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Smart surveillance for supermarket chain

Dedicated Micros : 05 August, 2008  (Application Story)
By combining POS transactions with video material running over Dedicated Micros NetVu, PAK supermarkets can reduce losses through till frauds.
Smart surveillance for supermarket chain
PAK Supermarkets, Europe's largest Asian supermarket chain, and a favourite for ethnic cuisine lovers across the Midlands, is benefiting from the latest NetVu Connected CCTV technology developed by Dedicated Micros – part of AD Group – and installed by DM Fusion installer Security Direct.

Since opening in April, PAK Supermarkets’ new £7 million store, based in Washwood Heath, Birmingham, has been attracting a plethora of shoppers from as far afield as Leicester and Banbury. With a vast 80,000 sq ft of ground to cover across the store - as well as thousands of pounds being exchanged each day - it was imperative to have the very best security system in operation.

CCTV expert Dedicated Micros has devised a pioneering Advanced Point Of Sale (APOS) interface system which not only offers the Washwood Heath store state-of-the-art surveillance, but also acts as a pivotal cog in the store's management decisions.

The Dedicated Micros CCTV system at PAK Supermarkets, when integrated with the APOS technology, allows security staff to keep an eye on any suspicious activity while also providing valuable management transaction data by integrating checkout activity with the CCTV images.

Purchase information from each till is transmitted to a central control room via a hard wired TCP/IP network, which is combined with video footage from cameras at each checkout to capture the customer in action and ensure stock levels, security and spending habits are carefully monitored.

Terry Eaglen, Dedicated Micros Fusion Accounts Manager, explains: 'With the new system, every product that goes through the till can be monitored and analysed.
'It gives store management the chance to see exactly what is being bought with both the till transaction and video footage being combined, not just overlaid on the video footage, but being read, and managed as part of our highly sophisticated metadata handling process.

'Bringing these together gives users the perfect opportunity to keep track of who is buying what and enables stores to better control and plan their own store layouts and help in developing marketing strategies.'

In addition to integrating point of sale data, the technology also provides a wide spectrum of security benefits beyond the scope of a more traditional installation. With a network of cameras covering inside and outside the store, the system - combined with store detectives - has rapidly become part of the daily routine at the supermarket.

Terry continues: 'The Dedicated Micros system allows users to design a set-up to meet the individual needs of their business. It can be applied, for example, to trigger an alarm if a large number of £50 notes have been exchanged in the store in a short space of time at different tills

'Anything from investigating fraud to clearing up customer complaints if they think they have been short-changed can be dealt with at the touch of a button, which provides an extra chance for the supermarket to deliver excellent customer service.'

West Midlands-based company, Security Direct, a DM Fusion installer, was commissioned to install the system.

Surj Dhami, Managing Director of Security Direct, said: 'The biggest hurdle to overcome was the sheer amount of equipment required. It is a large supermarket with a correspondingly large and complex installation so it made sense to select Dedicated Micros systems which could be readily integrated together.'

In total 20 2040 Dennard indoor dome cameras, a 2060 Dennard precision outdoor dome and six Dedicated Micros Digital Sprite 2 (DS2) Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) provide the basis of the installation, including a total of 9Tb of hard disk storage capacity, as part of a sophisticated network system. In addition, 12 APOS interfaces were installed with 30 LCD monitors as part of the
four-month project.

At the design stage of the project, Security Direct chose to specify Dedicated Micros NetVu Connected products, which allow images to be viewed via a TCP/IP network on any authorised PC, across the installation.

2060 Dennard domes were chosen to cover the exterior of the supermarket partly because of their resistance to vandalism, but also the ability of the cameras to operate in low light conditions. The more compact 2040 domes cover the inside of the store at tills and along the aisles.

The network of CCTV cameras capture images and transmit them back to a 24/7 manned control room. Images are viewed on dedicated monitors, with traditional joystick control of the system. At locations around the store, management has access to the CCTV system via Dedicated Micros NetVu ObserVer software, which is installed on PCs and offers very familiar Windows-based drag and drop functionality to get the end users up to speed as quickly as possible with the new technology.

Khalid Hussain, Managing Director of PAK Supermarkets, said: 'This is a fantastic system that has given us exactly what we required.

'We wanted a solution which not only delivers a high-spec surveillance operation, but can also be incorporated into the ongoing commercial development of our stores.

'It really delivers everything the retail environment needs - the perfect tool for security and customer service.

'We also have more control over each transaction, which we are obviously very happy with.'

The APOS system has already proved a hit at several other retail chains including Selfridges, Marks and Spencer and KFC.

Khalid believes the market-leading system will become a hit with many other retailers: 'It is all a matter of budget for security, but I am sure given our positive experience that more and more of the bigger retailers would be very much attracted to this system.'

The Dedicated Micros technology has proven so successful in helping to manage and plan stock requirements that the supermarket is now considering the introduction of loyalty cards which link directly in with the APOS interface.

PAK Supermarkets has commissioned Security Direct to redevelop its surveillance - using the Dedicated Micros system - across its seven stores nationwide and a further four currently under development.

Khalid said: 'The idea is to ultimately have all of our supermarket CCTV systems linked up to the control room here. It will help to keep our operation centralised and much easier to maintain.

'This whole set-up has made life much easier for us to keep a track of everything happening in the store and this will eventually be rolled out to our entire operation, which will no doubt ensure our security and customer service is up there with the best in the business.'

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