The first decade.
Project launched in 2011 to digitize the video monitoring system of the retail chain Bemol is nearly ten years old, with less than 1% RMA in a fleet of 1,000 cameras and is now expanded with IP audio.
In 2010, Rogério Viana, the director of integrator RV Instalações, took a flight from Manaus to São Paulo to take the Network Video Fundamentals training course offered by Axis. The following year, he was awarded a project for Bemol, an electronics retailer.
The chain had 19 stores and three distribution centers employing 2,200 workers, all monitored by analog cameras. Initially, 430 Axis cameras were installed. The business expanded, and Bemol saw that it could use the system to optimize operations by showing which shelves needed to be replenished and which sectors need more salespeople. At the same time, multi-sensor and modular cameras, as well as IP speakers, came onto the market.
With a fleet of 100% Axis cameras and using Digifort software, Bemol has expanded its chain to 26 physical stores and has opened 18 pharmacies. Its diversification strategy also included opening 19 lottery outlets, and it now even has a solar park with 5,868 m2 of photovoltaic panels. New camera models were installed, including the panoramic AXIS M3037-P/-PVE and AXIS M3007-PV, anti-vandal models such as the AXIS M3004-V and AXIS M3046-V, infrared bullet cameras such as the AXIS P1435-LE, and PTZs from the AXIS Q60 Series. Some stores deployed AXIS C1310-E Network Horn Speakers to transmit messages to the security team. Loudspeakers were even installed on the mobile units created by RV Instalações to monitor the perimeter.
Ten years after the launch of the project, the system now exceeds one thousand cameras, with an average RMA of below 1%. With an eye on the future, Bemol asked Axis to provide a proof of concept so it could analyze a package of technologies related to safe return. The proposal is to mix these Axis technologies with the Bemol POS system. AXIS Audio Manager Pro software will also be analyzed to provide more assertive announcements, expanding audio to functions beyond security.
The system also helps to analyze customer complaints: for example, when it can prove that the establishment acted in good faith in response to complaints. In the end, the cameras wind up improving the customer experience.
In 2011, the main challenge the security team at Bemol faced was the theft of goods and major robbery, due to failures of its camera and access control systems. The analog system offered poor image quality.
“After going through training in São Paulo to learn about IP technology, we installed the first project at one store, with 16 AXIS M1114 Network Ccameras for interior monitoring,” recalls Rogério Viana. “Right after that, eight more outdoor cameras were installed to monitor the parking area.” A few days later, the store was robbed. “They broke through the door and stole several pieces of equipment. Thanks to the unmistakable impact of the new video surveillance system, we were able to get compensation for a portion of the value that was stolen,” recalls Jesaias Arruda, IT Infrastructure Manager at Bemol. It was the beginning of a lasting partnership.
The digitization of the system meant that a 24/7 monitoring center was needed. The site chosen was the group’s office in Manaus. Seven servers provide access to the cameras for viewing only. The recordings are made locally, and videos can be sent to the authorities using a link. Everything is managed by Digifort 7.1. After the success of the projects in its stores, Bemol proposed a new challenge to the integrator: create a mobile unit to monitor its street-front stores.
The first of them arrived in the vicinity of a store with four Axis cameras, an AXIS C1310-E IP Network Horn Speaker, and Digifort software. The second is located in a distribution center and also monitors the perimeter. “Today, if someone enters the marked-off area, the cameras capture the movement. A pop-up immediately notifies the operator, who informs the intruder that they are in a restricted area without permission, that they are being monitored, and that the authorities are being called in,” explains Viana.
From video to audio
Because its stores range from 1,200 to 4,000 m2 , each shop uses a combination of up to 16 different camera models. In some cases, six cameras are sufficient. Distribution centers usually need more units--as many as 100 cameras (in this case, covering 36,000 m2 ). Bemol’s pharmacies use eight cameras.
“The integrator played a fundamental role, because they were the ones who indicated the best models for outdoor and indoor spaces. They recommended the fisheye models that were installed in pharmacies, which can produce four different images from a single camera using a single cable and software license,” explains Jesaias, who continues, “Since we adopted Axis cameras, we’ve reduced the number of internal robberies or attempted robberies, and our stores today have equipment that works well even when subjected to bad weather,” he is pleased to say.
Another product that has made an impact in stores is the Axis IP loudspeaker. “By installing the IP speakers, we achieved a high level of integrated communication, even with stores or distribution centers located 30 kilometers apart. The link between the camera and the loudspeaker took Bemol to another level in terms of security,” Jesaias acknowledges.
Secure distribution centers
The company has three distribution centers, in Manaus, Porto Velho, and Rio Branco, which are critical locations with a great deal of activity, and they have wound up serving as laboratories for new technologies to be installed in the stores.
In these warehouse buildings, Axis cameras handle perimeter monitoring and viewing of doorways and hallways. When an event occurs, an alert appears on the operator screen. “In the 2 months following the installation of the Axis cameras at the distribution centers, we were able to capture more effective actions and attempted robberies than in the previous five years using analog cameras. The sharpness of the images and the positioning of the cameras make the project work as a whole, and the results really stand out,” says Jesaias.
For the integrator, the success of the project for nearly ten years is due to the quality and commitment of the commercial partners involved. “We currently have over one thousand cameras installed, and fewer than ten units need maintenance each year,” says Rogério.
According to Jesaias, “Today we have 24 stores, 22 lottery outlets, and 21 pharmacies. The plan is to open more stores. In total, we intend to launch 13 new Bemol outlets, including stores and pharmacies, reflecting a total investment exceeding R$ 2 million.”
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