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January 3, 2023


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Cloud physical security: Supporting digital transformation in retail logistics

Scott Gray, Head of Sales at Morphean, explains how connected cloud physical security technologies can unlock insights to help prevent retail losses and streamline operations.


Credit: Ronstik/AlamyStock

Digital transformation and the ongoing move towards cloud-based platforms and infrastructure has brought significant change to the world of physical security. Many businesses, having migrated to cloud physical security platforms are enjoying the benefits of comprehensive and robust solutions to better protect their assets, premises and people.

Yet, thinking of such technology as being for security purposes only is to do it a huge disservice. Today’s versatile IoT devices, connected to cloud platforms, unlock incredible potential to accelerate and enhance digital transformation.

Cloud enables IoT devices and sensors to work together, which in turn improves accuracy and reliability. Utilising video data and processing it through an analytics engine can transform the network cameras that organisations already employ on site for security into powerful business intelligence tools. Retail distribution and logistics is one area in which new applications of physical security technology can make a real difference, helping to improve transaction accuracy and boost profits through verification of sales, order processing and delivery success.

Order processing made visible to prevent profit loss

A major headache within retail distribution and logistics environments has come from an inability to provide timely and accurate evidence about the processing of orders. When a customer complains that an order is missing, or incomplete, there is very little that the business can do but admit fault and agree to process a refund. When a business receives multiple complaints of this nature it begins to prove costly and becomes very difficult to investigate each case or attribute blame without absolute proof of foul play, or an error in its processes.

Greater visibility is therefore required into the process of order fulfilment, helping both customer experience and profit protection teams to understand where problems are occurring so that full accountability can be ensured. This is where innovations in physical security technology really come to the fore, with track-and-trace solutions that can communicate with security devices resulting in a tool that can check all transactions and bring clarity to order processing.

Business intelligence from video data

Cloud-AccessControl-21Transaction checking software, combined with video data from network surveillance cameras results in a business intelligence solution that allows users to link video of the picking and packing process with information, such as a transaction ID, date and time. This combination of process-driven data, backed by high-quality video, provides proof that an order has been fulfilled and dispatched, giving a retailer the crucial evidence it needs to assist in any customer dispute, should one arise.

With a solution in place that can monitor the product journey from the time it is picked, through packing and delivery to a customer door or a store, retailers can have full peace of mind that all of their processes are fully tracked, adding a greatly needed layer of profit protection. Video can be retrieved instantly as required and this provides full transparency across packing lines, or even within retail goods manufacturing, where quality control may be an issue and similar evidence of processes and procedures may need to be accessed.

Security and accountability

As each order can now be tracked up to the point that it leaves the building, the whereabouts of an order can be easily determined. The courier will have its own system for recording receipt of a package and its delivery, so that between the retailer’s in-house system and the couriers’ own system, the complete journey can be checked and verified. In the event of a return of goods, or if a customer dispute is instigated, the process is now far easier to manage when detailed proof, backed by video evidence, can be produced at the touch of a button.

The ability to link manual processes to video data provides accountability and security for orders.

And those retailers who have implemented such a solution are already reaping the benefits.

A household name in fashion streetwear and sportwear has reported that missing item queries have reduced by 50% and that delivery success has increased by 25% as a direct result of the combination of video and process data within their busy warehouses.

Continued advancements in AI and deep learning mean that the capabilities of cloud physical security will naturally increase further over time, leading to a continued use of network cameras in many other powerful applications within the retail environment. Increasingly interconnected with processes and services as an integral component in business operations, cloud physical security will become an integral part of the digital transformation agenda as a tool for adding real value within dynamic and evolving business environments.


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