A famous chain of convenience stores throughout the Hokkaido region in northern Japan installed QNAP VioStor VS-2008 Pro NVR surveillance systems in 600 of its 986 stores as an initial trial to create a safer shopping experience for customers and a safer working environment for employees.
Convenience stores are the backbone of daily life in Japan, where much of the workforce commutes to work by train, often for more than 1 hour each way. The branch manager of the convenience store chain well understands his customer's needs and that creating a pleasant and safe shopping experience is critical to keeping the customers loyal to his store chain.
After two armed robberies and a string of theft incidences at some of the stores, a branch manager for the store chain set out to begin discussions with security consultants to work out a solution that prevents unexpected guests and would aid in loss prevention throughout the chain of stores and allow for both local and remote centralized monitoring. The primary challenge is this chain store group currently runs more than 900 convenience stores and with such large enterprise it was difficult to design a security system that could be deployed chain-wide and allow local recording and storage of the surveillance as well as remote monitoring of video from many stores by a remote office. The secondary challenge for deployment of a security system is that it needed to be PC-less and fit into the limited space in the stores.
The previous CCTV systems installed in the stores delivered poor image quality and there was no provision for remote monitoring. Most of the CCTV systems recorded on tape, which was not always reliable. After a great deal of research, the branch manager of the store chain selected QNAP VioStor VS-2008 Pro NVRs for deployment at 600 stores. The VS-2008 Pro is a compact NVR that can record video surveillance from up to 8 IP cameras installed in the stores on two internal hard disk drives with enough space for up to 30 days of recorded surveillance video. The NVR is a networked video surveillance system, allowing the video feeds from the cameras to be transmitted securely over the Internet to a remote monitoring location. Additionally, a monitor can be connected to the VS-2008 Pro for local monitoring in the store managers office, if desired.
The essential places to monitor in a convenience store are typically the cash register area, store entrances, stockroom, and merchandise areas. These areas are protected by 2-3 Axis IP cameras using H.264 video compression, delivering VGA-quality video clear enough for important details but small enough in size to be sent over the Internet and not take up much storage space on the VS-2008 Pro's internal hard disks. In addition to video, the usage of audio interaction allows the cashiers to receive instructions, enabling them to react in a timely fashion. Other cameras fixed on the store shelves and store entrance give the store manager an indication of where customers might need assistance from staff.
Surveillance videos can also be viewed on mobile devices; which enables store managers to analyze the staff's working efficiency and have a better picture of where resources should be allocated. The remote security staff based at the chain's headquarters office can easily access any of the recorded video surveillance from any of the VS-2008 Pro systems at any time to support investigations and share with authorities. The NVR offers advanced features that allow the security team to get an SMS and email alert automatically if movement is detected in certain areas before or after specific times.
"The amount of time and effort required to monitor security in 600 stores may seem impossible; fortunately, QNAP's backend multi-server remote operation is smartly designed and simplified for HQ security staff and store management personnel" said Yasushi Nakaguro, the project manager at R.O.D. He added, "local playback and mobile viewing capability are essential for retail shops as they have limited budgets and no space for extra PCs in the store. More than anything, the world-class service & support from our QNAP Security team played a critical role in this project's success."
In 2011, R.O.D is expanding the VioStor security systems to approximately 300 additional stores, bringing the store count to 900 networked QNAP VioStor NVR units, ensuring that customers get the best (and safest) shopping experience possible.