"Shrinkage is so easy to monitor now, with activities at the checkout addressed quickly and effectively," says Remco Hempenius.
Future plans include additional integration with a people counting system that monitors the number of customers entering and leaving the store.
"We want to ensure that we've got the right amount of employees at checkout to avoid people having to wait in long queues," he adds. "Milestone software lets us tailor the solution for an integrated approach."
Upgrading analog to digital
The IKEA Pilot Store had 51 analog cameras in their existing surveillance setup, with their security outsourced to Falck guards working shifts in the IKEA security office at the Netherlands store. These cameras, converted to the networked digital approach using the Axis 2400 video server, cover the general display areas of the store's current 19,500 square meters.
"We have achieved our goal to upgrade our surveillance to a networked digital solution for improved performance and an integrated approach," explains Remco Hempenius, Project Manager at The IKEA Pilot Store. "We are cost-effectively re-using existing equipment while adding a mix of new hardware controlled by the Milestone software. XProtect Retail gives us real added value in handling shrinkage."
IP video for easy expansion and integration
IKEA added 35 new IP cameras to cover surveillance of the cash register checkouts and the restaurant/cafeteria areas. Depending on the lighting and mounting locations, a mix of Axis and Sony network cameras were chosen to ensure optimal image resolution in each situation.
"We appreciate the ability to choose our own combination of hardware," comments Remco Hempenius. "The Milestone software is a perfect choice being independent, supporting just that kind of flexibility."
By 2006, the IKEA Pilot Store will expand to 32,500 square meters: expanded facilities for training managers and employees from IKEA stores worldwide. There will also be special areas for testing customer reactions to the IKEA concept, with moveable walls that can be changed quickly.
The IP video surveillance approach provides the ability to add new cameras for such expansions. The open architecture of Milestone XProtect Retail also allows for integration with IKEA's back office Navision retail management system.
The Milestone Dutch partner Secured by Web handled installation of all the new equipment, dismantling the old system and setting up the new one.
"We have never had such a successful IT implementation before," exclaims Remco Hempenius. "Secured by Web executed the plan that was well scoped with Milestone, doing a really good job. After all the planning and testing, it only took a few hours when they unplugged the old system and started up the new with everything working right away."
He adds to this report on the positive experience: "The cooperation with Milestone is not like a typical vendor and buyer situation. It is a true partnership where we sit on the same side of the table with common goals and mutual interests to create a solution for IKEA that protected our old security investment, upgraded it, and increased its value."
The IKEA Pilot Store's Security Manager, Theo van der Weg, and Martin van den Berg from Group 4 Falck both agree on the ease of operations with Milestone XProtect Retail.
"It is so much faster and easier to use than our old system. The software is intuitive and straight-forward, so we only needed less than a half day's training to know how to run it," states Theo van der Weg.
Martin van den Berg confirms: "The user interface is logical, so it was no problem to learn how to operate for our security monitoring."
Remote access via laptop or PDA
Milestone XProtect Retail offers remote access, as well. This means that users of the system can log on via the web from anywhere, anytime, to monitor the site's activities using a PC or laptop at home or on the road. They can also use a PDA to get a quick view of events, even when doing rounds in the store.