Connect with us

Featured

Surveillance tech comes down in cost, rises in value

Today’s surveillance systems are no longer just about monitoring, but more so the intelligence that sits on the camera and what businesses can do with that information proactively, writes KEVIN PADAYACHEE, product manager for Surveillance at Rectron

Published

on

Video surveillance has been around for years with the primary aim of recording criminal related activity. However, technological advancements have transformed surveillance capabilities by adding business intelligence components. In turn, transforming businesses.

South Africa’s economy has hit a slump, contracting 3.2% in the first three months of 2019, according to Statistics South Africa.

Given the country’s constricted business climate, companies have got to find every edge to be more efficient in order to increase service levels, productivity and revenue. Fortunately, today’s surveillance systems equipped with BI allow businesses to do just that, effectively.

The infrastructure needed to monitor multiple cameras can now be achieved with one device, cutting the costs of servers, installation, labour, trenching, and not to mention the price tag that comes with having to purchase multiple cameras to monitor a small area.

Solutions integrated with business intelligence components can provide businesses with useful data which can then be used for actionable insights to spur growth and generate revenue.  

Wide-angle cameras

Businesses can achieve a lot more through a single wide-angle camera, more specifically 180 and 360-degree fisheye cameras.

The VIVOTEK MS9390-HV offers an 8MP image over 180 degrees. This is a combination of parameters that enables effective wide angle monitoring over 50m across from single camera that could rest in the palm of your hand. Integrators can reduce the overall footprint of their surveillance solution and hence the actual cost for the end user.

Real-time

For companies, having information at a later stage is of no help if action needs to be taken now. It is critical for businesses that they are in the know how, right now, in order to gain that competitive edge and ensure no revenue is lost.

Using public transportation as an example, if 100 people are travelling on a bus, but only 80 have paid, the route supervisor will receive a notification in real-time alerting to the fact that 20 commuters have an outstanding payment.  This information is not only necessary, but conveniently displayed and logged for later reference.

Alternatively, in the retail sector for example, Take the likes of VIVOTEK’s 12MP FE9191 fisheye camera with video content analysis which captures a 360-degree view when mounted on a ceiling, so businesses no longer require the installation of numerous cameras to cover a wide area.

If too many people are queuing in one area, the FE9191 Fisheye sends off an immediate trigger the moment the customer count exceeds the threshold in a designated area. The floor manager can then make changes to the staffing arrangement to accommodate this. This solution helps create a more efficient work environment with satisfied customers all around.

On-board analytics

Cameras and video content analysis (VCA) software have merged, playing a critical role in keeping places secure. However, onboard analytics are being used increasingly to also enhance business intelligence for users in various verticals.

Cameras with onboarding analytics also mean more intelligence and processing within, so all important data is captured, sent or stored for post-incident retrieval and analysis, allowing companies to make smarter choices going forward.

In the retail sector for example, a mall using the VIVOTEK SC8131 Counting Camera can count how many individuals entered store A compared to store B. Based on this information, the mall can then increase store A’s rent if the number was significantly higher than store B.

How does it work? No server is required as everything takes place on the camera. The solution uses a camera with 2 sensors and artificial intelligence to accurately identify human only objects. This reports to VIVOTEK VAST2 video management software or can be integrated into any other Customer Relationship Management software, a dashboard for performance monitoring then appears showing the total amount of people who entered the mall, store A and store B.  

Cloud access

At the end of the day, companies want a quick, convenient setup, not to mention having the freedom to access their solution from any location. This feeds into the growing demand for cloud access solutions, allowing companies to remotely access their surveillance system via the cloud, anytime, anywhere.

In the past, if you wanted to install an IP surveillance system you needed several components and a server to record video. However, Cloud access has changed the game. Companies can now take a single IP surveillance camera and make it a system entirely on its own

For example, with one camera using VIVOCloud from VIVOTEK, a company can access, view and playback recorded footage via an SD card, allowing for full functionality. The result? A scalable solution that is easy to access.  

Given the current economic climate in South Africa, businesses looking for a competitive edge should consider adopting a suitable surveillance system to improve performance levels and capitalise on emerging opportunities as they happen.

Featured

Stop being creepy! An essential guide for digital marketers

Advertising and marketing is becoming increasingly creepy as personalisation strategies lose the plot, writes JOAN OSTERLOH, authorised Forrester Research Partner for South Africa.

Published

on

Marketers need to be aware of the “creep factor” when deploying strategies of personalisation and individualisation in their marketing efforts, Forrester’s Brendan Witcher, VP and principal analyst serving eBusiness and channel strategy professionals, warned as early as December 2017.

Six months later, Forrester senior analyst Susan Bidel was even more direct in her message: “Marketers, you need to take control of your advertising strategies and adtech stacks now to better address today’s consumers.” She cautioned that those who didn’t, were at a high risk of annoying and creeping out the very customers needed for business growth.

In its latest research, “Marketers Versus Customers: Opposing Forces  Erupt” Forrester now finds that even though marketers set out with the best intentions to implement customer-obsessed marketing and customer experience strategies, they still end up alienating and ‘creeping out’ customers, resulting in lost loyalty.

Marketers use personalisation to make their marketing more relevant and to help it stand out, Forrester says in a blog on the study. The irony is that with all the customer data that marketers use to personalise, the one thing they seem to have forgotten to find out from consumers is whether they even want personalised communication at all, the firm writes. Combined with identity resolution and increased automation, companies have created adtech and martech stacks that are creeping people out. We think our phones are listening to us. And then Facebook admits it is doing this. So, what’s gone wrong?

The report by Melissa Parrish, Forrester’s VP and group director serving marketing professionals, highlights that marketers are ignoring their customers’ desire for anonymity, by assuming that they all want personalised experiences. They are foregoing the authenticity of their own brands by “giving lip service to brand values they think resonate with customers.” There’s an overt focus on martech at the expense of human creativity. Lastly, they’re profiling customers on precarious connections and getting it wrong, sometimes with harmful and even traumatic results, she explains.

The solution is to return to true customer-centricity by going back to basics by looking at the following, Parrish writes in the report:

  1. Remember that customers are different.  Here it’s not about customer segments or personas, but rather the extent to which they expect you to know them. Treat customers and prospects differently – e.g. prospects “want value, not a background check”.
  2. Customers are tired of lookalike ads and direct mail that is poorly personalised, trying to get them to buy things for which they’re not even in the market.  Choose your target audience, focus on them, and then let go of the others.
  3. Programmatic marketing has its upsides and downsides.  Avoid the two extremes of advertising at scale across multiple channels on the one hand and limiting advertising to channels where everyone seems to be at once, such as Facebook, on the other.  Instead, target your audience with responsible content and choose platforms on which you can reach them online and offline.
  4. Consider whether you should be using cookie, key-stroke and audience data at all for your brand.  Intent-based target marketing through search optimization might be a smarter choice.
  5. Don’t assume that personalisation will make customer experiences more relevant.  Rather interview your customers and test different variations of personalised content to find the right balance between information, recommendations, simplicity and empathy.
  6. Don’t ignore the 20% who don’t want any personalisation at all – use your customer insights data to identify them, and then meet their expectation of no personalisation.

Parrish offers important recommendations for the winning marketers of the future. Since the success of marketing is measured by the bottom line of revenue generation, truly customer-obsessed marketers need KPIs that are “fine-tuned” to understand what customers value, not what’s valuable to the brand, she writes. What customers want and value should be defined in terms of four dimensions along the axes of functional-experiential, and economic-symbolic.  Then, measure the dimensions along the entire customer life cycle, she explains. What this requires is the following:

Firstly, marketing and Customer Experience (CX) teams need to unify and leverage one another’s unique skills to deliver best-in-class customer experiences that drive loyalty, customer retention and growth.  Truly customer-obsessed brands will bring CX and marketing together to harness the best that both have to offer.

Secondly, brands need to rebuild trust.  As consumers become more privacy-savvy, they will become more selective about the brands with which they are willing to share their data.  Marketers need to develop ‘Privacy Personas’ as a new marketing segment to ensure that they deliver experiences their customers are comfortable with.

Thirdly, refocus on creative excellence. In Parrish’s words “new prospecting strategies will center on great creative making an emotional impact and contextual targeting driving relevance.”

Lastly marketers need to find ways to extend customer obsession throughout the enterprise. Employees need to be empowered to deliver on the brand promise, which must align to and be in harmony with CX.   The companies that thrive will be those whose CX truly reflects brand values, Parrish concludes.  

Sources: “Marketers Versus Customers: Opposing Forces  Erupt18 Sept 2019. By Melissa Parrish with Sharyn Leaver, Brigitte Majewski, Caroline Robertson, and Stephanie Liu.

Continue Reading

Featured

Which should you use: PIN or Password?

By CHAD HAMMOND, a digital security expert at NordPass

Published

on

As users of this digital age, we have many different choices. You can enable or disable web cookies, depending on how much information you want a website to gather about you. You can use encrypted services or unencrypted ones, depending on how much you’re concerned about your privacy and security.

You can also use a PIN (Personal Identification Number) or password to secure your digital devices or online accounts. However, in this particular case, the choice for most of us is not as straightforward as it seems.

The other day I also had the very same discussion among my friends with three different sides of opinion. One side was backing PINs and claiming that they are safer than passwords. Others couldn’t believe that PINs made up of four, six, or eight digits can be more reliable than long and complex passwords. And the third group was claiming that both PIN and password serve the same purpose of identification and are safe to use. All sides had valuable insights, but we couldn’t reach an agreement. Sparked by this discussion, I decided to look deeper into this topic and look for the truth.

When should you use a PIN?

PIN stands for a Personal Information Number and is used the same as a password to prove that you have the right to access your data. A PIN usually consists of a string of four to eight numbers, and it was first introduced in the 1960s together with cash machines (ATMs). The obvious drawback is that a PIN is limited to 0-9 numerical digits. A PIN made up of four numbers offers 10,000 possible combinations. That may seem like an easy nut to crack, but it’s not as straightforward.

PINs are normally used on touchscreen devices and always require manual data entry. An automated brute-force attack may not work as most of the systems that use a PIN also specify maximum attempts count before disabling the device.

For example, if your device limits PIN entry to six attempts, there is a 0.06% chance that someone will be lucky enough to crack the four-digit code. Of course, if your PIN is ‘0000’ or ‘1234,’ the probability of being hacked increases massively.

When should you use a password?

A good password is a combination of numerical digits, upper- and lowercase letters, and various special characters. It could also be a phrase made up of words with the same requirements. Like the PIN, the password concept first appeared in the early 1960s and has been used ever since. A 10-character password has 59,873,693,923,837,900,000 different variations, and most of you are probably thinking you know which of the two is more secure. However, it’s not all about mathematics.

Passwords are used online or for devices like computers, which usually don’t have any limits on failed attempts. That’s why passwords can be compromised with the help of an automated brute-force attack. Of course, not all attacks are practical, as most of them would take years to crack a strong password. Buthacking technologies are evolving fast, making such attacks more sophisticated and successful.

Password vs. PIN: the verdict

Going back to the discussion that I had with my friends, we can safely say that all the opinions were correct in one way or another. The answer to this question depends on where you use your PIN or password.

If you want to unlock your touchscreen device, the safest and easiest way is to use a PIN because of the manual entry and the attempt limit. When it comes to online accounts or computers, passwords are much safer due to the simple math of available combinations.

Also, you can enable multi-factor authentication (2FA) in most online accounts . The 2FA adds another layer of safety, minimizing the risks of automated brute-force attacks. Even if someone manages to get your strong password, they won’t be able to access your account, as the second step of verification will stop them.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 World Wide Worx