Selco has expanded from twelve to twenty-eight branches across the UK, opening six new branches in the last year in major cities such as Leeds, Bradford, Nottingham and London. Selco's latest warehouse stores feature comprehensive security, the foundation of which is a high-performance CCTV system, based on NVT UTP Hybrid Video transmission technology.
Following the same security blueprint for each branch, Selco relied on their long-term security partner, Zicam Integrated Security, for consultation and specification of the security systems. Recently opened, the latest Birmingham branch is typical of the security found at each outlet. "Each of our Selco branches offers a unique service, and as such provide us with unique security issues," says Ronnie Lees, Security Controller for the Selco Group. "We provide a quick-collection service for all builders and tradesmen that works on a self-serve basis. We do provide a counter service, but this is used for assistance, advice and ordering. We aim to keep all products in stock and pride ourselves on providing a quick and accessible service to our wide and varied trade-only customer base.
"However, the self-service aspect can leave us open to certain security issues. We also need to protect our branches during out-of-hours periods. The success of Selco is due to the exceptional contribution and commitment of our management and staff teams that has brought Selco recognition as a quality employer. Our primary concern when designing and operating each branch is the safety and welfare of our staff and customers, this is integral to the security specification of each branch, shown here in our latest Birmingham development.
"We have had a long-term technical relationship with Zicam for over 8 years, and were pleased to award them the contract for the installation and on-going maintenance of the systems at the new and existing sites, after they submitted the winning bid as part of a tender process." An integral element of the winning systems specification was image transmission via NVT UTP Hybrid Video, using an integral Cat5 cable network, also installed by Zicam engineers. Matt Packwood, Operations Director at Zicam elaborates: "Using NVT UTP has supplied many cost and performance benefits and has greatly simplified the cable installation when compared to a ‘traditional' coax cable network.
|NVT's Hybrid Video technology combines the benefits of analogue-quality transmission and IP WAN|
"Internally, cameras cover store aisles, checkout areas, tills and store entrance/exits, whilst external coverage comprises of cameras covering the store perimeter, rear goods yard area, car park and car park entrance and exits. Supported with technical assistance and consultation from NVT, and using NVT's PVD (Power, Video & Data) Hybrid Video technology, we were able to supply power to internal cameras from two NVT NV-16PS10-PVD Power Supply Hubs, obviating the need for fused spurs at each camera point. Saving money on each internal camera's spur and then multiplied by the number of Selco branches, adds up to a significant monetary saving for the group."
The flexibility of Cat5 cable compared to a more cumbersome coax alternative meant cameras could be mounted for maximum scene coverage instead of within the constraints of the cabling. "The best example of this is the cameras mounted on the shelving ends, that provide coverage of entire aisles", says Matt Packwood. "Using Cat5 here meant we were able to position the camera exactly where we wanted, installing the UTP cable safely within the structure of the shelf. This wouldn't have been possible with coax and would have meant a compromise on camera positioning, with perhaps more cameras used to cover the same scenes - therefore increasing the cost of the overall installation."
"The ease of the camera cable installation also helped to provide a smooth installation process", explains Ronnie Lees: "The build and fitting out of these bespoke facilities involves many contractors [building/electrical etc], so it is important that the critical timing of each part of this is perfect and does not overrun. NVT's simplified Cat5 cable infrastructure meant Zicam engineers could install the system in very little time, running the Cat5 cable infrastructure in the same trays as the datacom and Point-of-Sale systems, and with the minimum of impact on other contractors' installations."
|NVT's power, video & data Hybrid Video technology saves on the cost of fused spurs at each camera point|
Matt Packwood continues: "We can include the Cat5 network in the same cable trays as other data, communication and power services without compromising picture quality, thanks to the inherent interference rejection capabilities of the NVT PVD technology. Although the sites' distributed power supplies is quite low level, it meant we could concentrate on our part of the installation and be sure that picture and signal quality distributed to DVR's would always remain unaffected, even if an electrical contractor installed a further power infrastructure nearby". This feature was further enhanced at the Birmingham store by the use of NVT's award-winning DigitalEQ™ Active Hubs. These hubs feature digitally controlled cable distance signal equalisation, independent of video signal image, meaning no video equalisation adjustments are necessary. This advanced feature automatically and continuously compensates for cable attenuation to deliver a consistently clear, fibre-like, interference free video signal. For example, if any subsequent changes to the operating environment, such as a change in camera scene content occurs (after set-up), the hub automatically compensates, and any further additional set-up changes are avoided.
"Using NVT Hybrid Video technology also afforded the benefits of analogue-quality transmission and onsite control, coupled to IP WAN benefits; by encoding the video and distributing images via the Selco network, to a centrally monitored control room for out-of-hours monitoring. This gave us the best-of-both worlds and allowed the use of high-performance analogue cameras each store, without being forced to specify more expensive and poorer performing cameras required by an end-to-end totally IP solution."
Camera images are monitored and controlled locally from an onsite guard station, from where the security teams perform constant virtual tours, backing manned guarding teams to ensure all areas are covered. "Effective CCTV coverage forms the basis of security at all our stores, and here at Birmingham it's no different," explains Ronnie: "Our Security Supervisors can check any part of the site, instantly directing personnel to the scene via our 2-way radio network.
"As well addressing internal security issues, our surveillance coverage also includes the car park, both for our own protection, and that of our customers.
"We also provide a ‘rear door' collection service where customers can collect larger goods, also monitored closely via the CCTV. This gives us an irrefutable visual record of what stock the customer took away should a subsequent account query be raised.
|IP links allow Selco to remotely monitor its stores and provide management with instant overviews of any Selco site|
"This also applies to our counter transactions. Static and mini-dome cameras cover the till areas and provide visual evidence of each transaction."
Each CCTV installation also plays a vital role in ensuring health and safety procedures are adhered to at all times. Ronnie continues: "Selco is committed to achieving the best standard of health and safety for its employees, customers and visitors. As such, we take all possible precautions and use the CCTV to constantly monitor these are being adhered to. Having access to high-quality camera images also protects us from any ‘suspicious' claims for incidents onsite, as we can instantly review them via the recorded footage."
Taking advantages of the varying roles that the CCTV system plays and its integration to IP, management can access video footage both live and recorded via PC, allowing them to remotely monitor any store in the UK, directly from their office. Ronnie explains: "Being able to remotely monitor the system via an IP link is fantastic for Selco management. We cannot only get an instant overview of a site from a security and health and safety aspect, but also from a trade operations aspect too. A quick check of a store's car park or till area gives us a rapid snapshot of how busy a particular store is, providing us with a better informed overview of that day's trading."
Matt Packwood of Zicam Integrated Security concludes: "Thanks to the use of NVT UTP Hybrid Video technology, we have installed cost-effective and easily expandable CCTV solutions into Selco outlets across the country, and will continue to deploy this proven solution as Selco's network of stores continues to expand."