Magnet Detection Pioneer Alert Systems Selects CONTROLTEK as Exclusive Regional Partner for North America

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., (March 29, 2018) – CONTROLTEK, the second-largest RF EAS company in the U.S., has partnered with Danish technology innovator Alert Systems, to expand the availability of booster bag and magnet detectors to U.S. retailers.

“Professional shoplifters, and especially organized retail crime (ORC) groups, have learned to use magnetic detachers to remove EAS tags,” said Tom Meehan, CONTROLTEK’s Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Information Security Officer. “On top of this, booster bags continue to be as prevalent as ever.  Probably the best booster bag and magnet detectors in the world made specifically for retail loss prevention are the Hyperguard and Apparelguard made by Alert Systems, which is why we are especially excited about this new partnership.”

Meehan emphasized that the most appealing quality of Alert Systems booster bag and magnet detectors is that they allow store personnel to prevent theft before the attempt is even made, which is different from EAS systems which detect shoplifters on the way out.  He also added that the detectors come in three flavors: as standalone pedestals at the store entrance, as add-on hardware built into EAS pedestals, and as wall-mounted detectors for fitting rooms (in Apparelguard’s case).

“CONTROLTEK has a unique program for systems installations, called First Time Right,” said Troels Garibaldi Falkenberg, CEO of Alert Systems.  “Its success rate has been impressive, which is why we believe CONTROLTEK is an ideal partner to bring our technology to the wider audience in North America.”

More information about Alert Systems’ booster bag and magnet detectors is available on CONTROLTEK’s website.

Use YouTube to Learn a New Skill

Have you ever searched YouTube to figure something out? If not, you should give it a try. About 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and almost 5 billion videos are watched every day. And they are not all just entertainment.

Just about any topic you want to learn about can be found on YouTube, in the form of short tutorials, longer in-depth classes and helpful animation. A lot of people are visual learners and YouTube is a great free way to learn a new skill or research just about anything.

What to Expect for the Rest of 2018 in Retail Technology Trends

(This article originally appeared in Loss Prevention Magazine)

In January, I wrote an article titled 2018 Emerging Trends in Cyber Risk for Retail. Many of my former colleagues reached out and asked if I would be writing something related to general retail technology trends as well. Your wish is my command: Here are some of my 2018 retail predictions.

1. We haven’t found the floor yet. Sales will continue to decrease for some time. No, retail is not dead; we are in an extreme evolution stage. I believe you will continue to see store closures, restructures, rebranding, and reduced footprint in brick-and-mortar retail. To deal with this, the traditional retailers need continue to focus on customer experience.

2. Online retailers will partner with brick-and-mortar stores. As true e-commerce retailers grow, you will continue to see sometimes strange partnerships emerging. Recently, you probably read about the Kohl’s-Amazon partnership, as well as the Kohl’s-Aldi pairing. Both partnerships are somewhat nontraditional and show the need for e-commerce, brick-and-mortar, and other stores to combine forces to manage customer demand, enhance customer experience and reduce loss.

3. The Internet of Things is here. We will see a much higher level of technology interaction in the stores. The key question here is will that lead to increased sales and a better customer experience?

4. Biometrics in retail will become more prevalent. We should see an increased use of biometrics both on the backend and customer-facing sides. Apple’s iPhone X usage of facial recognition will help the consumer population become more comfortable with the technology, thus allowing retailers to use similar technology more openly. Additionally, facial recognition, fingerprint scanners, gait analytics and advanced video analytics will become more widely used.

5. Wider adoption of RFID. This year we should see some larger penetrations of RFID usage and adoption. The technology has been proven and the costs have come down. In the omni-channel environment the need is increasing for inventory accuracy to improve customer experience.

6. The returns problem becomes front of mind. 2018 is the year were retailers will tackle the ever-rising returns problem. As data analytics and artificial intelligence become more readily available, more retailers will turn to advanced returns management to help control the loss.

7. The gap between entertainment and shopping will narrow. Destination shopping: buy a shirt, grab a bite to eat, hang out in a lounge. We will see more shared or combined spaces where restaurant, coffee shops and lounges will be peppered into traditional retail establishments. As customers look for different experiences this will be the differentiator for some.

8. More targeted marketing using technology. The use of Bluetooth beacons, facial recognition and data analytics will increase to help deliver targeted offerings to loyal shoppers.

9. The rebirth of brands. We will see some retailers come back from the dead. Brands that closed or filed for bankruptcy several years ago will resurface with a focus on smaller footprint stores and customer experience. We may also see the death of some other giants and hope one day they are reborn as well.

10. Self-service shopping. There will be an increase in self-checkout in non-traditional environments. You will see more scan-and-pay options using smartphones. A lot of these self-service shopping initiatives are tests to see how the customer reacts rather than cost-cutting experiments.

As retail continues to evolve we must remind ourselves not to fear the evolution but to embrace it. Technology is not here to eliminate us; it’s here to make our jobs and lives easier. Focus all your programs on the customer experience, and customers will shop. I hope the rest of 2018 is an outstanding year for you.

Tom’s column regularly appears on every issue of LP Magazine. To subscribe to the printed version of the magazine and enjoy other great content visit

How to Listen to the Police Live on Your Smartphone During an Incident

The use of smart phones and social media has changed the way we can monitor an incident. If you live or work in a major metropolitan city, there is a good chance that there is a live feed available of your police department and emergency services. Broadcastify and RadioReference are both good sources for live feeds.

If your company has a Special Operations Command (SOC) or Emergency Operation Center (EOC) you should get the links to the feeds prior to an incident. There are several iPhone and Android apps that have live feeds from Broadcastify preloaded.

Are You Shredding Your Boarding Passes?

Over the last two years multiple web sites and news agencies published warnings about how dangerous it was to discard boarding passes. Dangerous may be a little overdramatic, but some precaution is warranted. There is a lot of personal information in that little box that’s scanned by the gate agent. You full name, frequent flyer number and other personal information are some of the details stored there. You can even scan it yourself with a free smartphone app! Privacy continues to be under attack from multiple angles, so it’s just good sense to shred your boarding passes after use.

Real FM Radio on Your Smart Phone

Do you like to listen to FM radio? On select smart phones you can listen to live FM radio even without the internet service.

All mobile smart phones have the ability to receive FM radio signal. However, some have this feature disabled. Fortunately, there is a free smart phone app called Next Radio. Download it and see if your FM chip is active. If it is, and your phone is supported, simply plug in your headphones and enjoy live FM radio. This app offers some internet streaming stations as well.