The Shipton Group, which owns and manages Douglas Court Shopping Centre in Cork, Ireland, required a surveillance solution to cut crime, gather video evidence to dramatically cut slip and fall injury claims, reinforce tenants' health and safety obligations, and even improve customer experience to deploy support staff more effectively around Douglas Court.
The Shipton Group worked with Irish IT consultancy RPC Consultants, a leading Axis Communications partner in the region, to deliver a network video system covering the corridors and emergency exits serving the centre's retail outlets, inside public areas and the centre's car park. A total of 76 Axis network cameras were deployed across the 13.5-acre site. AXIS 232D+ and AXIS 225FD network cameras were used externally. The AXIS 232D+ were found to perform well in adverse conditions including positioning on top of 100-foot high poles. All external cameras were linked to the network via wireless routers. A mixture of AXIS 212 PTZ and AXIS 232D+ network cameras were also deployed internally, with all internal static cameras utilizing Power over Ethernet, thereby significantly reducing internal wiring costs.
Shipton Group has almost eliminated slip and fall claims at Douglas Court whilst policing the centre's service corridors, which also act as emergency exits in case of fire. The new system has also deterred shoplifters - with theft significantly reduced. Local police relations have also improved now that they know they can use images provided by Douglas Court in a court of law, because they guarantee identification of those involved. This was not the case with the previous analogue-based CCTV system.
"The near elimination of slip and fall claims and clear drop in shoplifting losses at Douglas Court, together with more effective policing of fire escape corridors, all makes for a safer and ultimately more profitable retail centre. We are therefore very pleased with the new surveillance system which has definitely delivered rapid return on investment for the group," said Mr Ted Nolan, Health, Safety and Security Manager at the Shipton Group.
Using IP-Surveillance as a comprehensive management tool The Shipton Group was looking for a modern surveillance solution, which would allow Douglas Court Shopping Centre to tackle a number of issues that were beyond the capabilities of their previous, ageing CCTV system.
Axis delivers higher image quality and the flexibility of an open solution
After piloting both network and analogue-based surveillance solutions, network video emerged as the way forward. After testing, Axis network cameras proved the best for image quality, openness, flexibility and easy integration with network video management system Milestone. For example, RPC considered using analogue cameras to cover the car parks but found that they would be tied into very expensive proprietary wireless-to-analogue devices or face even more expensive and disruptive cabling works through the car parks.
Selecting Axis network cameras meant that RPC could select best-of-breed wireless access point and bridge solutions. Inside the centre RPC was able to deliver power easily to selected Axis network cameras through best of breed Power over Ethernet switches, creating additional cost savings.
Extensive video management possibilities
All Axis network cameras were networked with the Milestone XProtect Enterprise 5.6F video management system from Milestone Systems. The Milestone system provides easy management, storage, viewing and copying of video evidence in case of an event. Images are stored for a total of 150 days at two frames per second, primarily to catch out slip and fall claimants who are entitled, by law, to file a claim long after an alleged event.
Axis also offers an open Application Programming Interface for all its products, VAPIX, which allows future integration of the centre's current stand-alone systems such as people counting and Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems. 76 Axis PTZ and dome network cameras in total were selected and installed across the car parks and through the service corridors and public areas of the shopping centre.
Solving specific management issues
Douglas Court's new system helps centre management. If overnight security staff capture evidence of blocked service corridors, relevant images are sent by email to the centre's manager so tenants can be informed the following morning if they have blocked corridors. Shipton's senior management at headquarters five miles away can now remotely monitor the centre's cameras and use the information to help deploy extra staff in areas where they can best help customers in busy periods. The group's health and safety management team can analyze whether the centre's cleaning crew clears spillages quickly enough to avoid the risks of injury and any slip and fall claims. Security officers can use almost total coverage of the centre to track suspect individuals from the central monitoring station rather than physically tailing them in and out of shops. In short, Axis network cameras have helped to deliver a state-of-the-art network video system, which delivers multiple management benefits to Douglas Court whilst simultaneously future-proofing the group's investment.