Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software, is the foundation for an innovative, integrated solution from Info-Connect that manages safety, security and discrimination claims in an exclusive Danish nightclub, Karel van Mander.
The queue is long and the night is cold - but still young - and the air is thick with expectation of a good night with heavy dance rhythms and long glances. It is Copenhagen, it is Karel van Mander, one of the most exclusive nightclubs, where several hundred people party every weekend.
Karel van Mander opened in October 2008, and the people behind it are, among others, Morten Wagner, who is also behind the online dating site Dating.dk and Trendsales. The goal was to attract an exclusive and discerning audience, and today the nightclub is among the few in Denmark listed in The World's Finest Clubs.
Karel van Mander also has an ambition to be the standard bearer for a safer nightlife in Copenhagen, which has prompted the nightclub to introduce a series of constraints - to protect customers and employees alike.
"We register all our guests with name and address, and check their social security number. It is an invariable rule by Karel van Mander. It ensures that we know who our customers are, and it creates security among the guests as well as employees. If problems occur, we can quickly identify those involved and give further evidence to the police if necessary," says Mads, who is the manager at Karel van Mander.
In addition, in the coat check area guests are tracked when they arrive and when they leave. When delivering garments, guests are given an electronic coat check token, which is entered into the system and stored with their photo on video. Thus, one can very quickly check whether a jacket has been retrieved by its rightful owner or whether it was stolen.
In addition to checking guests against police records of blacklisted people, the latest IP video technology is being used. Sixty Axis network cameras monitor the entire club, both on the street at the entrance to the stairs and inside the club. The video system was integrated and installed by the IT company Info-Connect, a Certified Milestone Partner, who specializes in surveillance solutions for casinos and nightclubs, among others.
"We use technology throughout the registration process. When guests arrive, they are recorded by name and social security number, and their picture is taken. The image is exported through the Milestone recording software, making it possible to tag the video - and one can then follow a guest throughout the nightclub," explains Info-Connect Director Rasmus Teilmann.
The technology is based on Milestone Systems' open platform IP video management software, XProtect® Corporate. With just a few clicks, an operator can control all cameras simultaneously and view live or archived images. The images can be exported if the police need to use them as evidence. With the IP video surveillance platform from Milestone Systems it has become both easier and faster to review video material and to export it to a DVD.
The nightclub previously used analogue video surveillance, but the quality was unsatisfactory, with unclear images and poor resolution - and this is a challenge in a nightclub, where the lighting is low. The 60 Axis HD cameras record at full frame rate, making it possible to see every detail of an incident. Karel van Mander only uses monitoring material reactively, which means only if a specific incident needs to be investigated.
It is not only about guarding against theft and fisticuffs among guests. Discrimination is a known problem, even in the Copenhagen nightlife - but it also happens that rejected people claim they have been discriminated against when doormen at Karel van Mander choose not to allow them entry.
"We are an exclusive club, and our guests know that they cannot enter if they refuse to register. In some cases we found that customers accused our staff of discriminating against them if they were turned away, for example, for not meeting our dress code, or if the club was too full. But at the entrance every movement is recorded with audio, so we document exactly what was said and by whom - and it has solved many cases for us, without having to involve the police," says Mads.
After Karel van Mander started using IP video surveillance technology from Milestone and Axis, it has experienced a decline of 80 percent in cases reported to the Copenhagen licensing board. So there is no doubt that it works.
"We are quite open about our video surveillance policy. We display it clearly, so everyone knows they are being watched. The fact that the extent of problems has dropped so drastically really shows that video surveillance has a very positive effect - both for us and for guests of the club," says Mads.