Is Integrating PoS and Video Surveillance a Good Idea?

By John Honovich, Published Feb 28, 2010, 12:00am EST

While the answer to this frequently posed question is an obvious yes, it misses the real problem in integrating the two technologies (see a classic example in a retail magazine).

The key issue is how costly and complex is it to deliver this in production. Like many issues in security technology, the critical problems are (1) a lack of standards and (2) hundreds of suppliers. Integrating PoS and video surveillance requires direct support between your video surveillance and PoS vendors. Since all integrations are proprietary and since there are so many combinations, it is unlikely that any user's combination works. As a result, only about 25% of retailers integrate PoS and video surveillance (shown in the NRF survey).

That's the biggest but not the only issue:

  • Video surveillance vendors will say they support PoS but when it comes down to a customer's specific system they may not support it and it may be very hard for them to add support (the PoS vendor may not be interested or require a significant payment)
  • Older systems require integration on a physical level at each cash register requiring significant on-site expenses. 
  • Many users have multiple manufacturers of video surveillance recorders making interoperability even harder.
  • While many DVRs/NVRs/VMS have PoS integration, a lot of it is fairly rudimentary and unlikely to provide sufficient value.

None of this is to say that you should not pursue such integration. It can provide significant benefits but the logistical issues are important and need to be carefully examined in planning.

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