered at a small premium to simply buying a regular 'box'. These providers have achieved at least moderate mainstream traction.
  • Add on analytics: Retail video analytic specialists offer their offerings as a complement to existing video recording systems. This includes companies like LightHaus, Scopix, VideoMining and BVI Networks. They tend to be much more expensive but may offer more sophisticated analysis. Adoption for many of these has been quite limited.

We do not know enough about the details of each offering to comment on low level comparisons. However, we believe the adoption of the retail-specific analytics has been and will continue to be stronger. Typically, these projects are sold on a large scale, at multiple locations of the same retailer, and often nationwide. BVI, for example, cites Macy's as a national account. Even if only a handful of channels are sold per store, it would mean thousands of channels have been sold.

We do see being an add-on to existing systems as a barrier to adoption by smaller stores who may not have the same budgets as other stores. BVI's NVR functionality may be able to overcome some of this, since it would lower total cost of ownership versus installing and maintaining multiple systems for these locations, who typically have less intense video management requirements, as well.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Security Integrators Outlook On Remaining Integrators In 2025 on Aug 22, 2019
The industry has changed substantially in the last decade, with the rise of IP cameras and the race to the bottom. Indeed, more changes may be...
Anyvision Facial Recognition Tested on Aug 21, 2019
Anyvision is aiming for $1 billion in revenue by 2022, backed by $74 million in funding. But does their performance live up to the hype they have...
Verkada People And Face Analytics Tested on Aug 16, 2019
This week, Verkada released "People Analytics", including face analytics that they describe is a "game-changing feature" that "pushes the...
Biometrics Usage Statistics 2019 on Aug 13, 2019
Biometrics are commonly used in phones, but how frequently are they used for access? 150+ integrators told us how often they use biometrics,...
US Government Ban of Dahua, Hikvision, Huawei Takes Effect Now on Aug 13, 2019
The 'prohibition on use or procurement' of Dahua, Hikvision and Huawei products and 'essential components' take effect today, August 13, 2019, one...
Proactive CCTV "Only Affordable Video Archiving Solution" Profile on Aug 12, 2019
Proactive CCTV is claiming to offer "the only affordable video archiving solution on the market", reducing the storage typically required for H.265...
Dahua Analytics+ Tested on Aug 07, 2019
Dahua's analytics have performed poorly in past shootouts. But now, they claim their new Analytics+ "algorithms significantly improve accuracy and...
Honeywell Speaks On NDAA Ban, New Non-Banned Cameras and Cybersecurity on Aug 06, 2019
For years, Honeywell has depended on Dahua, a company with a poor cybersecurity track record and now banned by the US NDAA, for the development and...
Australia Security Full Show Report on Jul 25, 2019
IPVM went to Australia attending the 3 days of the Australia Security Exhibition: This was held at the ICC Sydney, as shown below: In this...
Responsibility Split Selecting Locks - Statistics on Jul 22, 2019
A heated access debate surrounds who should pick and install the locks. While responsible for selecting the control systems, integrators often...

Most Recent Industry Reports

TMA Apologizes to Amazon / Ring on Aug 23, 2019
Not only is Amazon / Ring making major incursions into the residential security market, the organization representing the biggest incumbents, The...
China Dahua Replaces Their Software With US Pepper on Aug 22, 2019
What does a US government banned company do to improve its security positioning in the US? Well, Dahua is unveiling a novel solution, partnering...
Security Integrators Outlook On Remaining Integrators In 2025 on Aug 22, 2019
The industry has changed substantially in the last decade, with the rise of IP cameras and the race to the bottom. Indeed, more changes may be...
First GDPR Facial Recognition Fine For Sweden School on Aug 22, 2019
A school in Sweden has been fined $20,000 for using facial recognition to keep attendance in what is Sweden's first GDPR fine. Notably, the fine is...
Anyvision Facial Recognition Tested on Aug 21, 2019
Anyvision is aiming for $1 billion in revenue by 2022, backed by $74 million in funding. But does their performance live up to the hype they have...
JCI Sues Wyze on Aug 21, 2019
The mega manufacturer / integrator JCI has sued the fast-growing $20 camera Seattle startup Wyze. Inside this note: Share the court...
Dahua 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 20, 2019
Dahua's new Pro Series 4K N85CL5Z claims to "deliver superior images in all lighting and environmental conditions", but how does this compare to...
ZK Teco Atlas Access Control Tested on Aug 20, 2019
Who needs access specialists? China-based ZKTeco claims its newest access panel 'makes it very easy for anyone to learn and install access control...
Uniview Beats Intel In Trademark Lawsuit on Aug 19, 2019
Uniview has won a long-running trademark lawsuit brought by Intel, with Beijing's highest court reversing an earlier Intel win, centered on...
Suprema Biometric Mass Leak Examined on Aug 19, 2019
While Suprema is rarely discussed even within the physical security market, the South Korean biometrics manufacturer made global news this past...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact