This interview was brought to you by support from BackTrack Video, a NACS member.
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—In the world of retail, safety and security are among the top concerns for retailers. NACS Magazine recently interviewed Lance White, founder and CEO of BackTrack Video, on how having a robust security and camera system can provide safety for retailers, their employees and customers.
Q: The idea behind BackTrack Video was inspired by an unusual event. Can you share what that was?
A: In October 2018, there was a high-profile kidnapping in northern Wisconsin. A young woman named Jayme Closs was violently abducted and then held in a remote cabin for 88 days. As a father of four, this event truly bothered me.
I kept thinking that the authorities would use video from private residences, convenience stores and other businesses to identify anyone in the area at the time, which would help track potential suspects. Although private video was used, what I learned was that video accessibility is extremely fragmented and involves large amounts of time determining who might have a camera, if it was on, if video was written over, if the camera pointed the right direction and so on. A centralized and web-based tool for searching videos was non-existent, which made searches labor intensive and time consuming.
Eighteen months before the kidnapping, I had envisioned the concept of a centralized and searchable video database that leveraged and monetized privately owned cameras. Twenty-five years of experience in the camera and video space (including running our small factory with as many as 150+ people) had led to the idea. However, the real catalyst to move forward from concept to development was the Jayme Closs incident. Within a couple months, that tragedy prompted me to create a detailed plan of what I envisioned, file a patent and hire a web developer to begin building our site.
Today, BackTrackVideo.net solves the problems of searchability and access to incident videos by providing an online platform to connect video buyers, such as law firms and insurance companies, with video sellers, such as convenience stores. Additionally, police can access crime video as a community service.
Q: So, how does this kind of video aggregation help retailers?
A: There are really two main benefits: One is monetization, and the other is cost cutting. Every retailer has multiple cameras, and some of those cameras capture incidents regularly. There is a market for accident videos to determine liability and fair compensation, and this leads directly to the ability for retailers to monetize existing security cameras with the BackTrack Video program. Also, police regularly request videos from retailers, and this takes a manager’s time and has a real cost. BackTrack Video can eliminate that cost by acting as the liaison between retailers and law enforcement every time requests for videos are made. This saves hours of managerial time each month at busy stores.
Q: Can you use the existing security camera already set up in most stores?
A: Yes. We created a standardized platform that can accept video from any source. When a customer (insurance company, law firm, etc.) identifies a video they want, they notify the retailer seller, who then determines availability of the video requested. When shared, the retailer simply drags and drops a video clip to the upload area and receives $250 per video immediately. As the platform develops, we will introduce solutions that automate the process of identification and exchange by deploying machine learning for “set-it-and-forget-it” solutions.
To promote ease-of-use for brands with multiple locations, we also offer a multiuser portal that makes it quick and simple to manage all stores from one device.
Q: If a retailer doesn’t have cameras in their store(s), can they still participate?
A: Some retailers may be without cameras or may be hesitant to utilize their own cameras and time. In those cases, we will provide and install cameras at any location and pay each store a flat monthly “rental” fee for their space. Average monthly payments to each store range from $5-$20 and are dependent on traffic volume at each location. This can provide guaranteed monthly revenue, camera setup and maintenance relief, and cost reductions via BackTrack Video’s police liaison program.
Q: How can retailers show their customers that they are actively working with police and others to keep their communities safe?
A: When police request videos, they are provided free of charge as a community service. BackTrack Video also provides free promotional materials so retailers can make customers aware of the community service and goodwill their stores demonstrate. The ability to provide and promote community safety and show real results might offer the largest value to stores.
When retailers sign up with BackTrack Video, they are signing up for a program that offers more than just connections between buyers and sellers. The program includes customized promotional materials highlighting a store’s participation and the results. Promotional materials include window flyers, education cards and brochures that let customers know their store’s story and success in aiding police and their communities.
This interview, “Picture Perfect,” was featured in the May 2020 issue of NACS Magazine.