LP Magazine

SEP-OCT 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

Issue link: http://digital.lpportal.com/i/1030193

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 68

are faced with a slew of consideration as they look at if, when, and how best to use the technology. Here are issues and advice offered up in interviews with the top vendors, LP directors who use and have tested the technology, and consultants that have helped clients with testing and implementing FRT systems: Q Price and performance. "It's not CSI yet," warned Rieger. "That idea that you can take a cloudy image and turn it into a crystal-clear picture…it's better than it was five years ago, but you're not going to generate something out of nothing. And with a wig and hat, it's not going to recognize me." If there is an insufficient number of points to triangulate, a system can't generate an informed match, Rieger noted, in which case it can return multiple individuals. "Accuracy isn't necessarily the problem; it's more whether you're not going to get too many false hits and distract staff. That and whether you have the capital expense funds to get the technology you need to make it work." How much you can spend will influence the speed of the results you're going to get, he added. Q Theft rates. Consider the current amount of store theft to calculate a system's potential value. "When it comes to alerting if someone previously apprehended enters the building, we would have to enroll a whole lot of people to pay for one store's system in order to realize an ROI. We simply don't apprehend that volume of people," said one system tester. "Certainly any retailer that has an ORC or a local loss prevention problem and high-loss stores is going to see the technology become effective faster," said Fleischman. Q Marketing. Sweetening the business case through marketing and sales uses is an attractive option. As Patel's real-world, VIP customer enhancement effort indicates, there are opportunities for positive uses of FRT and other identification technologies. Both Palmer and Rieger think approaching solutions from both marketing and security perspectives can make for a more compelling business case. "Positive uses are available, such as for a loyalty program. The technology can absolutely do it," said Rieger. Q Databases. In examining a prospective system, get clarity on how data is controlled and where matching data comes from. That can be important information to consider alongside an assessment of issues associated with potential changes in privacy law. Q Bundling. Investigate the ability to tie in other analytics. Facial recognition, as a standalone, will not provide the same value to LP as bundling it with other data sources to improve its accuracy and broaden its utility, said one expert. Q Partnering. For effective applications in retail, LP leaders shouldn't try to go it alone. "Absolutely, partnerships with IT and working with technology teams is an important part of it," said Uma Welingkar, product manager at 3VR. It seems to be the thing that best enables projects to progress past the testing stage, she suggested. Q Maintenance. Pay attention to a system's need for servicing during a technology trial. "It proved challenging how sensitive the equipment was. Even just the HVAC unit kicking on could blow toward a camera and throw it out of whack and need a service person to adjust it," said one LP director involved in a FRT trial. "It was more sensitive than I expected and needed fine tuning, although I expect that would have improved over time." The most critical piece of advice, identified by several experts, is to review and plan the operational aspects of a system and to not just measure the technology's ability to provide high-confidence matches. They stressed that to accurately assess a system's potential value you need to know how you can and want to use it: Q Can you send an alert to multiple mobile devices? A central location? What does it consist of? Q Will you leverage value by assessing patterns, such as the days of the week or the time of day when events are happening? Recidivism across a network of stores? Q If you're going to have staff approach identified suspicious persons, is training sufficient? Is turnover too high? Q What are the time constraints of the people who will be needed to manage the process? How long will it take to follow your process for validating an alert? Is it time and resources you have available? To effectively operationalize FRT, planning, policies, and practices need to accompany the technology, warned Rieger, and setting up a pilot with a vendor to test the system and compare it to control stores is a good way to answer those questions. "It's not a technology that you want to be afraid of," said Rieger. As a tool against ORC, he thinks it potentially holds significant value for retailers. "But there is a lot to consider, a lot of questions to answer, and departments like HR and legal to get involved. FRT is not a technology that you can just put in." The most critical piece of advice, identied by several experts, is to review and plan the operational aspects of a system and to not just measure the technology's ability to provide high-condence matches. Uma Welingkar 22 SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM AN ABOUT-FACE FOR LP?

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of LP Magazine - SEP-OCT 2018