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Safe shopping

David Aindow from Synectics looks at how the tools within integrated security and surveillance solutions help protect large-scale retail venues

Managing risk effectively in the bustling world of retail facilities management is no easy feat. With sprawling layouts, a multitude of systems to oversee, and a diverse workforce to coordinate, the challenge is real.

But there are solutions to help navigate these complexities and streamline operations – integrated security and surveillance platforms. By bringing together various operational, safety, and security systems under one roof, facilities managers can breathe a little easier. This unified approach provides a clear view of potential risks and enables swift action when needed.

Within a security and surveillance platform, there are tools that take risk management effectiveness to the next level:

Data Analytics: Harnessing the power of AI-driven analytics can revolutionise risk detection. By continuously analysing footage and system data, anomalies and potential threats can be identified in real-time, from faulty equipment and public safety issues to potential security threats.

Not only does this improve response times, but it also provides valuable insights for long-term efficiency gains. For example, what if changing the lighting or layout of a particular area could reduce the time and money spent dealing with slips and trips? Or improve food-court foot traffic? Analytics can spot trends that ensure facilities management decisions yield optimal operational benefits.

Workflows: Customisable on-screen guidance paired with data analytics provides a roadmap for handling any situation. Workflows deliver step-by-step instructions for swift and effective incident management, whether responding to an event that poses a security or operational risk, such as a malfunctioning parking barrier or a suspicious package.

Remote Solutions: In today’s fast-paced world, waiting for crucial information is simply not an option. Remote solutions bridge the gap by providing access to real-time intelligence from anywhere. Whether through a mobile app for field-based staff or remote evidence sharing for external stakeholders, this approach ensures that everyone has the information they need when needed.

A mobile app provides field-based staff with remote access to system features and alerts that inform their specific roles. An on-site engineer might receive alerts and tasks relating to fixing technical issues; a manager can set tasks for their teams, and security officers might access live camera feeds and control room updates to better respond to emergencies.

Remote evidence (video, data, reports) sharing replaces time-consuming processes by granting authorised personnel web-based access to the necessary info—including external parties such as insurers, police, or other sites in a chain or parent companies. As well as reducing the administrative burden, this means real-time incident management and ongoing investigations can be carried out at much greater speed.

Dynamic Mapping: Knowing where risks are located is half the battle. Dynamic mapping takes this further with detailed floor plans and location-specific data. This allows for faster response times and better resource allocation in the event of an incident. Greater accuracy is achieved when mapping contains exact floor plans and icons that reflect features unique to the facility.

To efficiently deal with any risk, from a water spillage slip hazard to a potential security breach, the right people (maintenance teams, security officers, service contractors, and managers) need to know exactly where to go and what they will find when they get there.

One example of these tools in action is the Trafford Centre, a bustling UK shopping and entertainment destination. Adopting a unified solution has streamlined their operations and improved response times.


The Trafford Centre is one of the UK’s largest shopping and entertainment venues. Ensuring the safety and security of all public areas, from management spaces, service areas and car parks to the food hall and miles of walk space, is a mammoth task but one simplified by adopting the right tools.

As part of its unified Synergy solution from Synectics, remote evidence-sharing is a valuable time saver. Control room operators share evidential footage securely via a web link to authorised internal and external stakeholders, including Greater Manchester Police, Metropolitan Police and insurance agents.

“We share footage linked to around three or four incidents daily,” says Lee Barlow – Operations Manager for Security and Data. “Previously, we would have had to save footage to disks or USB drives and physically mail these out to the respective contacts. A much slower and weaker evidence chain. Not to mention a costly exercise.”

The Trafford Centre has also switched to enhanced mapping, which allows them to quickly pinpoint the location of an incident and access corresponding location data that may add context and help prioritise response, such as nearby facilities, exit points, and proximity of potential support teams. “The difference is night and day.” he adds, “in terms of the detail available and how easy it is to zoom in to investigate each event.”

About Sarah OBeirne

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