At BJ’s Wholesale Club, maintaining a safe and secure environment is of utmost importance — both for our employees and our customers. In order to meet future development plans and replace failing older technology, we needed a solution that could help us to identify and investigate theft, fraud, intrusion and trespassing while leveraging our existing network infrastructure. The system also needed the capability to integrate with point-of-sale to link video with transaction information.
We quickly determined our organization required a future-proof solution. Moreover, with plans to keep growing the chain, and new clubs opening in various locations, we needed to rethink our video surveillance strategy for new installations. We embarked on a search for a more robust solution that would meet our stringent security, safety and asset protection needs, and as it turned out, IP technology was just what we needed.
Scope of the Upgrade
BJ’s Wholesale Club introduced the warehouse club concept to New England in 1984. Headquartered in Westborough, Mass., our company operates more than 195 clubs in 15 states with 107 gas stations and three main distribution centers. We employ more than 24,000, and we sell everything from general merchandise to fresh meat and perishables across our retail enterprise.
In a club environment as large as BJ’s Wholesale, response time to potential incidents is paramount. Large equipment, such as forklifts, are frequently used to transport goods for restocking and products are commonly stored on large pallets. The combination of a large space, frequent goods restocking and large machinery can lead to accidents, but we are committed to minimizing the possibility of incidents before they can occur.
To monitor our clubs, each location employed a video system comprised of a PC-based DVR and analog cameras. The system featured an average of 32 cameras per club — typically four PTZs and 28 fixed cameras. But the legacy system was quickly reaching end of life and we found we were spending more time resolving issues with our DVRs than using them to our advantage.
Unfortunately, the system could not effectively help us maintain the most secure and safe environment for our employees and customers. Poor video quality led to lengthy and ineffective investigations; the DVRs maxed out quickly and the length of storage was limited; and bandwidth limitations restricted the ability to remotely view surveillance footage.
While on the search for new technology, we made it clear that a new solution should help the loss prevention and security teams conduct more effective investigations — a solution that could help us identify theft, fraud, intrusion and trespassing throughout our various clubs, gas stations and distribution facilities. Searching through the sheer volume of the videos we collect can be a time consuming process! With that in mind, we needed the system to be able to store video for the time that we needed, and not based on the system’s “standard capabilities.” We also wanted leverage our existing network infrastructure with a systems that is scalable in case camera deployments were expanded. Finally, we wanted to be able to integrate video systems with other applications and provide remote monitoring capabilities.
We ultimately decided that Genetec’s IP video surveillance solution, Omnicast, with network cameras from Axis Communications, was ideal.
The Omnicast enterprise system we installed accommodates thousands of cameras and enables us to set our own parameters for storage and recording schedules. The enterprise IP video surveillance solution enables us to manage digital video, audio and data across our existing IP network. Designed to assist retailers like us with controlling and limiting loss, the solution easily met all of our current needs and also offered areas for expansion in the future.
The system’s integrated point-of-sale search capabilities gives us the ability to identify suspicious register transactions including voids, refunds, markdowns, as well as gift card sales.