Video Surveillance: The Shift to HD

Keith Marett, VP marketing and communications, Avigilon, Vancouver, B.C., (

Video surveillance is undergoing a major change as analog systems are replaced with high-definition, high-megapixel cameras and NVRs (network video recorders). Chain Store Age spoke with Keith Marett, VP marketing and communications for Avigilon, a leader in high-definition (HD) and megapixel video surveillance systems, about the shift from analog to digital systems.

What are the latest trends in video surveillance?

The latest trends in video surveillance are the transition from analog to digital systems and mobile application support. We’re helping our customers with this transition by providing them with the highest-quality images so that they have the best evidence at their disposal. Mobile application support is another trend with high adoption. Having the ability to view live and recorded HD surveillance from any location over an iPhone, iPad or Android mobile device shortens response times when you’re in large areas like a retail environment. 

How widely used is video surveillance in the retail environment?

Video surveillance in the retail environment is widely used, but the industry has been slow to adopt HD surveillance. This is largely due to the impact the recession had on the retail industry. But with the improvement of economic conditions, we’re seeing a lot of retailers investing in HD surveillance systems to help with loss prevention and provide better customer service.

Another factor playing into the slow adoption of HD surveillance in retail is existing infrastructure. Retailers typically have a significant investment in video surveillance. We can help retailers transition to HD with a full system installation or by providing components, such as software and encoders, that are compatible with existing analog cameras and systems. It’s a cost-effective way for retailers to get the benefits of HD while using their existing systems.

How does HD video surveillance help retailers?

It reduces theft and delivers better customer service. With an HD video surveillance system, retailers can proactively prevent internal and external theft to save lost revenue, but it can also help with non-security applications. Retailers can analyze traffic flow, staff efficiency, sales and time attendance, as well as employee conformance to company policies. They can even view stock levels on shelves and manage line-ups at checkouts.

What is the difference between an analog-based surveillance system and a high-definition surveillance solution?

The biggest difference retailers will notice is image quality. In the same way that most of us used to have analog televisions at home and now have switched over to high-definition TVs, the surveillance industry is going through the same transition. The image quality is far superior, so retailers can confidently use video to identify shoplifters and prevent potential lawsuits, in addition to a whole host of non-security applications.

Why is it so important for retailers that a system capture the highest-quality images possible and record them exactly as they occurred?

It’s important so that they can then be used in investigations and identify potential issues before they happen. As any local law enforcement will tell retailers, it is truly the best evidence. While image quality is obviously very important, the other factor that is essential for retailers is how easy it is for their staff to search and play back video. The ease of use of our system will enhance the productivity of security personnel and speed up investigation time.

How is Avigilon positioned in the marketplace?

Avigilon can help you protect and monitor diverse locations with the best image clarity, including retail environments. Our HD Network Video Management Software and megapixel cameras deliver superior image quality and maximum coverage. What’s unique is that Avigilon components work in an end-to-end solution or with their existing system to enhance their current capabilities. Retailers can customize their own powerful, scalable and cost-effective surveillance solutions so they get the best evidence possible.

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