As the U.S. economy continues to worsen, many businesses today are faced with unprecedented pressure to increase their bottom line. Flat to declining revenue, the increased cost of goods and tight credit markets inhibiting growth pose real threats to the hospitality and retail industry. An ever-increasing reality is the need to leverage new and innovative methods to drive operational efficiencies and increase employee productivity. Video, more specifically, managed video as a service (MVaaS) is one example of an emerging technology that companies can use to drive operational efficiencies. When coupled with point-of-sale (POS) data, MVaaS offers operators a second security touch point that was not available before.
Traditionally, companies have utilized video surveillance systems with the principal objective of premises monitoring, security and surveillance. Yet many operators will find that these extended length tape recorders, used to monitor theft, documents and disputes, are not ideally suited for large scale deployment. Additionally, when managed across multiple locations, operators are required to use special equipment to view the tapes and must dedicate tedious, time-consuming man-hours to reviewing them.
A relatively new phenomenon is emerging within the video surveillance market: the ability to integrate POS data with video. Integrating video with the POS enables users to quickly and easily gain visual context into every aspect of their operations. Through this combination, users can quickly identify relevant video based on key operational data to provide a deeper more detailed look into transactions without having to sift through hours of video. Users can access remote (live and recorded) video from multiple locations simultaneously via the Internet.
MVaaS offerings such as that from Envysion, the solution in place at several of Wright III Food's Burger King locations, provides a single point of central administration to easily control multiple-users, their access and roles, and camera and DVR parameters.
Custom exception-based reports aggregate data and highlight suspicious trends and behaviors at the store and above-store levels providing significant visibility into every aspect of restaurant operations. When integrated with the POS, MVaaS enables key managers to set up and track user-specific business rules around transactions such as voids, returns, discounts and coupons. If activity falls outside of an operator's user-defined rules, managers can receive an email alert, enabling them to act quickly to rectify the situation. As an example, a manager might receive an alert when an employee enters an unusual number of voids and then can quickly watch the associated video to check whether the transactions are valid or fraudulent. Report and alerts can also be used to assess the execution of marketing programs and immediately understand demographics and buying patterns.
Offering such as this eliminates the complexities associated with managing a large scale video deployment by removing the need to install, upgrade, and run software on each user's computer. Seamless and consistent system and feature upgrades can be done at the host level, requiring no intervention at the local store level. MVaaS' web-based deployment ensures minimal IT overhead eliminating the resources required to provide extensive network knowledge and configuration which can limit system capabilities and substantially raise the cost of ownership. MVaaS offerings feature an easy-to-use, centrally managed, highly scalable solution that catapults surveillance beyond just security and loss prevention into a broader set of applications in operations.
With technology like MVaaS, video is no longer just for surveillance. Many businesses today are discovering how video can be leveraged to drive operational efficiencies by providing dramatic improvements to bottom line results and yielding a rapid return on investment.
Mark Wright is the President of Shiloh Foods and Treasurer of Wright III Foods. Wright and his family have been in the Burger King business for more than 32 years facilitating restaurant and real estate development in Texas, Louisiana, and the Republic of Mexico. He has also served on several Burger King committees throughout the years.