Plato’s Closet puts a luxurious spin on the typical consignment store concept: customers buy and sell brandname, high-end clothing and accessories. Buyers in each independently-owned store determine product price based on an item’s brand, condition and the store’s current stock levels. Steve Olson, franchisee of the successful West Des Moines, Iowa store, saw their retail space grow from 2,000 sq. ft. to a 7,000 sq. ft. megastore in just a few years, and the analog system could not keep pace. They sought a system that could deliver crystal-clear video detail and grow alongside their thriving business.
ICS Advanced Technologies, an Ames, Iowa-based provider of technology solutions ranging from Internet services to audio/video installations to security and surveillance solutions, designed a tailor-made IP video system based on Salient System’s CompleteView VMS platform that strategically morphed to meet Plato’s Closet’s changing security and loss prevention needs.
ICS began with an encoder solution to migrate the store to an IP backbone, then shifted to a hosted video solution with redundant Iomega Network Attached Storage as new IP cameras were added, and then fully converted Plato’s Closest to an all-IP Dell-server solution to add more functionality and high-definition cameras, including the covert AXIS P8514 Network Camera.
The IP video system, which now covers more than 90% of the 7,000 sq. ft. store, has helped reduce theft to less than one percent. Video evidence has been invaluable in catching customers attempting to sell stolen goods, and the high-quality video even helps settle disputes over the amount of cash that exchanged hands in a given transaction. Remote video allows the Olsons to keep the store running smoothly when they are at home or on the road, and proves an important training tool for their staff. The store has also built an excellent relationship with the Des Moines-area police and video evidence has helped put more than a few people in jail, including busting up an organized retail crime ring.