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The Retail Industry: Securing Life After Lockdown
The Retail Industry: Securing Life After Lockdown

For bricks and mortar retailers, there’s no going back to how it was anytime soon.  Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, they had been fighting a fierce battle against online shopping and significant e-commerce players.  The high street has done a pretty good job of evolving over the years. From its humble beginnings in the late 19th century to its boom in the late 20th, it’s constantly adapted to meet changing consumer needs. The risk to retail But, it’s now reported to be at risk. Sales and footfall started to dwindle decades ago. The dawn of internet shopping in the mid- 2000s saw numbers drop even more dramatically. Indeed, we have heard and seen reports repeatedly on ‘the death of the high street.’ Footfall went down to virtually zero, thanks to this year’s nationwide lockdown Making matters worse, footfall went down to virtually zero, thanks to this year’s nationwide lockdown.   Even Primark, the international ‘hero of the high street,’ saw their average £650m in weekly sales nosedive to nothing without an online presence. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Primark for one came back fighting, and is now expected to hit £2bn by the end of the year.  "After a period of store closure, we are encouraged by the strength of our sales," it’s owner AB Foods said in its latest trading update. And continued: "In the latest four-week UK market data for sales in all channels, Primark achieved our highest-ever value and volume shares for this time of year." The threat of new restrictions As we come to a ‘pivotal point’ in the fight against COVID, with threats of new restrictions, it’s time to think about what the next generation of our high streets will look like. The current crisis gives us some clues: it’s local, it’s data-driven and it’s tech-enabled.  Crucially, it’s proven to work. The digital high street One of the biggest changes the high street has had to adjust to is the digital revolution. New technologies have massively disrupted the way we spend. 82% of consumers now shop online, compared with just 53% ten years ago, with more than half of people aged 65 and over saying they shop online. Age is no longer a barrier. That’s meant that not only have in-store sales dropped, but shopping patterns have become erratic and harder to predict. From opening times to managing stock and staff – everything has had to adapt. We had to pivot quickly to create an online model The issue was exacerbated over lockdown, as consumers had little choice but to shop online. Digital retailers struggled with resources to fulfill orders, case in point was the endless wait times for supermarket delivery slots. But together, we managed to evolve. As nimble businesses, we had to pivot quickly to create an online model that could operate in conjunction with traditional stores, either via click and collect or similar operatives. And now, we are reaping the rewards. Countless high street pubs and restaurants are now allowing customers to order online and finding ways with new openings to take orders online and deliver a table service. It’s undoubtedly an adjustment, and one that will be easier for some to make than others – but those that can establish an omnichannel presence now will be in a strong position for the future. Online versus the high street Historically, in-store has come second to online for a lot of retailers: even those with omnichannel strategies tend to treat the in-store experience like something of a second-class citizen. Now’s the time to change that. The new online stores that have popped up are unlikely to go anywhere, even once lockdown ends. Their success is proof that getting online and in-store more aligned is an opportunity for, not a threat to, the high street. There needs to be the removal of the ‘physical versus online experience’ for brands, and instead blend the two together, which is made possible through mobile technology. Digital transformation grants a huge opportunity for traditional retail. And no better an example than Amazon, the poster child of online retail. Amazon had previously acknowledged the value of a physical retail channel and had opened physical locations for its books and fresh produce business streams. In August 2020, post COVID-19 lockdown, it has continued with its plan to open thirty physical stores in the UK. High street trends Alongside digital, many trends that were perhaps bubbling under the surface of the retail high street have now made their way to the forefront of securing the new landscape.  Sustainable shopping has been accelerated by the crisis. In the last couple of years, retailers’ attention has shifted to focus on making their supply chain and working practices eco-friendlier and socially responsible. Lockdown and our post-retail experience has seen a call for shopping and supporting our local businesses Lockdown and our post-retail experience has seen a call for shopping and supporting our local businesses. Shoppers are more engaged with their local high street now and visiting it more than ever before. Motivated by the instinct to protect their local community. Data has also been key to the new high street. This works both ways, as shoppers are now more informed and in control than ever before. The power of smartphones and increased data coverage has lead to simple but powerful capabilities, like being able to run a price comparison quickly and conveniently. Since a majority of consumers now operate with the ‘mobile mindset’, gone are the days when they will settle for what’s available. Surviving in this new world To survive in this new world, data can support creations of compelling omnichannel experiences.  It can help to build loyalty based on customer values, wants and needs.  And, it allows ways for retailers to understand how customers are moving around the high street to better predict their requirements. Data proves a holistic view of how, where and when customers spend.  Knowing where consumers spend time in store and in which department, demonstrates an understanding of their interests and purchasing choices.  Knowing these preferences, creates the foundation for any great customer experience. The technology-led high street In theory, with so many different opportunities for the high street, it is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. To deliver in practice, retailers need to lay the foundations for more efficient operations, to meet consumer demands quickly, efficiently, and cost (and time) effectively. Technology arguably holds the key to the challenges of raising standards.  And it’s in small ways that it can make a difference.  For example, instead of keeping customers waiting while members of staff hunt for a charged-up tablet device to look for stock levels or product information, an automated retail asset management solution means this essential knowledge is right at hand. Even seemingly simple processes can be automated to deliver service and improved business efficiency. For example, on average, it takes staff members six minutes to find a key or working device. That is equal to 42 minutes in productivity time every week for each employee, which can cause losses of up to £40,000 a year. This is where an effective key management system minimizes downtime and cuts unnecessary costs. Traka is supporting businesses, including Primark and leading department stores, to implement new strategies for the critical control of access to key and equipment, enabling more effective use, and in turn quicker customer response times. Asset management solutions With a fully automated asset management solution in place, valuables such as keys, cash trays, stock and equipment (e.g. handheld scanners) can be monitored and maintained. A full audit trail with real-time reporting means retailers can see exactly who has removed which device, when it was taken and when it has been returned. This results in staff becoming more accountable and equipment being utilised more efficiently, eliminating the need for arduous and costly manual administration. Reshape the bricks-and-mortar infrastructure and breathe new life into the high street By streamlining processes and effectively protecting business assets, Traka supports in-store retail in their ambition to becomes a ripe opportunity to “innovate, delight and create stronger ties with customers.” And become an integral touchpoint in the future of commerce, helping retailers to adapt to the new retail landscape. In summary, there’s the opportunity to reshape the bricks-and-mortar infrastructure and breathe new life into the high street. The industry needs future-focused visionaries who can provide a fresh perspective and reinvigorate bricks-and-mortar retail in the years to come, utilising tools available to them to enhance their proposition to the new post-lockdown consumer.

The New Marriage Between AI and Stadiums
The New Marriage Between AI and Stadiums

Stadiums around the world are still paralyzed from the effects of COVID-19. Fans and spectators in masses have been absent from stadiums since April and there doesn’t seem to be a concrete plan on how or when they’ll be able to return to near capacity. The NBA recently opted to form a bubble philosophy concept in Disney’s facilities, although it’s been a relative success, it’s also been a $200 million temporary solution. This then begs the question: How long can stadiums survive like this without spectator’s present? History tells us that stadiums, venues and sport recover from disasters, so what can stadiums do to speed up the process? This is the catalyst for AI to be integrated on mass level to stadiums around the world. AI is the answer AI’s role in getting fans and spectators back is huge, through capabilities such as: Social Distance Monitoring Crowd Scanning/Metrics Facial Recognition Fever Detection Track & Trace Providing Behavioural Analytics Technologies such as IREX.ai is now working alongside National Leagues, Franchises and Governing Bodies to implement AI surveillance software into their CCTV/surveillance cameras. This is now creating a more collaborative effort from the operations team in stadiums, rather than purely security. Stadiums around the world are still paralyzed from the effects of COVID-19 AI surveillance software such as IREX.ai when implemented into the surveillance cameras can be accessed by designated users on any device and on any browser platform. Crowd metrics Arming stadiums with AI-powered surveillance tools can detect crowd metrics such as “people counting” and “group statistics”. This ensures stadium personnel can monitor social distancing with precision, accuracy and immediately. Alerts can be set up throughout parts of the stadium to alert senior staff members when overcrowding can appear with real time videos, analytics and photos to their hand-held device, such as a smartphone. Fever detection Thermal cameras have been implemented throughout facilities including stadiums and are helping assist to spot people with elevated temperatures. What IREX.ai implements is an alert system, coupled with facial recognition of any individual(s) that read an elevated body temperature. This alert system then provides security and health officials with a photo of the individual with the elevated body temperature, meaning staff can react quicker to the situation prevent this individual from entry. Pandemic monitoring by facial recognition  Thermal cameras have been implemented throughout facilities including stadiums and are helping assist to spot people with elevated temperatures Through facial recognition, staff members will be able to locate individuals through simply uploading a photo. It has never been easier to find a person of interest. With masks becoming an everyday part of society, facial recognition has come under scrutiny regarding the accuracy when a mask is worn. Irex.ai still maintains a 96% accuracy with individuals wearing masks and can set up alerts for any individuals not wearing a mask. Another important aspect of facial recognition is finding persons of interest quickly through technology like IREX.ai’s “searchveillance”. The future is here. Designated staff can track a person from when they enter the stadium by simply uploading their photograph. An example of how this can assist stadium personnel is to help relocate lost children inside the stadium with their guardians/parents when they are separated. Another attribute would be any individuals banned from entering the stadium would trigger alerts once they appear under surveillance, a fantastic collaborative tool to use with Law Enforcement.    Return on investment With security solutions, one of the biggest issues with any security investment is a lack of an ROI. This is where AI security is breaking the mould. The ability to provide business analytics, consumer/fan behaviours, traffic patterns, etc, allows other departments within the organization to gain vital information that can assist with their strategies and practices. Stadium security will never be the same in a post-COVID world, so why will its practices stay the same? AI & Stadiums is no longer the future, it’s the 2020 solution.

Thermal screening: The Technology That Will Lead Us Out of Lockdown
Thermal screening: The Technology That Will Lead Us Out of Lockdown

Across the world, the impact of the current pandemic has majorly disrupted how we function in our everyday lives, as a society, and the ways in which we do our jobs. Throughout, our personal safety and wellbeing, as well as that of our families, neighbours and colleagues, has been paramount - and adapting our day-to-day lives to meet social distancing measures has been a learning curve for us all. As we start to reassemble normal life, precautionary measures will continue to be put in place to achieve the universal aim of mitigating the spread of the virus as much as possible. As different countries reach new stages of this process, some parts of the world continue to live and work in lockdown, while some are beginning to open up. This means governments, as well as businesses and organizations, will need to think beyond one-way systems and sanitation stations to contain the risk of infection as more people begin to return to the outside world. Tracing the spread of COVID-19 Of course, this will need to be driven by higher-level support from leaders in government, healthcare and technology to develop innovative ways of tracking and tracing the spread of COVID-19. From contact tracing solutions, to self-reporting apps and thermal screening cameras – governments and businesses across Europe have a new responsibility to seek and reinforce the most effective ways to ensure people’s safety. These measures are particularly pertinent to those reopening their doors as lockdown eases, and those returning to a daily routine of commuting to and serviced office spaces. As more and more people begin to move through public and commercial areas, we will rely more on technology to run in the background to ensure safety and wellbeing is monitored - much like that of the everyday CCTV camera. Thermal temperature screening cameras One piece of technology that we can expect to see as more commonplace is the thermal temperature screening cameras and monitoring system. An example of this kind of device, is D-Link’s recently launched all-in-one, intelligent fever screening kit – which includes a dual-lens thermographic camera, blackbody calibrator, as well as integrated management software. Governments, as well as businesses and organizations, will need to think beyond one-way systems and sanitation stations to contain the risk of infection The premise of temperature screening cameras like this one, is to harness thermal imaging technology coupling it with AI to identify if a person is experiencing elevated temperatures, and raise the alarm automatically when someone at risk of spreading is detected. To monitor the progression or depletion of COVID-19, technologies such as AI facial recognition will play an important role in mitigating the risks of the virus spreading. Thermal cameras that use AI can easily capture and manage employee’s temperature and stop their entrance if a fever is detected. For this reason, such devices are normally installed in a doorway or entrance to a building to quickly detect and identify those displaying symptoms before entering a building. This type of surveillance will be detrimental to the management of COVID-19 in the world of a ‘new normal’ – as companies feel their way out and learn as they go along with people’s health and wellbeing continuing to be center of the mind. Just as lockdown has had an impact on physical as well as mental health, so too will the adjustment to living life post-pandemic. Not only in getting used to and dealing with the emotional and mental pressures of life on the ‘outside’ as they leave lockdown, but they also face the very real risk of contracting the virus and the worries they may have of spreading it. Appropriate installation of temperature screening Companies and organizations have a responsibility in these times to play a supportive role towards employees, such as allowing them to continue working from home until they feel comfortable to work in an office setting. Equally, as restrictions ease, employers have a duty to make the workplace a safe place that is able to uphold the wellbeing of staff, which is where, as we wait for a vaccine, we must make use of the available technology. However, in the case of the thermal camera, in order for it to deliver effective results, it must be installed appropriately. To support this, we have outlined some key points to consider when deploying a temperature screening camera here: Choose a solution that features a blackbody calibrator – a vital part for any temperature screening device. A blackbody calibrator is the basis for accurate calibration of infrared thermography devices and allows the device to accurately detect a fever. Check for facing windows or doorways and heat sources such as radiators as these increase the risk of stray heat or cold sources throwing off readings according to the ISO standard associated with this type of equipment Be wary of weather and changes in climate as the device will need time to acclimatise – in order for readings to be clear individuals coming in from outside must wait five minutes before being screened When mounted, the camera must face individuals head-on and in parallel with their face to capture the inner eye area which is crucial for temperature reading Consider an option using AI which will automatically recognize individuals based on photos in the system Check applicability and legality of temperature screening cameras before deploying There’s a long way to go before life will fully return to normal. In the meantime, and to help everyone along the way, it’s essential that the right measures are in place to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of those we are responsible for. For anyone who is exploring options, know that there is help out there to provide guidance and expertise on the solutions that will be right for you and your business - now, as we go through the remainder of lockdown, and as we slowly move back into everyday lives.

Latest Texecom news

Texecom, CSL And Hikvision To Sponsor WorldSkills LIVE To Raise Awareness About Security And Surveillance Industry
Texecom, CSL And Hikvision To Sponsor WorldSkills LIVE To Raise Awareness About Security And Surveillance Industry

Texecom is delighted to be sponsoring, along with CSL and Hikvision, the new Electronic Security Systems Competition at this year’s WorldSkills UK LIVE on 21–23 November at the NEC in Birmingham. WorldSkills UK and Skills for Security launched the competition to raise awareness of apprenticeship and career opportunities in the security and surveillance industry. Attracting over 70,000 visitors, WorldSkills UK LIVE is the UK’s largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event. Electronic Security Systems Texecom has been a longstanding supporter of engineering apprentice training within the security industry" The event also hosts the National Finals of the WorldSkills UK Competitions which see the UK’s top apprentices and students compete to win Gold, Silver and Bronze in their chosen skill. This year, for the first time, visitors to LIVE will be able to watch apprentices take part in the Electronic Security Systems Competition which has been designed to reflect the role of an Electronic Security Engineer and the high standards that are expected within the industry. “Texecom has been a longstanding supporter of engineering apprentice training within the security industry, and we are delighted to partner with WorldSkills UK and Skills for Security for the launch of this competition,” says Clym Brown, Texecom’s Marketing Director. Electronic security apprentices “Electronic security fundamentally protects people’s lives and livelihoods and as such is a very worthwhile endeavor for young people to consider as a career choice. This new competition will highlight the skills and innovation in the industry to a wider audience, as well as increasing the training level and knowledge base of electronic security apprentices already involved.” As part of its commitment to helping the next generation of security engineers and installers adapt to the digital revolution, Texecom recently launched the Texecom Academy. Designed to help security professionals get ahead of the digital curve, it redefines what it means to be a security professional by providing the skills, tools and mindset that will define the future of security – for installers and their customers.

Texecom Cloud Wins ‘Technological Innovation Of The Year’ At The PSI Premier Awards
Texecom Cloud Wins ‘Technological Innovation Of The Year’ At The PSI Premier Awards

Texecom Cloud is delighted to announce that they were awarded ‘Technological Innovation of the Year’ in the recent PSI Premier Awards. Accessible on any internet-connected device, Texecom Cloud enables security installers to manage multiple alarm systems from one simple interface, simultaneously. This in turn helps them save money and increase revenues by being more efficient and adding value to their customers. It gives engineers complete control over their alarm system portfolio – this includes safeguards to ensure only the right people have access to the right data. Engineers are restricted to only view and access security systems that are specific to them. Simple, quick and easily accessible The company has invested a great deal into R&D to develop the best, most relevant technology" System programming is simple, quick and easily accessible, and there is even the option to create custom programming templates from previous installations or imported Wintex profiles. This reduces the number of programming steps required, guaranteeing consistency from site-to-site and eliminating programming errors. One of the most important features of Texecom Cloud is remote maintenance and health checks. This reduces the number of times installers need to visit a site to diagnose, maintain, manage and service customer’s alarm panels – it can even eliminate the need to go on site completely. Digital revolution in security “We’re absolutely delighted to have won this award,” comments Texecom’s Marketing Director Clym Brown. “The company has invested a great deal into R&D to develop the best, most relevant technology to help our commercial and residential installers adapt to the digital revolution in security. Texecom Cloud, along with our TexecomPro App and our award-winning Texecom Connect connectivity options, are designed to help them increase revenues and delight their customers!”

IFSEC Announces IFSEC Europe To Expand And Enhance Global Standing
IFSEC Announces IFSEC Europe To Expand And Enhance Global Standing

IFSEC hosts globally renowned security content and events, with shows in the United Kingdom, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines. Soon, the IFSEC brand will extend into mainland Europe with the launch of IFSEC Europe, a brand-new biennial security event providing a new gateway to the European integrated security market. Taking place for the first time on 20-22 September 2021 at RAI Amsterdam Convention Center, IFSEC Europe will create a pan-European home for integrated security, fire safety and intelligent buildings professionals in one of Europe’s most dynamic and accessible capitals. IFSEC Europe IFSEC has established itself as a widely-respected hub for launching products and solutions Co-located alongside Intelligent Buildings Europe, the new event will complement IFSEC’s flagship show IFSEC International, which will continue to take place annually at ExCeL London. This expansion is the result of a three-year research project to find the next hub for IFSEC’s global security community, designed to bring the expertise, prestige and comprehensiveness of the UK show to continental Europe. IFSEC has established itself as a widely-respected hub for launching products and solutions, as well as showpiece events such as 2019’s National Surveillance Camera Day. In 2019 it welcomed over 80,000 visitors across all of its events from over 120 countries. IFSEC Europe will better connect the major players in security manufacturing and distribution with key end-users, installers, integrators and consultants across mainland Europe. Source products and discover insights at IFSEC Responding to shifts in the European and global economy, IFSEC Europe offers UK, continental and international security professionals a platform from which to penetrate the European market. It’s a unique opportunity for firms to source products, discover insights and generate new business connections in one of Europe’s largest conference venues. IFSEC Europe will extend the IFSEC brand into a vibrant market" Moreover, RAI Amsterdam could not be better placed to accommodate the new event. Just fifteen minutes from the major hub at Schiphol Airport and boasting its own railway station, the venue offers convenient links to one of Europe’s most celebrated business centers and tourist destinations. IFSEC International security event Gerry Dunphy, Strategy Director of IFSEC International said, “IFSEC Europe will extend the IFSEC brand into a vibrant market to parallel and complement the London-based IFSEC International, which will remain IFSEC’s center-piece event. It will provide a much-needed hub for the European security industry, and create a new entry point for the European market for the UK-based firms that already attend IFSEC International.” Gerry adds, “Amsterdam is centrally-located and easily-accessible, making it the ideal location for a pan-European security event. In addition, it’s a beautiful, dynamic and exciting city in which we’ve been working to launch an event since 2017, so it’s a joy to finally announce a major event there.” Integrated security tradeshow IFSEC International in London remains the most important event for the UK security market" Simon Young, Event Director of IFSEC International said, “We’re thrilled to announce this addition to the IFSEC portfolio. IFSEC International in London remains the most important event for the UK security market, but we feel this expansion into Amsterdam meets an urgent need for a sophisticated, comprehensive integrated security tradeshow in the European market.” The event is being launched in conjunction with some of IFSEC’s existing premier partners, including CSL, Texecom, UTC, Vanderbilt, Dahua and Euralarm, speaking to the high confidence these major security industry players have in the IFSEC brand. Partnership with CSL Pascal Zeegers, Director, CSL Benelux said “CSL is excited to be a part of the launch of IFSEC Europe at the RAI Amsterdam in 2021. We already have strong partnerships in the Benelux region and are rapidly growing our customers in the wider European areas, so the timing is perfect.” He adds ,“As a long standing IFSEC Premier Partner, CSL understands the value and legacy of a global brand such as IFSEC, so this new addition to the portfolio, in a major European destination, is welcome. I look forward to meeting all our customers in Amsterdam for what promises to be a rich and engaging event for the security and fire safety sectors.’’ Vanderbilt and Comnet to engage at IFSEC Europe IFSEC has been important for Vanderbilt and ComNet in reaching our UK customers" Sam Lord, Events Manager Vanderbilt International (UK) Limited, said ‘’IFSEC Europe is a new opportunity for Vanderbilt and ComNet to engage with our key European commercial partners in one of the world’s favorite cities, and an exciting prospect for us to showcase our world leading technologies. IFSEC has been important for Vanderbilt and ComNet in reaching our UK customers and we welcome this strategic decision to expand the show’s influence into Europe.’’ Jim Ludwig, Managing Director, Texecom Ltd., said ‘’Texecom is pleased to endorse and support the news that IFSEC Europe is coming to Amsterdam in September 2021. We have strong business partnerships across the whole of Europe so an event of IFSEC’s stature coming across to the Continent provides us with an excellent opportunity to meet with our partners and colleagues from key European markets. Texecom has enjoyed a long association with IFSEC for many years supporting various events in the UK, South East Asia and India so we’re looking forward to being a major participant at IFSEC Europe 2021.’’ Euralarm and Carrier excited about IFSEC Europe Martin Harvey, President, Euralarm, said ‘’Euralarm is excited to hear that IFSEC is coming to Amsterdam in 2021. As a dedicated and committed European organization focused on the fire and security sectors, the event will provide us with a significant opportunity to engage with industry and market stakeholders in a truly focused way.’’ We are excited to learn that IFSEC is taking a strategic decision to expand into Europe" Kris Somers, Strategic Marketing & Communications Director, Carrier, said “We are excited to learn that IFSEC is taking a strategic decision to expand into Europe. As a long standing participant to IFSEC in London, we welcome the launch of IFSEC Europe in Amsterdam in 2021. It will provide an opportunity for leading stakeholders to engage with customers in a highly focused environment.  As a global fire and security company providing the technology and solutions that protect and save lives, Carrier looks forward to exploring the potential this event has to offer.” Dahua and BSIA promote IFSEC Europe Lilia Zhang, General Manager, Dahua UK Limited, said ‘’Dahua is fully supportive of the launch of IFSEC Europe in Amsterdam. We have a proven and successful relationship with IFSEC in the UK so we’re excited to see this new development arriving in 2021.” Mike Reddington, CEO, BSIA, said ‘’BSIA and IFSEC have a strong and long-standing relationship which goes back many years, so we’re naturally excited to support the launch of IFSEC Europe in 2021. In view of the UK security industry’s export relationship with Europe, it is vital that its official trade association is taking a leading role at this new event and we look forward to working with our members at IFSEC Europe in Amsterdam.’’

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