Keeping retailers’ valuable assets secure
Bricks-and-mortar retailers in Australia are under pressure on several fronts as consumers tighten their belts, and online sales poach a growing share of spending. At the same time, retailers’ losses due to shrinkage of valuable stock are on the rise.
The Australian Retailers Association says the size of the problem is now approaching $10 billion a year, and over half of this is due not to shoplifting but to internal theft.
Modern access control systems can enable large and small retailers to run their businesses more efficiently and securely, ensuring staff and customer safety while protecting assets and playing a vital role in adding to the bottom line in tough times.
Technology is constantly evolving and becoming more cost-effective, which means sophisticated access control solutions are increasingly available at a reasonable cost that ensures a rapid return on investment.
Australian retailers have ready access to state-of-the-art, off-the-shelf solutions from a wide range of manufacturers and service providers. These include global security firms such as Salto Systems, and Australian market leaders such as Inner Range, both exhibitors at the upcoming 2019 Security Expo to be held in Sydney in July.
Hayden Flett, Salto’s national sales manager, says retailers are increasingly cognisant of the advantages of being able to track staff at all times.
“A lot of retailers have expensive stockholdings, and protecting that is not all about external theft as a lot of it is internal,’’ says Hayden. “When people realise that they are being tracked every time they open a door, this drastically decreases loss rates.’’
Salto specialises in smart battery-operated door locks. With no cabling required, they achieve all the functionality of a hardwired access control system at a fraction of the cost.
Wireless security devices such as locks, cameras and motion detectors can link into IP networks, so they can be centrally controlled by server-based or by cloud-based management systems, either internally or by external security firms on a subscription basis.
Today, these powerful yet easy-to-use software platforms are integrating legacy security systems with new wireless access control devices to give companies real-time, at-a-glance oversight of all their branches, distribution centres and offices.
Graphical management systems use visualisation tools such as virtual maps and diagrams to give businesses the power to easily control their own access and security remotely from anywhere, or allow the monitoring to be outsourced.
Access can be monitored in real time, whether by site or by person. A few keystrokes can change access codes and user privileges, print access cards, centrally configure system settings and remotely broadcast upgrades and changes, reducing the need for site visits.
Managers can also verify suspicious or unusual events immediately with integrated video capabilities. They can search for and assess one site or event, or generate customised reports on multiple sites.
Inner Range is an Australian company that develops intelligent access control and intruder detection equipment which can be integrated with other hardware and software. Founded in Australia in 1998, they now have over 130,000 systems installed in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Their solutions are pitched at both the entry-level market as well as enterprise organisations, with highly encrypted end-to-end solutions developed for government, military and critical national infrastructure.
Inner Range operations manager Quenten Knoll says there is currently a worldwide movement towards access control and security being integrated with other building management functions.
“The big trend at the moment is integrated systems,’’ says Quenten. “These bring traditional access control, security and CCTV systems together with management of multiple other functions such as lifts and elevators, air conditioning and lighting to form part of an overall smart building ecosystem.
“Managing the entire facility as one can deliver optimal efficiency while providing a secure environment for customers, staff and everybody using a facility.’’
Hayden of Salto Systems says mobile-based technology is another major trend in the industry that is making access control management easier and more affordable for both large and small businesses.
“Mobile keys enable one to use smartphones instead of a card or a fob to open a door,’’ says Hayden.
“The real benefit of this is that one can instantly send a key out to someone without actually seeing them, or if necessary a manager can lock or unlock a door from anywhere over their phone.
“All activity is recorded and logged, and people can watch it in real time. We see this as a future of access control.’’
With modern access control systems in place to protect their valuable stock and manage their businesses as efficiently as possible, retailers will be best positioned to weather the tough times and maximise profitability.
Visit the 2019 Security Exhibition & Conference in Sydney in July, the largest trade event for the security industry, to see all the latest access control products and services available.