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

Price Chopper previously deployed CLARiiON storage in its corporate data center, so it could easily leverage the staff’s existing training and infrastructure knowledge. EMC’s networked storage system gives the digital video system solid, scalable online storage. Reliability is especially important for avoiding system downtime and loss of video. The storage arrays can scale from a handful of disk drives to almost a petabyte in one system. It supports SATA drives for low-cost capacity and Fibre Channel and flash drives for high performance. There are a number of capabilities available for data protection and disaster recovery, such as RAID, snapshots and remote replication.

EMC’s solution and the Nextiva video management software are able to support IBM’s VMware. Rolling out VMware enabled Price Chopper to easily partition applications more efficiently using the storage platform. VMware increases server utilization and reduces its consumption of energy and floor space, and virtualization is a popular solution for reducing IT costs through server consolidation. It also simplifies management — a new virtual machine can be provisioned in a matter of minutes, as opposed to the days it takes to buy and install a new physical server.

“Throughout the selection process, we were confident in the Verint/EMC partnership,” Neuberger says.

Verint’s retail software offered Neuberger an open-platform SDK for integration with access control systems and alarms. Price Chopper can monitor all of its Lenel access control panels located at all entry and exit doors through the system to help improve operational efficiency, cut waste, protect against liability, deter theft and ensure employee safety. The IBM servers provide a flexible, cost-effective platform for running multiple applications at each store, such as the Verint Nextiva Retail software, Windows Active Directory and future applications.

Loss Prevention

The Nextiva Retail solution is integrated with Price Chopper’s point-of-sale (POS) exception system to identify suspicious transactions and help loss prevention personnel take a proactive approach to shrinkage. “We chose Verint because of their significant experience in working with leaders in the retail market,” Neuberger says. “Nextiva Retail will allow us to take a proactive approach to loss prevention and enhance our overall store operations.”

Price Chopper has already seen significant return on investment. Neuberger has been able to use video in a variety of ways that ordinary loss prevention departments would not. As an example, a customer made a purchase at one of the stores and accidentally left behind his wallet. Price Chopper was able to call the loss prevention department, and internal investigators viewed the video at the store immediately. The video showed a person pick up the wallet and immediately leave the store with it. By quickly turning over the video, the local police department was able to make an arrest and return the victim’s wallet within 90 minutes.

In another example, a customer claimed their five-year-old child was injured falling from a shopping cart. “We were able to quickly retrieve the video showing that the parent was carrying the child on their shoulders and fell off due to the parent’s negligence,” Neuberger says. Price Chopper was able to show the accident had nothing to do with a wet floor. This type of immediate video continues to protect Price Chopper against litigious accusations saving the company thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Future Expansion

Price Chopper is continuing to add new stores and update older locations. Verint’s Nextiva S2600 series IP cameras are being installed throughout the organization’s corporate warehouse, data center and corporate headquarters. The cameras deliver dual-stream, MPEG-4/MJPEG video up to 4CIF/30 frames per second. Dual streaming enables video to be viewed at high resolution with excellent image clarity, but stored at lower resolution to optimize use of storage resources.

“By giving us the opportunity to adapt 21st century technology to a nearly 70 year-old company, Verint has helped us enhance our operations and improve our bottom line,” Neuberger says.
Other camera features include high-quality CCD sensors for high resolution, high signal-to-noise ratios, and clear, crisp images. Day/night functionality and low lux sensitivity allow high-quality images to be captured in even low light.