A Gradual Shift

Price Chopper’s gentle transition from analog to an IP-based security infrastructure has paid dividends for the 119-store grocery chain

At a time when the economic climate has America’s retailers looking for a way to leverage existing technologies for greater security, Price Chopper, a 119-store grocery chain, has done just that. Using an extensive network of analog cameras for surveillance, the chain has begun the transition to an IP-based security infrastructure with the help of Verint Systems. Price Chopper has found that the new surveillance infrastructure has enabled a greater focus on loss prevention, and a boost to its customer service and care, and the company is planning to install all-IP-based systems in its new locations.

Based in Schenectady, N.Y., Price Chopper is owned by the Golub Corporation. The grocery store chain currently operates 119 locations in New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. Pharmacies, in-store scratch bakeries with artisan breads, custom-cut meat shops, seafood departments with a sushi offering, full-service floral, natural and organic products, a kosher store and Super Centers are just some of the recent Price Chopper innovations. The family-owned company prides itself on long-standing traditions of innovative food merchandising, leadership in the community and cooperative associate relations. Price Chopper’s future is as promising as its distinguished past.

Price Chopper’s innovative approach to operating a business continues to resonate today. In support of the company’s ongoing loss prevention efforts, Price Chopper worked with system integrator Checkpoint Systems Inc., to design a video surveillance solution that would upgrade the aging video surveillance systems and IT infrastructure at its distributed store locations. Price Chopper wanted to address the immediate issues of video retention and retrieval times, as well as make a strategic investment and lay a foundation for future applications and technologies. “Innovation has always been at the forefront of Price Chopper’s business initiatives, and it continues to drive our vision for the future,” says John Neuberger, director of security and loss prevention.

Video Surveillance Upgrade

Although Price Chopper has long used video surveillance to help minimize shrinkage, its existing analog system was becoming out of date. The previous system consisted of analog cameras and DVRs that stored video on DVD media at each store location. It was relatively slow to retrieve and process historical footage in the event of a security incident or insurance claim.

In order to leverage existing technology, Checkpoint Systems recommended installing Nextiva S1724e 24-port video encoders from Verint Systems. The encoders helped maximize Price Chopper’s current investment of more than 9,000 analog cameras located at 119 grocery stores and the corporate distribution center. The unit is a 24-port video encoder that combines low cost of ownership with a compact, efficient design. The video server incorporates Verint’s video encoding technology for superior imagery and optimal bandwidth use. Automated camera tampering detection rapidly determines when cameras are out of focus, to help ensure that critical images are available and reduce the need to physically examine each camera on site.

IT Server and Storage Upgrade

In conjunction with the video upgrade, Price Chopper needed to improve the server and storage at its store locations. This would provide a robust infrastructure for a new digital video system as well as a consolidated platform for rapid deployment of future business applications.

After evaluating solutions from multiple vendors for both digital video surveillance and upgraded IT infrastructure, Price Chopper chose EMC’s Physical Security Solution including CLARiiON networked storage and Navisphere Management Suite for online video storage; Verint’s Nextiva video encoders, Nextiva retail software and Nextiva S2610e and S2750e IP cameras; and IBM System x servers running VMware ESX Server for virtualization.

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