Magazine Article | October 20, 2008

Is Your Security System Outdated?

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

By overhauling its antiquated security system, this 70-location restaurant franchise can view security infractions in real time.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, November 2008

Antiquated security systems, such as VCRs, are incapable of providing real-time data for risk management issues, such as theft and injuries. Sharon Voelz is the VP of loss prevention (LP) and risk management at Pizza Properties and QSR Burgers — a franchise organization that relied on VCRs to capture store-level infractions for more than 20 years.

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VCRs Increase Security Risks
Voelz experienced problems with people turning off the VCR in order to disable it from recording dubious acts. Therefore, if problems such as theft or fights occurred, no one was aware of them because there were no recordings. "We experienced many problems with the VCRs in all 70 restaurant locations," explains Voelz. "Besides tapes going missing, the technology was completely outdated. The VCR recorded 10 areas within the restaurants at once, yet we weren't able to zoom in to view just one area, which made it difficult to analyze data." General managers and regional supervisors viewed the tapes on a regular basis. If some type of risk management issue occurred, the tape was sent to the risk management department for review. Reviewing a tape was not an easy process; in order to view a tape, it had to be played on the exact VCR model on which it was originally recorded. "By 2005, we had six different VCR models," says Voelz. That made taking a tape to court for a jury to view very difficult."

Determine Motion To Secure Your Store
Voelz demanded a solution that would act as a deterrent — one with which people could not tamper or turn off. In 2005, The Safeguard System, a Bosch Certified Security Dealer that installs anti-theft, fire, and video surveillance systems, created a proposal for the restaurants. Safeguard suggested a system that would enable risk management employees to view and record security footage in real time. Because Pizza Properties and QSR Burgers purchased their VCRs from Safeguard, Voelz wanted to maintain the relationship. Safeguard implemented Bosch DiBos DVRs in all 70 restaurants. The hardware includes 70 DVRs (one per restaurant) that operate on a wide area network (WAN). Each DVR comes with multiple cameras that have different settings based on the amount of motion each location wants to record. Each restaurant receives 6 to 15 cameras based on its total square footage.

Safeguard conducted the installation beginning with a pilot store. Implementation is a detailed process, as motion is a major concern. "Each camera is programmed based on where general managers want to record motion [e.g. seating areas] and where they want cameras recording at all times [e.g. cash register areas]," explains Voelz. "Therefore, each individual installation took one to two days depending on each location's square footage, and the entire process took two years." Safeguard provided each store with a training manual as well as a 20-minute hands-on training session.

Pizza Properties and QSR Burgers have reaped many benefits from the DVR implementation. The risk management team can view DVR footage in real time, and they can burn video to DVDs to archive for future reference. The DVR provides a clearer picture than the VCR, enabling employees to better view nuances such as name tags, eye color, hair color, etc. Employees can also toggle to specific frames, and the data can be played on any computer. "If a law enforcement official or an attorney needs to see footage, they can view it from their own computer," says Voelz. 

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