Some major retailers—including The Home Depot, CVS, Bloomingdale's and Macy's—have brought a new video security system in-house for evaluation, while officials at J.C. Penney have also expressed. This system is from a Cambridge, Mass., company called IntelliVid, which itself is mostly a spinoff from MIT's artificial intelligence group.
The system itself claims some very science-fiction-sounding capabilities, such as that the software can watch customers, examine body and head movements and determine who is about to steal. The system then uses multiple closed-circuit video cameras to track the suspect through the aisles and—camera position permitting—out into the parking lot. The claims are interesting enough, but with such pedigree retailers—including Babies R Us--testing out the system, there might be something more here than a high-tech take on low-res images. (Related note: BusinessWeek just did a wonderful overview piece on retail anti-shrink techniques.)