Axis Communications’ Camera Companion system has been voted the ‘most innovative’ solution available by an independent panel at an innovations showcase run by the Association of Convenience Stores, and was also chosen for installation at a branch of Nisa, the national convenience retailer.
Axis Communications and partner Defence Security were selected for the installation following an initial proof of concept trial. Axis led the trial at the Nisa Local in Hockley where store owner Rav Garcha challenged the specialist security surveillance company to expand the functionality of his current analogue set-up – including remote central monitoring, mobile accessibility and the option to integrate cross-functional retail analytics.
Commenting on the project, Daren Lang – regional business development manager for northern Europe at Axis Communications – said: “What they needed was a small, cost-effective solution that was not only easy-to-use and set up but also innovative. The installation needs to grow and adapt with the business plans of the store.”
Axis’ Camera Companion is an easy-to-use video surveillance solution optimised for small systems up to 16 cameras. It consists of software running on standard Axis cameras, storage on SD cards or Network-Attached Storage (NAS) devices, software clients for PC and smart phones and standard network equipment. It offers future-proof IP advantages such as digital HDTV image quality and optimised bandwidth usage with Axis Mobile Streaming.
Dave Brown, business development manager at Defence Security, added: “The store’s existing system often experienced faults and failures and needed a wholesale upgrade. In comparison, the flexibility and image quality offered by the Axis cameras is streets ahead. Even its smallest camera achieves two-and-a-half times the picture quality of most analogue systems.”
Compact dome and fixed lens cameras
As part of the store’s upgrade, Defence Security replaced 16 conventional cameras with a range of Axis compact dome and fixed lens cameras. Variously featuring video motion detection, active tampering alarm, two-way audio and integrated passive infrared sensors, the cameras capture the entire store in full HDTV image quality.
An in-built microphone and speaker system also allows members of staff to communicate directly with customers at the critical point of sale area in the store. The Axis cameras’ superior image quality and reliability also mean that footage is of evidential quality and certified for use in court.
Using Axis’ Corridor Format, the cameras record footage in vertical aspect ratio which is better suited than traditional landscape format for monitoring the narrow aisles in the Nisa Local store. The system is also fully open to future high-spec integrations that use surveillance data to analyse staff levels, peak trading hours, customer footfall and buyer behaviour.
Data can also be collated to inform staffing policy, store layouts and the relative success of special promotions or offers.
Rav Garcha told Risk UK: “The great picture quality and advanced audio detection features are incredibly important. In the past, we’ve experienced armed robberies and several incidences of abusive behaviour and threats being made towards staff. Axis’ cameras can be relied upon not only to see these incidents in perfect detail but also hear and record what’s being said.”
Increased surveillance coverage
Despite reducing the store’s overall camera count, the new Axis Camera Companion system has significantly increased surveillance coverage in the store, as measured against the retailer’s historic analogue system.
Indeed, the success of the Hockley store project has resulted in the installation of a network video encoder at Nisa’s Broadway outlet.
Garcha concluded: “We’ve been incredibly impressed with the entire Axis Camera Companion package, from ease of installation right through to the end product. We now have a bespoke surveillance system set-up and an analytics capability that will make a real difference to the business’ profitability.”