The number of burglaries and cases of shoplifting still increases, what makes owners of stores take appropriate security measures for elimination or at least reduction of these kinds of crime. Store owners sometimes do not decide to invest in CCTV systems for financial reasons. However, the mere presence of video monitoring discourages potential thieves and provides a "security package" that other systems do not. The most important assumptions for the roles of CCTV systems in stores are:
  • protection of the owner profits by counteracting theft,
  • securing the sale points against unauthorized operations (such as not registering products being sold, registering products under incorrect sales items) thanks to the POS function,
  • verification in the events of disputes with customers (incorrect price, improper change etc.),
  • detection of undesirable people,
  • source of statistical data to optimize the number of the points of sale, the distribution of goods throughout the store etc.
Cameras are used not only for security reasons – they are a source of valuable information that can improve the work of the store. Built-in image analytic systems can count customers, analyze their behavior, or monitor the queue length. Cameras implementing artificial intelligence algorithms allow users to develop a customer profile with features such as gender, age or color of clothing. All data can be reported and subjected to further analysis.
From conversations with the owners of this type of facilities, it appears that after introducing monitoring systems, the number of thefts decreases significantly. Video monitoring also has an impact on employees to improve customer service and solve contentious issues with customers more easily.
Cameras
In facilities where people, goods and money are to be carefully monitored, including the need to identify them, high resolution cameras have to be used. As a standard, these are 2 MP (1080p) and 4 MP cameras. Proper number of suitable cameras deployed in the entire facility, including parking lot etc., allows for full coverage without blind spots. The critical places are points of sale, where cameras should thoroughly monitor sales transactions including recognition of banknotes – 4K cameras will perform this job in the best way.
Compact IP Camera: Hikvision DS-2CD1043G0-I (4MP, 2.8mm, 0.028 lx, IR up to 30m, H.265/H.264)Compact IP Camera: Hikvision DS-2CD2083G2-I (8 MP, 2.8mm, 0,005lx, IR up to 40, WDR H.265, AcuSense)Ceiling IP Camera: Hikvision Hikvision DS-2CD2386G2-IU (8 MP, 2.8mm, 0,003lx, IR up to 30m, WDR, H.265, Audio, AcuSense)SIGNAL RAL7035 19Ceiling IP Camera: Hikvision DS-2CD1143G0-I (4MP, 2.8mm, 0.028 lx, IK10, IR up to 30m, H.265/H.264)4K IP NVR: Hikvision DS-7616NI-I2 (16ch, 160Mbps, 2xSATA, Alarm IN/OUT, VGA, HDMI)24Gigabit PoE Switch: TP-LINK TL-SG1008P (8 ports incl. 4xPoE)HDD Western Digital PURPLE WD40PURZ 4TB (3.5
An example of video surveillance system in a store, based on IP cameras

The key to the effectiveness of the system is the location of the cameras. Inside the store, the cameras should be arranged in such a way that they cover the maximum area of the store. In practice, it is the role of 4 MP cameras with wide-angle lenses (above 90o). They can provide coverage of the entire area with a sufficiently high ppm rate (the number of pixels per meter of the observed scene) and the monitoring of some areas from different perspectives. Most often, cameras are installed in the vicinity of cash registers, at the entrance door and along the store shelves. In the case of monitoring narrow, high alleys, the best coverage is provided by cameras using corridor function. During installation, it should be remembered that such cameras require 90o rotation in relation to the normal position .
Picture from a camera in normal mode
Picture from the camera in corridor mode
Remote access
Virtually every video recording device (DVR) and every NVR and IP camera has an IP network connector. After proper configuration, the devices are available from anywhere in the world, also from a mobile phone. Access to a device (to the live and archived video) is password-protected. The administrator of the system can give selective permissions to users. For monitoring purposes, it is good practice to create logically separated VLANs. Devices that stay within different virtual networks do not see each other and cannot communicate. Thanks to this, CCTV devices are protected against intentional or accidental activity of users of the same physical network. For example, employees of the company are not able to disrupt the monitoring system by connecting to the network various devices or by installing malicious software.

Protection of devices against physical access
All monitoring devices, servers, routers or switches should be protected from unauthorized access. All the devices should be placed in a closed RACK cabinet or a special enclosure in a separate, secure room.
View of a Signal rack cabinet with equipment installed

Integration of video monitoring with transaction data
By installing a CCTV system in facilities equipped with cash registers, fiscal printers, bar code scanners and other devices (e.g. scales) users have the possibility to combine both systems, which allows for additional monitoring and data archiving. Such a device is connected to the DVR/NVR (it must have a POS function) via the RS-232 or IP port. The image from the video channel with the POS function shows text data, allowing visual control of, for example, the product being sold, or the proper position of a truck on the platform for weighing vehicles.
Integration of a CCTV system with cash registers via RS-232
Integration of a CCTV system with cash registers via IP network
The POS function is supported by Hikvision TurboHD DVRs equipped with RS-232 interface and by NVRs of I series. Aside from the universal protocol, they support EPSON and AVE variants. The POS data is integrated with the recordings, so it is possible to search them by key words (e.g. the name of a product or the bar code number).
Queue management at supermarket checkouts
Appropriate management of queues at supermarket checkouts is extremely important both from the point of view of the customers and the store. It minimizes the waiting time and optimizes the use of checkout points. The DS-2CD7126G0/L-IZS camera from the Hikvision's DeepinView series has a queue management function and can be used to implement this type of projects. After logging in to the camera, the administrator can set up the zone in which the analysis will be performed. During camera configuration it is necessary to specify the maximum number of people who can wait in the defined zone. When the number is exceeded, the alarm event can trigger e.g. sending an email notification or message to the iVMS-4200 monitoring center to inform the staff. In addition, the camera can create statistics that can be used for further analysis.
Queue management at supermarket checkouts with the use of DS-2CD7126G0/L-IZS cameras.
After the number of people in a zone exceeds a threshold, the camera notifies the staff.

In the above diagram, the store has three checkout points. When the number of people in the queue to a given checkout exceeds the programmed value, the corresponding camera sends notification signaling the necessity to open another checkout.
In-store heat mapping
An in-store "heat map" is a visualization of the analysis of images from cameras deployed in a store, illustrating customers' behavior. Such a map shows the key parameters from the point of view of the seller, i.e. the ways customers usually move and how much time they spend in places with specific goods or at some shelves. This information can be used for better organization of the store space and optimization of the placement of products on the shelves.
The visualization is usually available in the form of spatial statistics shown as colors on the store's plan. For example, red color in the image means the places most often visited by customers, blue color – the opposite situation. The intermediate states have adequate representation in the color scale.
An in-store heat map
This function is an ideal tool for managers in supermarkets, discounters and smaller stores. The heat map function is available in selected Hikvsion fisheye (line 6) and iDS cameras.
Automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR)
The car parking system can be supplemented with a solution allowing identification of vehicles. For example, it can be used at an enclosed area for the vehicles of the company staff. The simplest number plate recognition system requires application of only one dedicated IP camera. The memory of the camera stores the database of vehicles that are authorized to enter. After detecting such vehicle, the opening of the barrier will be triggered by the camera via its alarm output. If the camera is connected to a DVR/NVR, the metadata from the detected number plates is collected together with the recordings. If necessary, the recordings can be search by entering a number plate.
In a more extended system including also the parking lot area for customers, thanks to availability of SDK the data from cameras can be integrated with an external accounting system charging for using the car park, usually after a free period. It is also possible to apply other statistical functions, such as an average stop time, regions of origin of customers, or differentiation of vehicle makes.
Diagram illustrating the positioning of an LPR camera in the horizontal plane.
The horizontal angle β should not exceed 30°.