Cameras have been used to monitor people since the beginnings of television. The first notable event was when the Metropolitan Police requested the footage of the Royal Wedding in 1960, this was to evaluate the deployment of officers at the scene. Then, the development of the video recorder in the 1960’s spurred the growth of the ever-present CCTV system - enabling the identification of individuals involved in crimes, especially in shoplifting - this stimulated its use to almost every public place. In 1999 it was estimated that in an urban environment on a busy day, a person could have their image captured by over 300 cameras on thirty separate CCTV systems!
Whilst fighting crime has been a major motivation in the vast acceptance of CCTV, marketing has also played a significant role in its technological development and its varying uses. “Smart Video” can now accurately identify and catalogue key demographics, or biometrics of populations in commercial environments- such as hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and clubs. The age and gender of people within the scope of these facilities can be captured and cross-referenced with the time of day, footfall, and point of sale metrics, producing valuable marketing data. The main result of using these types of technology within these commercial areas is, the ability to provide more responsive merchandising and service delivery, accurately reflecting the wants, needs and preferences of the customer, customising displays and offers to the analytics now being held- thereby taking much of the guesswork out of marketing and sales campaigns.
An example of utilising this analytical data gained from Smart Video would be the ability to increase stocks of certain, at specific times, to cater for younger customers, or staffing in a department may be increased to deal with an expected influx of shoppers at certain times. In-store advertisements could change in response to variations in the predominant gender of people accessing the building, so that a young woman entering a store may get a promotion for perfume while an older male may get one for aftershave. Smart Video enables this to be done in real time and can be combined with other software systems, which could help with staff rosters and working hours.
So where does CCTV go from here? Smart Video’s limitations are really only those of the imagination. It already enables facial recognition to a high degree of accuracy, and that, combined with the plethora of other information that exists about it, could provide tailored shopping experiences with pinpoint accuracy. Indeed, its capabilities are soon expected to include recognition of an individual’s mood - hopefully confirming what every retailer wishes to see - a happy shopper!Back