|The height strip camera blends into the store |
environment, conducting covert surveillance
undetected by potential criminals
Video security systems could see a spike in Taiwan’s store security market, as more manufacturers start to release covert “height strip” cameras. These cameras offer an inconspicuous surveillance solution for Taiwan’s huge number of convenience stores, who are easy targets for criminals.
One of the first things that potential criminals check for at their target stores or banks is where the security cameras are mounted, so they can avoid their faces being captured as evidence. Since the majority of surveillance cameras are ceiling-mounted, baseball caps or hoods are often used to avoid being caught on camera in a recognisable way. Capturing reliable facial images for identification is crucial to the security of stores and banks or any other business that can fall prey to criminals.
Covert camera benefits for store security
Specialty covert cameras such as height strip cameras provide a simple, yet discreet and cost-effective way to augment store security in small systems. As its exterior is disguised as a height strip, the camera blends in with the environment and its existence is unnoticed. In addition, such cameras are often placed by the exit, where fleeing criminals are most concerned about avoiding security cameras.
Capturing reliable facial images
VIVOTEK enters the height strip camera market
This summer, Taiwanese security manufacturer VIVOTEK joined other big names, such as Axis, Honeywell and Verint in adding a height strip camera to its product offering. While it is not the first in the market to launch such a product, it has the advantage of being offered geographically within a large potential vertical market – Taiwan has the largest density of convenience stores in the world.
Convenience stores: a vertical market, but vulnerable to crime
According to 2014 statistics cited by China Times, a local news source, Taiwan has 10,000 convenience stores, or one for every 2,000 residents. These stores live up to their claims of convenience – catering their product offerings to their niche community, in addition to providing a wide array of services. These include mailing domestic and international packages, ATM banking, laundry service, and the collection of bills, traffic violation, tax and credit card payments.
For instance, one convenience store located in Taipei 101, a must-visit for tourists, stocks up on pineapple cakes that are popular amongst tourists who take them back as souvenirs. Another located next to a duty-free store takes payments in Chinese Yuan, while those in scenic areas offer seating for customers to enjoy the breathtaking view while sipping store-bought coffee and nibbling on store-bought snacks.
Since convenience stores are “always
Statistics from 2005 ACNielsen Shopper Trends have shown that on average, out of a national population of 23 million, 80 percent of the Taiwanese urban household shoppers visit a convenience store at least once a week and 14 times a month. Since convenience stores are “always open”, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even during the worst weather, they can become easy targets for criminals. Moreover, convenience store products are small and can be easily smuggled out of the shops without detection.
This makes height strip cameras ideal for optimising the video surveillance system within stores. Furthermore, all convenience stores currently have a height strip installed by the exit, so customers and would-be criminals may be so accustomed to its existence that they won’t suspect its true function.
Height strip camera market potential
Despite the large number of convenience stores in Taiwan, the market is not as fragmented as one might assume. Four major companies operate the convenience stores, with the exception of an isolated few. For instance, China Times reported that the convenience store industry leader owns approximately 5,000 stores, followed by 2,900 for the second largest, and 1,296 and 800 stores by the third and fourth largest, respectively. In other words, these are large projects not to be taken lightly!